Bicycling Essentials #2 — Bicycle Trainer Stand

On my last blog, I jokingly compared going to a Spin Class to church. It’s funny, because it actually turned out to be true. Throughout the hour and a half of constant pedaling, I definitely found religion. It was tough for both Anna and I, but we are looking forward to continuing our spin classes weekly. Our thanks go to Richard, our instructor, who made us laugh just enough not to hurt.

Spin classes are offered at a variety of gyms around town, usually on a stationary bike. This makes sense, as the user is able to effectively adjust levels and resistance. But I wondered how could we possibly do such a hardcore workout utilizing our own bikes? After all, a comfortable bicycle becomes nothing more than an extension of oneself. Remember when you drove the first car you fell in love with? You could drive all crazy, but you trusted the brakes, and knew how to parallel park without so much as grazing any other vehicles. That is exactly how Anna and I feel about our bikes. Having said that, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to actually perform those complex cardio exercises on my own bike.

How did we do it? A Bicycle Trainer, of course! It’s a very simple solution whereby you attach the back wheel of your bicycle to a tripod-like contraption. And Voila! A stationary bike is created! And the best part is that you are already familiar with your gears and saddle. It is great for days like today, where you don’t even want to go outside in the cold, not to mention having a freezer blowing at 20 mph in your face!

Our particular model of trainer, Blackburn Trak Stand Mag Trainer ($159.99), allows us the ability to choose from 3 different levels of resistance. It was great, because I could focus on my gear shifting skills without worrying about the “passing on your left!” scurry and hubbub at Memorial Park. Having the ability to adjust resistance, in my opinion, is as beneficial as riding on the open road. Actually it is more beneficial, because it allows the user to simulate wind or uphill obstacles, thereby providing a comprehensive cardio and strength workout.

Trainers will range from $100-$300, with the main price point being resistance levels or noise reduction. The model we ride on, though not top-‘o-the line, works fine. There is a small amount of noise, but nothing greater than any normal stationary bike contraption around.

I would definitely recommend this product to any “advanced novice” rider who plans on cycling at least twice a week. This contraption will come in handy throughout this winter, and in the spring when rainy days will come. Oh, I am so excited to ride in the comforts of my 72 degree living room when it’s 95 degrees outside!