There has been some recent debate about the use of the turbo trainer round our way. We have one of those Wahoo KICKR beasts. It seems to be relatively capable; had a few Bluetooth teething problems at the outset, but other than that it’s been grand. I use the Sufferfest app which is also good (albeit the name might put some people off), I’m not crazy on video games so it is my preference, but each to their own.
Anyway, I digress. As mentioned, there’s been a bit of discussion around the use of them. Why not just cycle outside? What’s the point? Cycling in your garage? That type of thing. I get why these questions would exist, and of course they are valid. It is a bit odd if you think about it.
For the record, I would far prefer to be cycling outside. The whole point of cycling for me is absorbing the entire sensory impact of my surroundings, blue sky, rugged landscape, chatty birds and insects, even the wind engages me. I thoroughly enjoy every moment, me and my bike against the world, just being. Nothing compares to that. However, I live in the north-east of Scotland. It’s cold here. And wet. A lot. And I must be honest and say I prefer cycling when it’s not absolutely tipping it down. But I also don’t want to head out in March, after being stuck inside all winter and feel entirely and painfully sluggish (being I’m a novice, I’m sluggish enough at best anyway!).
I get into a zone on the TT. My body is in the garage, but my head is far, far away. I find a rhythm. I still sweat. I still hurt. But I still continue to progress. And I still feel a sense of achievement, similar but different to the one I feel when I’ve been out on the road. So, while it is by no means a replacement for the real thing, it does manage to tick more boxes than sitting on the couch waiting for the storm to pass would.
I know a guy who had an ‘off’ last year and lost his confidence; really helped him get back in the saddle and also kept him training in the interim. It also enables me to do e.g. interval training or cadence builds that may be more difficult to do on the road. It brings different things to different people.
So yes, for anyone looking in, it’s just cycling in the garage, watching TV. But to me it’s actually so much more than that.