Sometimes, The Road To Nowhere Can Be The Best Road

As the weather gets cooler, our general level of physical activity tends to decline. This means our fitness level can decline too. All those miles we biked, ran, swam, walked, and hiked throughout spring and summer are being forgotten. But not for me this year. CycleOps Power offers a solution.

CycleOps is a bike trainer designed for easy use and consistent training year round. This quick setup, portable trainer will ensure you still get your rides in, rain, snow, wind, or shine.

There three different types of trainers: wind, magnetic, and fluid. These refer to how resistance is provided for each unit. Wind trainers use the air in the room to increase or decrease the resistance, but unfortunately this makes for quite a noisy ride. A magnetic trainer uses magnets for resistance, and is quieter in use. A fluid trainer uses a liquid encased in the drive unit that provides a wider range of resistance options over the other two and is significantly quieter.

My CycleOps is the Mag Trainer without Adjuster (MSRP $189.99). It is one of their more simplistic systems. The spectrum ranges from a simple wind trainer, all the way up to high tech fluid trainers with computers and power taps. As an avid cyclist, but beginning indoor trainer rider, I choose the Mag because it was a nice middle of the road trainer: not loud like a wind, but not as pricy as a fluid.

It has been an extremely hot August/September here in Colorado, so riding outside has been a challenge. In addition, my personal time constraints of working full-time and starting a business have left me with very few daylight hours to spare for hitting the road. Needless to say, the trainer and I have become quite close. It stays permanently set up in my garage waiting for those early mornings or late nights I get to jump on for a spin.

When I first got the unit, it was almost entirely put together. I just had to attach the magnetic unit to the base with a large screw. After that, it was as simple as putting my back wheel onto the skewer stays, tightening the stays with the easy to tighten handle so the tire was secure, then adjusting the wheel roller to the appropriate place (approximately 3 turns after the wheel makes contact).

My first ride took a little getting used to.  For one, it sure is a strange sensation of being on your real bike, but going nowhere.  More than half the pleasure I get out of cycling is the fresh air. Needless to say I really didn‘t know what to do while on the unit. Luckily the CycleOps website actually has a section with workout plans you can follow for aerobic, anaerobic, threshold or skill focused workouts. This was a great tool for me in adjusting to riding stationary vs. outdoors.

For my first few rides, pedaling and having the mag resistance instead of asphalt was a little strange, but I adapted. I had to adjust how close the trainer’s wheel roller was to my tire because I noticed the tire would slip now and again when accelerating. Now it just stays set at all times.  My front tire sits on a CycleOps Climbing Riser Block to get the front end of my bike level with the back. I happened to have one available to me, but if you want to save $26, use an old phone book.

I felt like I could definitely reach all the resistances I needed between shifting gears and the unit’s 5-position adjustments. CycleOps recommends this as a good middle ground for resistance. Not their best for huge hills or super flat roads, but optimal workouts with good acceleration and varying speeds.

Something I noticed was that the sound was so minimal I could spin and listen to music or watch a TV program at a normal volume and was able to hear over the trainer. This is a great feature for anyone who may be in an apartment building or spinning early morning/late evening and not wanting to disturb neighbors or family.

As a whole the system is pretty compact to store, but a little heavy and too bulky to just hide away anywhere.

I have a high respect for companies who are dedicated to giving back. CycleOps is an extremely socially responsible brand. They are involved locally and nationally to promote cycling, safety, healthy lifestyle, and environmental causes. Locally, they work with Boys & Girls Clubs, and nationally they partner with Bikes for People and Bikes Belong to name a few.

All in all, I would definitely recommend the CycleOps Mag Trainer.  You get to sit on your own bike, on your own time, listening to whatever will motivate you the most for your workout.
Time to ride!

(Actually, I have been riding while writing this article start to finish… just one more perk to the CycleOps trainer!)

– Carley

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