The Saddest Story Ever Told

I did it.

I didn’t want to do it, but I did it.

When Mother Nature deals the cards She has of recent, it’s impossible not to play the hand that is given.

Yes – if you haven’t already figured it out – tonight was the first night on the indoor trainer.

The torture device that I keep in my basement

The torture device that I keep in my basement

I’ve been dreading this evening for a long time. But, two weeks of bone-chilling temperatures and steady rain have meant too little time on the bike. Too little for my comfort. Too little to maintain the balance of food/beer intake with the exertion put forth on the bike. In order to prevent waistline expansion, I had to move the pedaling inside and dig out the trainer.

For my setup, I use a fluid trainer that is actually made by a local Minnesota company – Kurt Kinetic. I remember doing a lot of research regarding indoor training and finding about as many opinions on the best method as there are riders inside. There are schools of riders who think your only training options involve rollers, while others note differences in wind, magnetic, and fluid trainers.

I chose fluid and found a neat version that incorporates a magnetic coupling system. The fluid is completely isolated from the roller, which results in no dynamic seal that needs to be maintained on the trainer. The company claims that they have matched the viscosity of the fluid to best mimic real road riding conditions – but I would say that is a stretch of a claim. In truth, my fluid trainer is tough to ride for long periods of time due to its steady resistance. I generally ride it in my lowest gears and feel I’m working twice as hard as any regular ride on the open road. It is a strong workout and does its job at maintaining some level of stamina for real riding outdoors.

The only positive thing about the indoor setup is my ability to catch up on various online TV shows. I don’t watch much TV during the normal evening hours (single life/father/homeowner), so an hour on the trainer with a computer screen on hand can go by fairly quickly with some light entertainment. Hulu is my staple website for the winter, indoor riding months. The Office is a particular favorite.

But, there can be no real joy when riding a bicycle indoors. If there was ever a machine designed exclusively for the outdoors, it was a bicycle. Its two wheels are designed to go anywhere, over almost any terrain, with a free abandon few other machines can take.

Fixed to a contraption in a basement is a sad, but inevitable fate, for bikes belonging to Minnesota riders.