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10 Common Indoor Bike Trainer Mistakes

Creating a good ride indoors isn’t that hard as you think.

Winter is coming and surely you don’t want to miss your training. The good news is that you can still do it indoors! Though cycling outside is way different compared to cycling indoors, (yes, you’ll be missing the views and the sweet touch of the air outside), but you can still create a good ride while inside the walls of your home!

“How can I create a good ride?”

 You can create one by avoiding these common indoor bike trainer mistakes.

1. Incorrect bike trainer set-up

This is the most common error when cycling indoors and this applies to your bike, the turbo, and the area around.

To properly set up your bike trainer, you need to find a suitable flat area in your home that includes enough space for your bike equipment and for you. If it isn’t, you might find yourself rocking while doing the training, which doesn’t sound great. However, if you can’t find anything flat around, you can place a wedge of paper under the unsteady turbo leg.

Ensure that your bike is set up to your bike fit measurements. Yes, you aren’t going to cycle for a long period of time, but it doesn’t mean that comfort should also be compromised. A good ride, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, is a comfortable ride.

Accessories and bits are sometimes included or can be added up to the set-up such as a riser block, so make sure that you have one. Riser blocks will help in leveling out the front of your bike so that it matches the rear, which is made higher by the structure of the turbo.  

Lastly, carefully read the instructions when you assemble your bike trainer. You wouldn’t want to cause damage to your bike and injure yourself, would you?

2. Not drinking enough 

Hydration is actually more important on an indoor trainer than when cycling outdoors. An indoor session can be more intense as many turbo trainers don’t allow for freewheeling. That is why it is very important to drink lots of water to maintain your hydration levels. Keep a bottle of water close by for you to sip regularly throughout your session.

3. Not having a fan

You are used to feeling the wind in your face and its cooling effect when you cycle outdoors. However, that is not the same case when you cycle indoors. That is why a fan is necessary for every indoor training session regardless of the temperature and the workout intensity.

The use of a fan indoors keeps the air moving, minimizes the smell of sweat inside the room, and helps in radiating body heat. The more effective your body can dump heat, the more efficient you can perform.

Plus, if you just close your eyes and use your imagination, you can think that you are hitting the road and not stuck on a trainer!

common bike trainer mistakes

4. Neglecting your turbo noise level 

Indoor bike trainers are noisy, so put this into consideration as well when figuring out where to put your indoor bike trainer.

Put it in an area where you won’t be disturbed and where you can’t disturb others. Consider how much noise your trainer produces and how it travels in your home. The noise could sometimes be heard by your neighbors upstairs or downstairs as well if you live in an apartment.

 You can use a trainer mat to lessen the vibration. If you have a garage or a room at the back where nobody goes, use that. Nothing will spoil an indoor session faster than complaints from your household or your neighbors! 

5. Not monitoring sessions

Whether you are cycling indoors or outdoors, it is still a necessity to monitor your progress with a bike computer as you may get behind the goals you’ve set. Make sure you won’t miss your recording device every time you have one. This will allow you to monitor the time you’ve spent, your heart rate, the distance, and even the calories burned during the session.

 6. Keeping items out of arms reach 

Another mistake is putting your essentials (water, towel, etc.) too far from your bike. It would be more convenient to grab your essentials during the session without forcing yourself to lean too far. If you don’t have a table nearby, set something up so that you can easily and conveniently reach your essentials within an easy and comfortable distance. 

7. Not making it interesting 

Pedaling on your bike trainer can make you feel bored, which eventually loses your motivation and intensity and making you feel you are just wasting your time. Well, it doesn’t have to be!

Make it interesting by putting on headphones and listening to music. We all know that music is a powerful motivator, and it offsets boredom by a considerable degree. Studies have also shown that athletes who use music for training experience an increase in their performance and lower perception of effort.

The same is true when watching interesting videos from YouTube or even Netflix. It acts as a distraction from the repetitive nature of indoor training. As long as you can keep an eye on your goal during the session, there is nothing wrong with watching something else.

 Plan a session and follow set intervals so you know what you’re doing, when, and why. With these, you can make your indoor session more interesting as usual.

indoor bike trainer mistakes

8. Not making it social        

Because of the noise the bike trainer creates, you can’t shout over the noise and create a conversation, making you feel lonely at times as well. To make your training more social, you can create a virtual reality by using platforms like Zwift. By syncing up your training with this visual and virtual system, you can race yourself, race your friends, and keep a good focus while riding indoors.

9. Not having soft surroundings

A tough training leaves your body feel so tired. So, make sure you have something soft to fall into when you dismount from your bike trainer.

10. Worrying about how you look

One advantage of doing indoor sessions is that no one is watching! So, it doesn’t matter how you look or what you wear. You don’t need to dress up and impress your bike trainer because it doesn’t even care. Cry, scream, and let your skin gleam with sweat.

Remember, no one is watching — just make sure you are comfortable with what you wear and how you look. 

Creating a good ride indoors isn’t that hard as you think. You’ll just have to avoid these common indoor bike trainer mistakes and you’ll surely have a great time!

Happy biking!

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Written by Sean Kramer

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