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Dan Tanner

My indoor cycling setup

This is a list of the gear and software I use for my indoor cycling setup. I'm an old amateur that will ride indoor in the winter when I'm too lazy to ski or ride my fat bike. It's still a chore for me because I find it pretty boring, but it's easy to hop on and get a decent workout in without much setup time.

Gear #

Thing Name Price Notes
Bike My road bike - I don't ride my road bike in the winter so I put that on the trainer.
$500 This works great for me and is highly recommended. I've had the Elite Direto and it was a buggy POS. See DC Rainmaker if you want to see other options, but if you can afford it and don't need fancier features, this is the best option for most scenarios IMO. It does require a cassette which is another $50 or so if you don't want to move the existing one on your back wheel.
Fan Lasko Compact Air Mover $70 I highly recommend this too. It's small, not too loud, and pushes a strong jet of air in a fairly compact path. I used to use a big metal fan that was the same price but really loud and didn't push nearly as much air.
Stand whatever $50? I use a music stand that works well for this. I use it to hold my laptop (for watching stuff) and phone (for trainer software).
Mat Cycleclub Bike Mat $48 This was a well-rated mat on Amazon that works well for me. There are simpler solutions like putting a towel down, but I prefer something sweat proof.
Headband Halo II $17 I like these. You could use a towel or something else too.
Heart monitor Wahoo TICKR $50 If you have a watch or something else that's fine. I use this because I know it's accurate and it saves my watch battery.

Trainer Software #

tl;dr; I'm using Trainer Day and really like it. It's $4/month and I like it better than the competitors. I watch a movie/TV on my laptop and use my phone for the trainer software, which heavily influences the trainer software that I like.

This is a personal decision. This is what I want out of training software:

If you're looking for opinions, here's what I've tried and my thoughts on each:

Zwift - $150/yr or $15/month #

The most popular tool today. Group rides/interactions are its main strength, so check it out if that's your jam. I hate it. I spent about a few dozen hours with it before I couldn't tolerate it anymore.

Rouvy $15/month for 1 rider, $20 for 2 riders, $33 for 3 riders #

I tried this after Zwift. The difference is that Rouvy uses real videos of actual rides. This makes it less painful, but after a half dozen rides, I concluded that trainer software that I'm supposed to focus on during the ride just is not my jam.

Trainer Road - $190/yr or $20/month #

It's marketed for the hardcore crowd. I used this a few years ago when I was riding more seriously and liked it. It just gives you a screen with your stats, which is what I prefer. It has a bunch of AI features, which is code for "this seems like a good way to justify charging $20/month". But Trainer Day fits my needs just as well.

indieVelo - free beta testing at time of writing #

I didn't try this so don't have an opinion, but it's another option.

Trainer Day - $4/month #

I really like this software. It's ergonomic, concise, stable, and you can tell that it's built with love. I also like that it remains tightly focused on its features which align well with what I want.

Tips #

If you're new riding on a trainer, one bit of advice is that it's just not as comfortable as riding for real on your bum. To mitigate this, stand every few minutes or so to keep from getting numb and uncomfortable.

Training Plans #

Don't look to me for professional advice, but there's one thing I want to mention - some modern training plans are gentler but just as effective. That's one important criticism of many plans out there - the training plan rides are considered by some experts to be too intense on average. The resource I've taken advice from lately are videos on polarized training from Dylan Johnson like this one that recommend most rides should be at an easy pace (like, actually easy). I'm enjoying trying this technique so far for a couple of reasons:

My advice is to be aware of this as you're building your training plan. Some training plan software is still using the old school technique of more suffer = more gain, which can be counter-productive and less fun. Hope this helps.