Interested in learning about online bicycle training ?
Generally speaking, you will need 3 things: an indoor bicycle trainer (that’s the hardware), a device that connects to the internet (e.g., smartphone, table, or laptop) and an online training app that you’ve downloaded.
Your set up decision will probably come down to cost. On the hardware side, there are generally 3 levels of indoor cycling trainers:
- Entry level - you can set up a simple indoor cycling stand with flywheel for as little as $100.It won’t have adjustable resistance and won’t connect to the internet apps, but it will allow you to ride indoors.You will not be able to connect to Zwift with this setup.
- Mid-level - if you want to connect to the virtual training apps, you’ll need an indoor cycling trainer that uses your existing bicycle, a device to run the internet app (e.g., smartphone, tablet, or laptop), and a monthly subscription to one of the virtual training apps (usually around $15/month).
- Top level - at the top end of the field, the indoor trainers can be over $1,000.They connect your bicycle frame & chain to a cassette on a stand and allow the bicycle to tilt side to side and raise and lower to simulate going uphill or downhill.They are accurate to within 1% of effort level when using one of the virtual training apps and are used by many top-level professional riders.
Here are a few links that review the indoor cycling trainer options:
Indoor Bicycle Trainers - how to choose
cnet - more on indoor trainers
Lowest cost Zwift setup
If you want to join the community of online virtual rides, you’ll need an online training app. The most popular are Zwift, TrainerRoad, SufferFest, BKool, and Rouvy. They are typically about $15 per month and may come with a free trial. They provide opportunities to do virtual rides in hundreds of places around the world. You can join group rides based on your fitness level, chat live with others, and even ride with fellow HBC members. The apps capture all of your ride information much like a Garmin unit would do, and store that information online for you.
Here are a few links to reviews of the indoor cycling apps:
Bicycling - indoor program review
Bike Rader - indoor cycling programs
Cycling Weekly - training programs
If all of this sounds a bit daunting, feel free to reach out to Ride Committee Chairperson Chris Wright at Chris Wright (email) HBC members who do virtual rides indoors have found them to be a great supplement to outdoor riding, with the advantage of being done at your convenience in a controlled weather setting.
Either way, ride your bike!