Beginner tips for your indoor and roller training

(c) Kathrin Schafbauer

For road cyclists training inside on the bike turbo is the perfect alternative to riding outside in winter. The best tips for beginners.

Very few road cyclists really enjoy simply getting on the bike turbo and pedal ahead. Unlike riding outside where your surroundings distract you, you feel the airstream blowing and the speed, indoor training calls for other “incentives”.

Often the aversion against indoor training is due to a lack of ideas on how to train on a bike turbo. Just pedal while staring at the wall is pretty dull, even swimming lanes at the local pool is more exciting. Zwift and other virtual road cycling worlds may provide some entertainment.

What’s even better, however, is having a clear vision of what you want to train in the respective session. After all, indoor bike training allows for a precise interval control. There are no red traffic lights, no uneven ascents or wind that knock you off your training course.

In order to be well prepared for an indoor training session, Alpecin Cycling provides tips for beginners.

Ride according to “programme”

Variety is what counts when it comes to indoor bike training. It is boring and nerve-racking to always ride at the same speed or the same cadence. Either do some default workouts as provided by Zwift or other indoor cycling apps or programmes or think up something entertaining yourself, e.g., sprinkle some basic endurance training with cadence variations every five minutes.

Use home entertainment for indoor training

Listening to music, podcasts or watching a film may help pass the time and motivate you, especially during longer sessions with no variations in intensity. Songs whose beat matches the cadence or video recordings of exciting cycling races are particularly stimulating. Word has it that some athletes even read the newspaper on the bike turbo.

Quench your thirst

When you ride on the turbo trainer, the weight of the bike doesn’t matter. Therefore, always “set off” with full bottles, as the body will need fluid. There is no airstream for thermoregulation, so the body needs additional cooling water in order not to overheat.

Set up the road bike precisely

It is important that front and rear wheel of your bike are at a level which may be done by using special props or books that you put underneath the wheels. Furthermore, with a traditional bike turbo rolling resistance and contact pressure of the tyre should be set in a way that it has a firm grip and does not slip even when you sprint or ride out of the saddle.

If you own a smart trainer which accommodates the rear triangle without the wheel mounted, make sure it is properly fixed. Ideally lift the front wheel before mounting the rear to make the frame settle in the correct position and balance itself.


Protect yourself from overheating

The room where your ride in will quickly turn into a sauna because of high room temperatures and the lack of a cooling breeze – this causes the heart rate to rise and renders it unusable as a means of training control. Tip: Train on the balcony or terrace where temperatures are lower, provide a pleasant coolness and acclimatise the body for the first rides in spring. Otherwise, a fan and sufficient ventilation can help.

Adjust your riding position

Many amateur cyclists use an old bike on the turbo to spare their modern equipment. There is nothing wrong with this, even though the frames of bike manufacturer Canyon are now “turbo approved”. However, the seating position including all contact points should be copied very carefully from the “current road racer”, otherwise you might suffer overload damage such as knee and back problems.

Pay attention to noise protection

If you train on the bike turbo at home, you need very understanding neighbours. The vibrations generated spread all over the floor with a humming sound. Rubber mats and buffers may reduce the noise. Either use special bike turbo mats or special anti-vibration mats for washing machines and speakers – available at Amazon, e.g. Or even better: train in the basement on a concrete floor and build a so-called “pain cave”.