By Gregg Fuhrman, MPT, CFMT, OCS, Cycling PT Specialist
For some of us in Wisconsin, the weather took a turn for the better this week after the last two weeks of snow, single digits and below zero windchills. Now the snow is starting to melt, the roads are starting to get wider, and with the days getting longer, everybody is ready to ride outside. But if you have lived here for a while, you know this may not last, and there may be a couple more bouts of snow and cold before we make the full turn to spring time and full-time bike riding outside.
Riding indoors has taken a huge step in the right direction in the last several years with the advent of improved indoor smart trainers, computerized/virtual riding programs, and other devices to make the time spent indoors riding a bike more enjoyable and beneficial for exercise and training. All this new technology is not just for serious racers or triathletes. These new devices are available to all, and can be very fun to use and keep you engaged even your goal is to stay in shape and get some regular exercise.
The current wave of smart trainers are Bluetooth enabled stands that allow you ride your bike indoors while being able to monitor speed, time, distance heartrate, cadence, and power or perform specific workouts in a training plan. These new trainers are the best ever to date; they are smoother, more quiet and sturdier than ever. Brands include Wahoo, Elite, Tacx, BKool and Saris to name a few. If you choose, they can be paired to a computer, ipad or smart phone to monitor your workout or use one the new virtual training platforms like Zwift, Rouvy, Trainer Road, or BKool. All these systems allow for virtual rides with others anywhere in the world via internet connection. You can get as serious as you want with training plans, workout or actual races, or, you can use the technology to make your workouts more interesting with a huge variety of options. All this boils down to making your bike ride in basement more fun when the weather or lack of daylight make riding outside impossible.
In addition to looking into all the latest technology available for indoor riding, there are a couple of very basic and practical considerations to keep in mind.
1] When riding indoors, steady and regular hydration is imperative. You will sweat like crazy riding inside and these fluids need to be replaced to keep your body working properly. Aim for drinking a water bottle (20oz) every 45-60min.
2] Since there is no wind in riding indoors, you need a fan to help keep you body cooled and your core temperature down. Get a good strong, variable speed fan with a remote control so you don’t have to hop off the bike to turn it on.
3] Stand up off the saddle regularly- this will help with circulation and give your legs (and butt) a break from sitting on the saddle in same position. Riding outside allow you to adjust your position when you hit bump, come to a stop sign, or go up a hill. Getting off the saddle while riding indoors every 10-15min gives you those kinds of “breaks” and will help keep you more comfortable.
4] Keep a towel draped over the handle bars to protect the bike from the sweat you will be pouring over it and allow you to wipe off your face every once and awhile.
5] Wear your regular cycling shorts and shoes, just like you would do for riding outdoors. You will definitely be more comfortable, and you are using all your regular gear.
6] Riding on your trainer indoors should not be painful for your knees, back, hips, or neck. You will have some controlled stress on your cardio system and working muscles but not joint pain. If you are having any issues, now is a great time to schedule time with us for a body on bike assessment. You may have some hip, back, or neck tightness we can mobilize with manual therapy, and adjust your position or equipment in some way to make you more efficient. Fix your body now so you can enjoy your cycling more when it’s time to get outside.
Spring is on the way, but until it is here to stay, improve your fitness, and get yourself ready to ride outside by riding indoors. Schedule an evaluation and treatment session by calling our office in Pewaukee at (262) 695-3057, and check out our website at www.BMechanics.com Fan us on Facebook and Instagram to see our frequent content to make you better!
Also, make plans now to attend the amazing event, Tour of America’s Dairyland pro bike race series June 17-27, 2021. We are thrilled to help sponsor 11 days of exciting races in various venues around the Milwaukee area. Come by our orange tent for some hospitality, beverage, and a PT consultation! Stay tuned to race series details on the website, https://www.tourofamericasdairyland.com/