List: Bicycles and trainers (June 2015)

Bicycles:

Cannondale Super Six 5 (2012): designed at a time when comfort didn’t count much, this bike changes force very effectively into speed, but is uncomfortable and tiring over long distances. Luckily that is not a problem when riding mostly indoors. At 71.5 degrees head angle, which is surprisingly one of the steeper head angles for a 44cm size frame, handling is nimble enough and not bad.

Panasonic custom geometry track bike (ordered): this is my first custom ordered frame with a fully self designed geometry. Taking mountain bike forward geometry as an inspiration, I combined a long top tube with a short stem and balanced rider weight by employing ultra short chainstays as well. With such sub 50cm frames, toe overlap can be a problem leading most designs to head angles of 70 or less degrees, but this design achieves a relatively steep head angle of 72.5 degrees, which should be comparable in handling to the classic 74 degrees on the longer wheelbase of a standard, say, 55cm frame, with zero toe overlap.

Turbo trainer: Wahoo KICKR

Roller: TruTrainer

The thrill of riding indoors

To many, indoor cycling is the most boring way to ride a bike. Some will admit that it’s nonetheless a very efficient way to train, like during the winter months, even if they’d actually prefer rain and snow.

But how could indoor cycling be thrilling?

I actually agree that riding on one of those aero bikes you see unused in hotel fitness rooms which never fit my body size, or riding on a mediocre trainer with its low inertia and constant resisting feeling like walking through mud, or even the average roller where you simply put your road bike on and have the freedom to pedal and balance or fall, is suicidally unbearable.

Until I found a nice enough roller and a somewhat acceptable turbo trainer. Which kinda turned my world upside down.

No stinking cars driven by narcisstic maniacs, no waiting for red lights that screw your exercise and data, no waiting for the elevator to get to the ground floor in the first place, no concerns about weather, no pollens, no summer heat, no darkness, no pedestrians, no broken parts that you can’t repair without special tools, no punctures that make you walk home, no need to keep in mind to spare some power for the last uphill road to get home, no need to carry food, no helmet, no gloves, no feeling of creeping along compared to the thrills of my motorbike and racing car, no stupid races with random cyclists either real or on STRAVA.

Instead: Exact exercise protocols and beautiful data for most efficient training. Ability to watch and analyze graphs of biometric and power data in realtime on multiple real computer displays to see the effects of adjustments to e.g. pedaling technique as they are implemented. Ability to read on a kindle or to study classical music recordings to make double use of my time. Ability to ride until exhaustion on every ride without fear of not making it back home. Or to watch TV if I’m really lacking motivation.

Absolutely thrilling and beautifully efficient at the same time.  Everytime. On every ride.

Some might question how indoor riding could be thrilling at all and how anyone could be serious about performance without racing. I’d probably have thought similarly myself. Until I learned that that was all stupid bias and prejudice.