As you get more interested in cycling, you may want to keep your fitness up through the winter. But you might not want to ride outside in the cold, wet weather. So you wonder about riding your bike inside

I won’t be able to ride my bike outside much this winter — so I was hoping to find a way to ride it in my house!

Do you know of a devise that enables you to ride in place — with the existing bike? As in — not an exercise bike. I was hoping there would be something I fasten to the wheels or something or even to the frame. I cant seem to find anything but people tell me of them. Any help would really be appreciated! Thanks.

You’re in luck, because I know exactly what device you’re looking for! You are looking for a stationary trainer, which allows you to turn your bike into a stationary bike (temporarily).

Actually, there are two different options for riding your regular bike indoors. And neither of them involves an outdated exercise bike!

How to Ride Inside

The two options are 1) a “stationary trainer” (also called an “indoor trainer”) and 2) “rollers.” Here’s a quick summary of each one:

cycleops indoor trainer

Stationary Trainer

A stationary trainer is a device that attaches to your bicycle’s frame and presses a roller against the rear tire. By attaching to your bike’s frame, it holds the bike upright and lifts the back wheel off the ground. By pressing the roller against your tire, it allows you to pedal against resistance so that it feels more realistic. (Remember, when you’re riding indoors you don’t have wind resistance!)

In other words, the trainer turns your bike into an exercise bike. And when the weather is nice, you just unhook your bike, and go ride outside!

Trainers are great for beginners because they are stable, and they’re great for experienced riders doing hard interval workouts because you can dial up the resistance.

You can even get “smart trainers” nowadays that will integrate with Zwift for virtual group rides and races indoors.

The big downfall is that a trainer can be hard on the rear tire. So if you do get a stationary trainer, buy a special trainer tire to go with it.

Rollers

Rollers are your other option. Rollers consist of three cylinders (or drums, or rollers) connected by a frame. You place your bicycle on top of these drums and ride your bike, much like you’d run on a treadmill.

cycleops rollers

You’re riding in one place, but you’re not locked in. The bike is free to move laterally.

This experience can be difficult for beginners because it requires good balance and a smooth pedal stroke to stay upright. However, riding on the rollers gives you that road-like feel of actually riding (as opposed to pedaling a stationary object).

Rollers don’t offer much extra resistance, but you can either add a resistance unit (available for certain models), or do something as simple as bunch up a towel underneath the rollers to increase the resistance – and get a better workout.

Which one is better?

Personally, I prefer rollers over stationary trainers. But you might find that a trainer is a better fit for your needs. Regardless, both of them let you use your bike indoors.

To decide which option is best for you, take a look at my article on the pros and cons of trainers and rollers. It goes into more detail about each option, so you can pick out the right one for you.

This article was originally published on December 27, 2008. It was updated and republished on December 19, 2018.

2 Comments
  1. this is what i’ve been looking for. but didn’t no the name. thanks

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