What is a trainer and why do you need one?
Trainers, or sometimes known as stationary bikes, are indoor performance bikes that simulate road riding to improve endurance, speed, and preserve fitness that was attained through outdoor riding and training.
With winter quickly approaching, time spent riding the sunny (and dry) roads are becoming far and few in between. Staying strict on indoor training is important for riders who want to progress through the winter season. Stationary indoor bikes promote safe riding and accident-free summers. However, training on a bike that isn't the right fit can be damaging to all aspects of a rider's regime. Whether you already have a trainer or are looking to get one, here are some helpful tips on fitting your bike the right way.
Top 3 Areas to Be Sure You're Getting The Right Fit
1. Saddle Fit: More important than you think...
Saddles are arguably one of the most important components as far as fit and comfort come on stationary trainers. Like riders, saddles also come in all shapes and sizes. Modifications like cushioning materials, center cutouts, and width all play a factor in how each saddle fits. To ensure your saddle is a perfect fit, it’s important to try it on before committing to a new purchase.
Here are 3 things to look for in a properly fitted saddle:
1. A saddle that is wide enough to fit the width of your bottom, but not any larger. Saddles that ride extra wide on the sides are prone to cause chafing, rubbing and potentially injury.
2. Performance VS. Cushioning saddles - fit your saddle to the bike you’re riding
Performance Saddles are often used on mountain, road, and touring bikes and tend to be longer, thinner, firmer, and less wide.
Cushioning Saddles are used on cruisers and recreational bikes and they are typically wider, thicker with more cushioning and padding.
3. A saddle that adjusts to fit angles for all kinds of rides. It’s important that larger saddles are set at more of a forward angle in order to leave room to avoid chafing and rubbing on the legs.
2. Handlebar Length: Can and should Be a deal breaker
Handlebars influence many aspects of the training experience from grip to riding position, they’re the main point of contact riders have with their bikes. Having handlebars that reach too far can negatively impact how riders adjust their moving position. Consider these tips when fitting the handlebars on your stationary training bike:
Handlebars are not one-size-fits-all. A helpful way to figure out what your actual bar length is is to get into a push-up position and measure the distance between your hands. This distance is your personal bar length and can be easily adjusted on your stationary bike.
You don’t have to stick with the stock handlebars and in most cases, you really shouldn’t - Sometimes exchanging your stock handlebars for a pair of customized handlebars that are made for your bike and your riding style can be a game-changer.
3. Pedal Position: Where comfort meets speed
Yes, believe it or not, but pedal position plays a bigger role in comfort and positioning than you might think. If you follow these three core tips to proper pedal position, you might just improve more than just your time and speed.
1. Evenly distribute your weight on the pedals
Keeping your weight centered in your hips and knees helps to keep your balance properly distributed on each of the pedals. This technique can also help avoid putting too much pressure on the handlebars.
2. Flat Feet & Head Up
Yes, that's right head up and heels down. If this is taxing, then it's working. Flat feet help you to push fully through each stroke and keeping your head up ensures a steady flow of oxygen is getting to your brain.
3. Proper Upper Body Alignment
Keeping your knees aligned with your hips and your core engaged at a forward angle is a great technique to practice for proper upper body alignment. This technique will be effective all the way down to your pedal strokes and weight distribution.