Back on the trainer- Cycling through the winter

By Coach Bill Martin

It’s getting to be that time of year where the nice days for riding outside are becoming fewer and further between.  Though many cyclists lament this fact, if you can learn to love the trainer then winter is actually a great time to improve your cycling fitness and enjoyment of the sport!  While there are certainly many benefits to riding outside that you don’t get on the trainer, the same is also true the other way around.  Here are some benefits/reasons to look forward to putting your bike up on the trainer for the winter.

Specificity of training- The trainer puts you in an environment where you have total control of intensity and duration of your rides and intervals.  You don’t have to worry about stops, turns or terrain dictating your output or interval time.  Because of this, riding a trainer is a very efficient way to develop your physiological systems on the bike.

Safety- Riding outside is fun and enjoyable, but there are risks associated with it that aren’t an issue when riding indoors.  Even during the summer time, I personally like to do my key workouts on a trainer so that I can focus fully on the workout without having to make that my secondary focus behind being aware of traffic, etc.

Have fun training with anyone- Most people have more fun riding with others.  When you’re on the trainer in a group setting, it doesn’t matter what everyone’s ability is.  You can all get great workouts without worrying about keeping up with others or sticking together out on the roads.  Training in a group setting like this helps keep everyone motivated as well throughout the dreary winter.

Personally, when I started with the sport, I didn’t look forward much to winter training on the bike.  However, as I moved my training from my living room to a group setting, started using power data to refine my workout specificity, and came to appreciate the benefits of indoor riding, I came to look forward to the winter as a great time to improve my riding ability.

If you’d like to improve your riding this winter in a fun and motivating environment, SBR has multiple riding groups available.  For more information, please email  

Jessica Laufenberg