Beginner trainer advice

Home Page California Triathlon Discussion Beginner trainer advice

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Facebook Profile photo Thom 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #3886
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    Kari George
    • Total Posts: 6

      Good morning everyone!

      I’m sharing this deal from Performance for an entry bike trainer:

      It’s a basic fluid trainer for $100. Thom advised me that it was a good deal and a good way to get into indoor trainers. He also asked that I post some of the questions I asked him so others could weigh in:

      1. Do I need a power meter or any other tech to get started with this?
      2. Should I get a spare back wheel so I don’t wear out my nice bike tires?
      (as an aside, does anyone have an extra one lying around that I could use/have?)
      3. Would this spare tire need to be the same size as my current tires?
      4. Since this is my first trainer, what type of workouts should I do on it?
      5. What else should I know as I get into this, and eventually plan to get more sophisticated trainers?

      Thanks for weighing in!


    • #3891
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      Kim Degen
      • Total Posts: 152

        Great deal and questions, Kari!

        1. You only need your trainer and bike to get started. Everything else is just extra. For example, if you want to use Zwift then a speed/cadence sensor is needed or the more expensive power meter option.

        2. If you will only use the trainer once in a while then using your normal setup is fine. However if you plan to use your trainer a lot then either plan on purchasing new tires more often or spend extra and go the spare tire option. I eventually did the spare tire option but it can be a couple hundred dollars if you can’t find a wheel from a friend.

        3. Yes. Same size wheel/tire and cassette would be best.

        4. Any of the workouts on the website. 🙂 Sixty minutes with a good warm up, then intervals and then a good cool down is a great way to get your ride on.

        5. A fan and towel are extremely important. If no fan, then setup near a window because riding indoors is hot and the amount of sweat you will produce is crazy. To help protect the bike, let your towel hang across your handlebars and stem too.

      • #3916
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        Sara Clifford Randolph
        • Total Posts: 79

          Kim already provided some great input on the trainer and power meter but I’ll add a few things:

          I used the same basic trainer for 5 years. I do the majority of my riding indoors and the basic trainer worked out great for me. I never changed the tire from road to trainer but did notice extra wear on the tire from the trainer. I just checked the tire before riding outside. I also like to use old racing tires/tubes on my trainer since they are perfectly good tires/tubes.

          For the first 2 years, I didn’t use a power meter, then I added the power meter to my bike. And just last year, I got a smart trainer. I also have a Zwift account but find that sometimes it’s just quicker to hop on the trainer for my session without the features of a fancy trainer.

          I think that if you have some extra cash to invest, it would be better to invest in a power meter than a smart trainer. The power meter gives you some measurable data points when you add interval training to your workouts. Heart Rate works too but a power meter is a little better in my opinion. If you add the power meter to your bike – then you can use it on your rides outside and during a race.

          I agree with the towel over the bike and I have a little TV out by my trainer for the extra long sessions 🙂 I also put a little shelf in front of my bike to hold extra water bottles.

          I published a few trainer workouts in my last Chapter newsletter:
          5 x (1 min zone 4-5, 1 min easy).
          5x(2 min zone 4, 1 min easy).
          5x(5 min zone 3, 1 min easy).
          3x (10 min zone 3, 5 min easy).

          ​These are all great intervals to do on the bike and the number of reps can be changed based on the amount of time you have to workout. You can also do these intervals on the road. Be sure to include at least 5-10 minutes of zone 1 warm up and cool down prior to your workout.

          ​You can also add a little brick run at the end of one of these intervals if you have a little extra time.

        • #4602
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          Rachel Lu
          • Total Posts: 2

            Another question on the topic of beginner trainer advice!

            My boyfriend just bought me a Cycle Ops fluid trainer, but I’m having some trouble with the skewer on the rear wheel. It’s either too tight and my wheels don’t spin smoothly when I pedal, it starts off fine but gets tighter after I pedal for ~1-5 minutes so then doesn’t spin smoothly, or it’s too loose and doesn’t grab onto the bike frame and if I wobble a bit, the bike falls off the trainer and I fall off.

            Any tips on screwing in the skewer so that it stays put? Or perhaps I have a faulty skewer, or I need to attach it to my bike differently?

          • #4603
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            • Total Posts: 237

              Rachel. Selecting the right skewer can be tricky. Are you using the skewer that came with the Cyclops or is this another skewer. Sometimes I have better luck when using the skewer that came with the trainer. In this case it is $12.99.


              Cyclops has some good videos relative to setting up your trainer. Those can be helpful.

              Cyclops Videos

              Making sure you have a proper skewer and checking out their product videos should be a good start. After that, I would take it into a Performance Bike Shop or your LBS and ask them for a little help.

            • #4637
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              Rachel Lu
              • Total Posts: 2

                Thanks for the reply, Thom. I’m using the skewer that came with the trainer. I’ve searched for videos without any luck – they all make it look so easy!

              • #4640
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                • Total Posts: 237

                  Rachel…if you are still struggling on March 11 then come out to TriEvents in San Dimas with your bike, trainer and skewer and I will give it best efforts. Or maybe head to the local Performance Bike and have them give you some help. We will get this!

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