The first coupla years of training I shackled the road bike to the trainer and used one of Ben’s old powertap wheels.
I didn’t hate it. it did make me irritable to the point I was cranky when I walked upstairs after a workout.
At some point I decided I ride bikes because I like riding bikes and challenged myself to incorporate the workouts outside as much as possible to stay fit. I also moved away from gym workouts and figured out how to incorporate core and upperbody workouts while on the bike - basically ride tech and hills.
The past two years I opted to ride outside and invested in gear to enable that rather than going the smart trainer route.
There were times recently where the weather made the outside rides suck to the point I pondered which sucked the most - Trainer or Shit weather ride. Shit weather ride, for me, was a tick better because of the adventure aspect.
I was curious about zwift and the ability to ride against people online and I never bothered to experiment.
What is the average time people spend on he trainer? For me an hour seemed ok and once the workout approached the 1.5 hour mark, the suck factor increased exponentially.
I prefered music over TV and kept the TV on just to watch something - usually Car shows or something motorsport related since kids shows occupy the tv’s in my house most of the time.
I was a Spinning instructor for ten years (and in fact that's how I met my wife - we were both instructors for the same gym.) The gym I worked for was a converted supermarket site, and our Spinning studio was the old meat locker in the back. It was painted black and felt like a cave. I was the only instructor there who actually rode outside, so I used to do a race day where I'd simulate actual courses I'd raced on (e.g., Bear Creek or Fair Hill.) This was back in the early 00's, and I always thought that what we really needed in those classes was a way to hold the "racers" accountable - for example, there was one woman who I always knew was faking the effort and while I figured it was her hour to do with as she pleased, there were a few folks in my class who were genuinely offended that she wasn't doing a real effort. The funny thing is, after I quit doing it, the tech caught up with it and now they can project your effort on a screen in programs like Peloton and stuff like that so there is that accountability.
As far as using a trainer or rollers, I've used both. I had a typical fluid trainer and never really enjoyed that at all. Rollers were a little better but still pretty mind-numbing. I used the rollers the last few years only when I absolutely couldn't get outside. I'd usually watch something on Netflix or DVDs and just try to last until I couldn't stand it anymore. I'd just set up my laptop on a table in front of me and pedal as I watched. For example, I would set a goal to make it through two episodes of a show on Netflix and usually by the tie I made it to the end, I'd be counting down the seconds. There was never a training goal in any of those rides.
In general, I just sucked it up and rode outside regardless of conditions. I did this despite two irrefutable facts: one, freezing air severely exasperates my asthma (I spend hours after a winter ride just coughing my lungs up) and two, I just generally hate cold weather. The upside was occasionally epic ice beard pics ...
New Years Eve in Philly
The downsides were the coughing, and the possible long term damage I've done to my fingers and toes from constantly freezing and thawing them out.
Over the last few years, I've been getting less and less enthusiastic to do these kind of rides. This year has been especially tough. I'm not sure why - I think it's a combination of an earlier onset of really cold weather (I think we typically have more time to adapt to temps int he teens than we have this year) and just my age. I'm just not enjoying riding outside as much as I have in the past. I still get a few good rides in and I doubt I'll ever stop riding outside in the winter altogether (I'm much more likely to move to a warmer climate than give up outside riding), but I'm definitely less enthusiastic about regularly riding in sub-20 weather than I would have been a few years back.
So this year I decided to explore indoor riding again. A few years ago I built a gym in our basement for my wife. There was a small section that was unused, though, and I realized over the Xmas break that it was perfect for a mini cycling "studio". It became kind of a project to work on over time I was off. I picked up a smart TV and Apple TV from Best Buy and bought a Wahoo Kickr "pain cave" bundle. and carved out a small corner of the basement as my own ...
It was fun to plan it out and set it up (I had to do a bit of remodeling of the gym to make it work.) I also got on Zwift and I have to say that I dig it. I've never been a gamer, so I have no frame of reference for the quality of the graphics, but it kind of seems that it should be compared to an MMRPG vs. a typical video game, so I imagine the graphics are fine for that sort of thing ... ??? ... I have no idea. It works for me. The rides are tough enough and I enjoy the courses they have. For those on the fence, though, if at all possible I do recommend getting a larger screen than a laptop to project on. I did a 55 inch screen, and it feels immersive enough that at times I want to lean into turns and stuff like that. For me that was a key part of it - I don't think I'd enjoy it as much if I was looking at my laptop. The Kickr is pretty expensive, but you can get a cheaper smart trainer if you want and the rest of the setup for me was pretty cheap - the TV was on a clearance after Xmas and I was able to get a pretty good deal on the Apple TV too (a promotion for the new 4K version made it cheaper than the original.) If you can get good deals on that stuff, I'd say the studio setup is the way to go. So far, I've done a few rides of around an hour and a half and the time flies by.
Like I said, it won't stop me from riding outside, but it's nice to know that I can still get a ride in that I enjoy when it's not possible to do so outdoors. In the past, if I couldn't psyche myself up to go out in the freezing cold, I'd just skip a ride altogether. That's not the case anymore. Oh - and one other bonus: with the Apple TV, I was able to watch the CX National championships last Sunday while pedaling. And this summer I'll be able to watch the World Cup XC on the RedBull TV app the same way. So that's pretty cool, too.
When I was working in NH back in 2016 I joined a local spin class, since it was either that or nothing since riding on a trainer was frowned upon in my 3rd floor apartment.
In a way, I found spin classes to be somewhat ineffective. Yes, it was a workout and yes, I'd sweat like crazy - but for only 50 min or so. It just wasn't enough time in the saddle to really improve my conditioning that much. I'm sure it was better than nothing but when I've done Spinerval workouts in the past, it seemed to be best when I could run the full 2 hrs of the DVD.
I found just riding on a fluid trainer to be somewhat pointless - I need structure and a plan. That is what I'm hoping to get out of a smart trainer and Zwift. VR riding with others online I am less interested in.
I resemble this thread. For many reasons, my outside riding time is very limited so indoor riding has been the only thing keeping my fitness up. I'm fully committed to doing whatever I need to do to keep it fun and interesting and we recently renovated a small pain cave in our basement where we can keep everything set up and ready to go.
Curent setup is Wahoo Kickr (1st Gen) that I use with either PerfPro (for structured workous) or Zwift. TV #1 is for streaming video, and like @Norm I'm having a lot of trouble finding something interesting to watch. TV#2 is for Zwift or PerfPro and running from a computer witih ANT+ dongle. I also converted some cheap Performance Bike aluminum rollers with skateboard wheels into a DIY free-motion roller setup. Kickr is for power-based workouts and rollers are for endurance pace indoor rides, 1 leg drills or for PowerCranks (after I remember how to use them).
I stopped using a coach a couple years ago and miss some aspects of it. DEFINITELY having a plan before you clip in is key. I found it to be a pain to build plans in PerfPro but there are enough pre-loaded workouts that I can usually pick a FTP based workout and go. The other aspect of having a coach that I liked was being accountable to somebody else. Although I usually only did 80% of the workouts, having a coach was enough of a commitment device to keep me motivated to push through the pain and complete the workout. It's way to easy to blow off the 3rd interval, for example.
Having a plan (rather, not having a plan) is where I find Zwift racing to be really helpful. Zwift racing feels real enough and is entertaining enough to push me way beyond what I would normally be able to muster on my own. It's also a much more dynamic workout with short, high intensity efforts required, which feels to me a lot more like actual bike racing. No doubt there are huge FTP gains to be made hammering out 12m intervals at 95% FTP, but I don't think that prepares you for Short Track or CX like efforts.
TrainerRoad has been able to keep me going on the bike as it's the structured plan I don't have to think about. I can't say if it's a great plan or not with the exception that it's consistent. On Day X, you do ride Y.
-Borrowing a smart trainer last year and realized how much easier that made it as you can just ride and let the trainer do the thinking.
-What to watch is a problem. I don't watch a lot of TV but find that trainer time really makes you fly through movies and TV
-An hour during weekdays is no big deal. Those 1.5 hour rides start getting towards too long for my mind and ass
-The trainer is extremely time effective. Change and hop on. Riding at this time of year with lack of sun, dressing/lights/preparation for the cold and driving to places after work takes a lot of time away from the actual riding.
-It still kind of sucks but it's better than the couch
-Utah's comment about it being hard makes me think about how some people do indoor power and outdoor power. As with the lack of airflow the indoor power is less for the same effort. I have no firsthand knowledge of this.
I hate to admit it, but I'm pretty into Zwift. Bought a smart trainer in October and have put hundreds of miles on it. Managed a three hour ride without wanting to kill myself (prior record on spin bike, rollers and trainer - I have them all after many years in cycling - was maybe an hour and I wanted to die). I'll occasionally do the trainer mode, but I usually just ride and wind up doing at least 20 minutes of FTP training going up one of the "hills" or just pounding on the flats.
I don't want to say I'm an "inside" guy because I do love riding outside and try to do it as much as I can, but being a father of 2 young kids and owning my own business means that my schedule is always in flux. I've been a zwift user for a long time, when it was still in beta testing. I have a cycleops fluid 2 trainer, and use my power meter for power. Its probably not as fun as a smart trainer, but the power is really all I care about.
Just got an e-trainer last night.
I started having a conniption about that fact that these things use ANT+ since they are plugged into the god damn wall until I read the history of trainers on DCRainmaker.
Didn't even think about it when setting it up for me since I have a samsung phone and they have ANT+ built in. But setting up my wife with her Nexus5x was impossible. It took me an hour to understand that most people use an actual computer to use these things. I've somehow managed to live my entire life without a laptop so this really isn't possible for me. In theory it should work using the ANT+ usb stick and an OTG android adapter (maybe?). I have old ones for micro USB but none for USB-C. Amazon to the rescue.
Maybe I'll try my old work laptop that hasn't been powered on in like 3 years.
Other than photography and work I probably wouldn't even own a computer. I'm shocked that it's the standard for trainers. Or to use dongles to connect them to tablets and phones. Super frustrating because the physical hardware to support ANT+ exists on basically every phone out there but other than Samsung and a handful of others it's not supported. If the OTG adapter works I'm going to shit myself. The 5X has the hardware to support ANT+ and I could do it if I root her phone, but instead I have to use an OTG adapter and a USB stick that contains the same fucking hardware that's in the phone in the first place to connect.
Or just hook up a laptop like some kind of neanderthal.
It seems if I just bought a current generation billion dollar trainer they are all now bluetooth which is obviously supported by everything. except said laptop.
I'm just getting back into riding in the last year. I got a cycleops Magnus last spring and really like it. I do more rides inside on the Trainer then I do outside.
I have tried Trainer Road but was not a fan of watching my progress on the workout bar graph - it feels like looking at a calendar to tell time.
I now load my workout plan into Zwift, and do a race every once in a while. The races are really hard - I have put out some of my best numbers during races. I think the positive zwift/strava feedback helps keep me motivated.