All In Your Mind

03.4.2008 | 10:49 am

I’ve been watching Season 1 of Prison Break — recommended by a number of readers here — to entertain me while I ride on the rollers. I watched two episodes today, as I dutifully spun in place.

You know what, though? I kept drifting to a stop. It’s not because of the show; it’s an entertaining, action-packed series. It’s just because of one simple thing:

I am so sick of riding my bike inside.

As I was riding the rollers this morning, I tried to think about why, from a purely physical point of view, I have come to loathe riding the rollers so much. And you know what? I couldn’t come up with a reason. With these new rollers I have, the physical experience is pretty darned close to that of riding on the road. I can stand up and sprint. I can coast for a moment. I can set the resistance high — like I’m climbing a steep hill — or low, like I’m riding on flats.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I am sick to death of riding the rollers.

As I turn the cranks, I’ve started wondering: why do I like bikes? Is there anything really all that fun about turning the cranks round and round and round? What’s the point?

Last Saturday, though, the weather was good, the low roads (anything below 5000 feet) were dry, and I had a couple hours to myself, so I got outside. I got on a flat, long, straight road, and rode out for an hour, then turned around and came back in about 45 minutes (the wind direction makes a big difference).

In a lot of ways, the ride wasn’t much different from riding on the rollers. Straight, consistent effort. Not great scenery. Nothing technical. Nothing special.

But there was one huge, important difference: now I was having a lot of fun.

The big question was: why? Why can I absolutely despise turning my cranks over for 90 minutes on the rollers while watching an interesting TV show, but feel almost irrationally happy while doing essentially the identical thing on an unremarkable suburban/rural road?

To tell the truth, I’m not exactly sure. I didn’t start today’s entry with some brilliant insight I wanted to share with you.

Sure, I have a few ideas. It’s better because when you’re outside, your effort is rewarded with the sensation of motion — something rollers can never do. And when you’re outside, you’re going somewhere, even if your destination is the same as your origin. And sometimes, watching something real — even an unremarkable hill covered with dead grass — is more interesting than the best TV show in the world.

These are all pieces of the reason, but they’re not the reason. It’s something I can’t explain. It’s something in my head — and probably in yours, too.

It comes down to this: when you reduce cycling down to mere exercise, it’s nothing special. In fact, let’s be honest: as pure exercise, cycling is exquisitely dull.

It’s not ’til you get outside — pavement or dirt, doesn’t really matter — and go somewhere that cycling gets in your head. And then cycling stops feeling like exercise and starts feeling like something much, much better.


  1. Comment by eclecticdeb | 03.4.2008 | 10:57 am

    Fatty, I hear ya’. Just the other day I was trying to explain to my boyfriend why I really feel the need to get out on my bike more often. The past two weeks I’ve been on a couple of really nice rides (40, 70, and 35 miles) and could not shake the feeling that “everything is right with the world” as I was coming home.

    Good Stuff.

  2. Comment by traildiva | 03.4.2008 | 11:00 am

    Riding the rollers is training. Training is work. Blah.

    Riding your bike is fun. It’s about as anti-work as you can get.

    The day riding my bike stops being about having fun and starts being about training regimens and quotas, I’m hanging it up.

    That’s just me, though. I’m content with being an average rider and keeping the magic alive when I ride. I ride intermittantly all winter in Minnesota when the weather is tolerable or when I need a ride so much I don’t care. I’m certainly not heading into spring in optimal physical condition, but I can say that every time I’m in the saddle, it’s because I truly enjoy being there.

  3. Comment by UltraRob | 03.4.2008 | 11:00 am

    I was part of a study at the Olympic Training Center and swore that for a given HR, I hurt more on their equipment. One of the researchers offered to do blood lactate testing on me on a gradual but consistent uphill outside.

    It wasn’t nearly as controlled since I had to control my work load instead of the computers keeping the watts the same no matter my cadence in the lab. I also had to stop for a couple seconds to give my blood sample. Turned out my HR and blood lactate looked the same outside as in the lab but I thought I wasn’t working as hard outside.

  4. Comment by Rocky | 03.4.2008 | 11:02 am

    I have tried now for more than a decade to figure out this very canundrum. At its most basic level, the activity is identical. And yet, I have eliminated rollers and the trainer from the garage because of the conditioned physical response to even the sight of them. I have reduced myself to riding in heavy winter wear rather than the indoor stuff, simply to avoid the psychological damage induced by rollers/trainers/spin classes, etc.

    There is that other problem of ice on the roads.

  5. Comment by Terry | 03.4.2008 | 11:03 am

    Amen, brother fatty!

  6. Comment by Ashton | 03.4.2008 | 11:05 am

    i feel the same way, except i’m even more dull. I read when i ride inside. and that’s just plain boring.

  7. Comment by Reagan | 03.4.2008 | 11:13 am

    It’s so true! I don’t cycle but I know what you mean. Running inside on a treadmill is the same thing. It’s ‘work’ to run inside as opposed to outside.

  8. Comment by Dave | 03.4.2008 | 11:14 am

    Fatty –

    I had the same experience 20 years ago. I tried everything….TV, Music, even total darkness. Nothing worked. After 20 minutes on the rollers I would start to go crazy. I’d keep checking the clock and see that only 17 or 18 seconds had elapsed. An hour on the rollers is 7 hours in dog years.

    Like you I could not explain it. I had no trouble with a 2 hour outdoor ride…but still despised the rollers.

    I could be wrong, but it might be the simple sense of motion. Similar to sitting on an airplane delayed on the tarmac vs actually flying. Or a 45 minute traffic jam vs 4 hours of highway driving. I can even see on my kids as they ride their bikes and scooters. Heck, even most dogs like the head out the window car ride.

    Question is, if it is that simple, can they make a motion medicine? Like a reverse Dramamine?

  9. Comment by Pregnant-and-getting-fatter Cathy | 03.4.2008 | 11:30 am

    I have 3 words for you Fatty: Suck It Up. I am now 8+ months pregnant and the most interesting exercise I can do right now is a waddle/walk around the neighborhood or lifting weights. Whoopee.

    I’d love to be able to ride the rollers. Unfortunately I can’t reach the handlebars on any of my bikes.

    Be grateful you have the option of riding indoors.

  10. Comment by Another Critic | 03.4.2008 | 11:31 am

    OK – I agree with your point. It’s more fun to ride my 27lb steel 1-speed, complete with Fred-fenders, outside in the ice, snow and slush than it is to ride my best bike inside.

    My question is more basic: what the heck are you doing watching anything with dialog while training? If you’re a non-racer, like me, you ski in the winter and forget about the rollers. If you’re a racer, like you, you watch … RACE videos! Even my wife watches bike race video when she trains indoors, and that’s on an erg!

  11. Comment by jaxpaw | 03.4.2008 | 11:36 am

    Sounds like somebody has a case of the Monday’s. Either that or you did something really stupid like ride an indoor century. But nobody would be THAT stupid!

  12. Comment by Mocougfan | 03.4.2008 | 11:39 am

    I’m so completely sick of winter. I totally hear you on riding inside. I’m trying to train better this winter. I have put 710 “miles” on my spin bike since Jan. The exercise and training have been great, but I’m dying to get out in the open. I think it must be the fresh air.

    BTW….I just finished reading your Trilogy on the KTR ride last May. Once again, I am very impressed sir. Very impressed.

  13. Comment by Less Fat Mike + 15 lbs | 03.4.2008 | 11:41 am

    It’s like you’re reading my mind dude. The roads were pretty okay in West Jordan on Sat. Got out for a ride. Now I’m so excited for Daylight savings on Sunday that I’m giddy!

  14. Comment by Jim | 03.4.2008 | 11:46 am

    Yep, and I’m even worse. I love riding – with a purpose. Going to work, the store, the park, etc. I only *like* riding without purpose – once-around-the-park type thing. And I *HATE* using the trainer. How can I love riding to and from the park but only like it once I’m there? Glad I’m a bike-commuter, or I’d never get any exercise…

    PS. When do we get the new Fatty Jersey? We’ve seen it – now we want it!

  15. Comment by TIMK | 03.4.2008 | 11:52 am

    It’s not about being indoors, it’s about not moving. If you rode on an indoor track (oval or somewhere like Ray’s ( I am sure that you would not mind riding indoors as much.

  16. Comment by Ron | 03.4.2008 | 12:02 pm

    I enjoy both. What you need to do is learn to have fun, vary your workouts. Hop on a trainer if the rollers are boring beyond death. Either way, train with an aim.

  17. Comment by Madisonian | 03.4.2008 | 12:08 pm

    Man, I hear ya fatty. I’m getting fitted for my new bike this Thursday, and I’m tempted to just throw caution to the wind (a wind, I might add, that’s contributing to a 11 degree windchill) and just tough it out, even if it’s only for a short ride. I’ve been doing spinning classes, but it’s just not the same.

  18. Comment by cheapie | 03.4.2008 | 12:09 pm

    fatty…i got my set of e-motion rollers from insideride yesterday afternoon. i noticed them on your site and ordered a set. after waiting 5 weeks i was geeked to try them out. i was amazed at how well they work. but….they’re still rollers and i’m still inside.

    i got out on my first road ride while i was down in georgia and it was just one long grin-fest. nothing like suffering out in the sun after being cooped up inside for months.

  19. Comment by Crazy Commuting Cyclist | 03.4.2008 | 12:16 pm

    Getting out and watching the scenery change with each mile is why I love to bike. When I was swimming competitively, back in the day, we would swim 2- 2 hour workouts. Do you know what it is like to stare at the bottom of a pool for two hours straight? In those years I had a vivid imagination to help pass the time away. As I grew older I could no longer stand the monotony of looking at the bottom and sides of the pool for each agonizing lap. I would say that swimming in a pool would being like a fish living in an aquarium, but in an aquarium has glass sides so you have the possibility of watching TV. Or at least tease the cat pawing at the side of the tank. Nope get me out of the house, on to the trail (Mountain Biker) and life is good.

  20. Comment by cyclostu | 03.4.2008 | 12:34 pm

    I’ve never been able to ride a trainer for more than a half an hour (Trainer = Gitmo-like torture). I can stomach rollers for close to an hour – I guess the fear of falling off of them keeps you a little more attentive (Rollers = Pergatory/Limbo). But there is nothing like riding outside – nothing but good times (Outside Riding = Divine). I’ve had the same painful sensation that Fatty has on the rollers while running on a treadmill. Aside from the wooziness when you get off the blaseted contraption, it just feels dead and lifeless. It’s not like running is a joy for us cyclists, but even running outside is a delight compared to going nowhere on a treadmill.

  21. Comment by Bonzai Buckaroo | 03.4.2008 | 12:45 pm

    AMEN!!! I am luckier than most living in DC where we don’t get much snow or ice. My trainer is gathering dust.

  22. Comment by justrun | 03.4.2008 | 12:46 pm

    I feel the same way about the treadmill. It gets the job done, but cannot hold a candle to the real thing.
    It’s like being in love vs. just loving the one you’re with.

  23. Comment by Mike Roadie | 03.4.2008 | 12:53 pm

    I hear you, but all i can say is I LIVE IN FLORIDA….Amen!!!

    I wore the new FC t-shirt yesterday and got compliments form riders and hottie mommies alike!!!

  24. Comment by trio | 03.4.2008 | 1:15 pm

    I tried a turbo, two sessions and I couldn’t keep going for more than 15minutes. Don’ know what it was, now I wrap up warm and head out in the winter. But I don’t have lots of snow to deal with!

  25. Comment by Susan (another one) | 03.4.2008 | 1:21 pm

    I must have some kind of specific workout for indoor riding, otherwise I’m nuts after 10 minutes. Can’t watch the tube, read, anything.

  26. Comment by wesman | 03.4.2008 | 1:23 pm

    Hope you bought that prison break dvd series. Means money for me. Had a few episodes as ARYAN BROTHER while it filmed here in chicago. You should buy a bunch as gifts too. Maybe prizes for your giveaways? I’m pretty much broke now (too many bikes).
    I hear you about the weather. Damn groundhog!

  27. Comment by James | 03.4.2008 | 1:24 pm

    There have been studies that show — and that I can’t find now, so you’ll have to trust me — that exercising outside releases endorphins while exercising inside does not.

    I, too, dislike riding on the trainer.

  28. Comment by Andy | 03.4.2008 | 1:36 pm

    I agree I agree, your posts always hit the nail on the head. In fact I sold my trainer at Xmas and have been rejoicing ever since. Endorphins have something to do with the whole process as well. I feel exactly the same, although being blessed with Brisbane weather – ALL THE TIME – riding outdoors and in great conditions, is nearly always possible. I wish so many people would stop moving here.
    Keep up the great work, I love reading your blog.

  29. Comment by aussie kev | 03.4.2008 | 1:49 pm

    remember that riding rollers affects the “space time continuim” – 90 minutes on the rollers feels like the equivalent of 90 hours on the road – you may well need somebody well versed in physics to fully explain it – i ride my rollers for 30 minutes before work each day and our morning news program displays the time inthe bottom right hand corner – i swear that yesterday it was on 5:59 ( i finish at 6:00) for at least 20 minutes !!!!!!!

  30. Comment by David | 03.4.2008 | 2:10 pm

    Its funny, I have been riding inside a lot recently, and its been driving me crazy. The one chance I have had to go outside I ended up breaking my chain and spending the better part of an hour and a half repairing it on the side of the road and limping home, and I still had more fun than riding inside.

  31. Comment by Lana | 03.4.2008 | 2:14 pm

    I agree a billion times over. At the beginning of winter (in like October it seems) I could do 3 hours on the trainer no problem. Now I’m on for 15 minutes and I’m going CRAZY. It also probably doesn’t help that the weather is playing cat and mouse games with us – yesterday 57 and sunnyish, today 20’s and 4-8 inches of snow overnight.

  32. Comment by Bluenoser | 03.4.2008 | 2:27 pm

    I had rollers fatty and I gave them to Phun of Cycling Phun. I bought a fluid trainer and it does the job. The weather here in Nova Scotia went from -7°c yesterday to 8°c today. I went out and did the loop 50k. It’s the air, the sounds. the second mind that you don’t know you’re using while steering avoiding stuff and so on. It’s the scenery. The little lumps and bumps as they go under the tires. All of that stuff. It’s just good for the soul. Buildings are for shelter. We are meant to be outside.

    OK enough of that.


  33. Comment by CLB | 03.4.2008 | 2:51 pm

    I don’t mind the stationary bike so much when I tape over the clock just after starting, so the end comes as a surprise.

  34. Comment by rexinsea | 03.4.2008 | 3:35 pm

    In Seattle we get to ride all winter if you don’t mind some drizzle and riding in the dark from mid November – late February. So you have to ride with full fenders, booties, proper rain gear and lights. It’s a lot of gear to purchase, put on and maintain. I also have rollers, fluid trainer, treadmill at home and at the gym, access to spin classes — you name it—I have plenty of inside exercise options. All the ‘inside’ gear has seen almost no use this winter because I detest them all. I’ve actually thought about this some as well. My reasons for preferring the outside:
    • Fresh air is better than inside air – hands down.
    • Any changing scenery (dead grass and all) is better than a TV/MP3 player and the same spot on the wall you stare at in your prison cell…err..basement room for your rollers.
    • I sweat, a lot, on any machine with or without a fan. I don’t sweat as much outside. Sweating all over your bike/trainer is just gross (and tends to corrode bits of your bike.)
    • I simply don’t have the mental capacity to exercise on a machine for more than 45-60 minutes – max. I start talking myself into quitting at 30-35 minutes. Outside I can go as long as my body will let me.
    • I think most importantly, getting outside the house gets me away from the nagging tasks in the house (pick up the living room, yard work, paint the nicks on the walls… you name it.)

    So… unless it’s driving rain, I’ll always choose to go outside.

  35. Comment by domestique | 03.4.2008 | 3:47 pm

    You experienced what I like to call “road therapy”. It’s something that a trainer, rollers, or a spinning bike can never, ever provide you.

  36. Comment by mark | 03.4.2008 | 3:55 pm

    God gave us snow so that we would get off our bikes and on our skis for several months of the year. Those who ride when there’s snow on the ground are committing unnatural acts.

    Fatty, you live at the doorstep to the most spectacular skiing in the world and you have friends who would gladly take you with them. You hate riding rollers but still haven’t gotten the hint. Amazing.

    FWIW, what you spent on those fancy pants rollers would have got you a decent backcountry ski setup.

  37. Comment by KeepYerBag | 03.4.2008 | 4:19 pm

    When reduced to pure exercise, anything is exquisitely dull. (Yes, even that.)

  38. Comment by Harp | 03.4.2008 | 4:24 pm

    You said exactly like I feel. I haven’t had my trainer long but I already am sick of it. It’s even worse now after having a couple of nice days to ride outside it is hard to get back on the trainer.

  39. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.4.2008 | 4:48 pm

    I dunno, I like my trainer. I am dreading light, and cool fresh air and not-so-rainy commuting weather.


  40. Comment by leroy | 03.4.2008 | 4:52 pm

    Psychiatrists have an explanation for what you are experiencing: It’s all in your head.

    I used to fly airplanes. I always loved it when I could look out the window.

    But when you had to go solely on instruments, it wasn’t nearly as fun.

  41. Comment by JP | 03.4.2008 | 4:52 pm

    I’ve never had the luck to ride on good rollers, but I think riding outside uses just enough of your mind to be fun. It’s amazing how quickly I can get into a “zone”-like feeling when riding outside, particularly when I need to pay a little attention to obstacles, a little attention to my trajectory when turning, and when I’m pushing my rider-bike dyad to our limit.

    Though James might be right that it’s the endorphins.

    (do I get extra points for “rider-bike dyad”?)

  42. Comment by Tim D | 03.4.2008 | 5:07 pm

    I did 2.5 hrs mountain biking tonight with two friends. Unfortunately, a third didn’t get down to Bristol in time. Riding was great, I felt like I was about to have a heart attack about 50 times, I was at the back the whole time, my lights faded so much I couldn’t see the trail, it was ace. Then we met up with Karl, who didn’t arrive in time to ride, and we talked about the ride and how great it was, and what he’d missed, and he regretted missing it but revelled in our (very mundane) stories, and we all enthused about riding, and we reminissed about rides we’d done, and went to eat and talked more about rides we’d done and friends we had through riding and how great it all is.

    None of this would have happened if we’d got on our rollers and turbo trainers and ridden indoors.

  43. Comment by kentucky joe | 03.4.2008 | 5:41 pm

    wow, bad timing, I was just going to ride the trainer for 40 minutes but reading this post has convinced me to just say no. that and the fact that I had a nice hour this past week-end outside in 50 degree and dry conditions, both of which have been very rare since November, here in Kentucky where we have been spoiled with “global warming winters” the past few years which saw that kind of weather sprinkled throughout the winter months but not this year. This winter has seen too much trainer while watch dvd’s….not nearly as much fun as cruising the bluegrass…c’mon Spring!!!!

  44. Comment by kc363 | 03.4.2008 | 6:16 pm

    So true. That’s why I snowboarded all winter. Only problem is now it’s really gonna hurt when I start riding again…

  45. Comment by Born4Lycra | 03.4.2008 | 6:30 pm

    Can’t wait for the winter. We need the rain – it has not rained decently for months. We are in the grip of serious drought and water rationing. Could do with snow too but it never does here in Adelaide. You can have too much ideal bike riding weather you know.

  46. Comment by Philthy in Oz | 03.4.2008 | 6:45 pm

    I have the answer to your roller woes. Hook two rollers up to a really big dial. Then, get a whole lotta people and have a Roller Derby. Raise money for charity so you all feel that happy glow, and to put the icing on the cake, do it all in a pub. Wanna see what it looks like? for the latest in Melbourne’s own Roller Derby madness.

  47. Comment by joliver3 | 03.4.2008 | 6:54 pm

    I ride rollers with a mag resistance unit for 30 – 40 minutes listening to my iPod, and I play all kinds of mental games to try to keep myself from looking at the clock. As soon as I can get on the road for one ride, I’m pretty much done with the rollers, and my fitness actually tends to decline in early spring as a result.

    I think it’s definitely the fresh air, natural light, and sense of motion, but it’s also the feeling of accomplishing something. Even if you do an out-and-back ride, you can still look at a map or tell someone, “I went from over here to over there and back.” Try that with the GPS trace of your indoor century, for example (other than for comic effect).

    I think that’s also why I’d prefer to climb a hill than ride into a headwind, even if the effort and speed are the same. While climbing the hill, you can see your progress as you go, and when you get to the top of the hill, you can see what you accomplished. When battling a headwind, if you’re lucky, you can eventually turn around and get the tailwind, but having fought the invisible wind doesn’t seem like as much of an accomplishment.

  48. Comment by eliel | 03.4.2008 | 7:10 pm

    Fatty, i don’t know the answers myself but your writing has so brilliantly touched the beauty and the essence of our sport. Thank you.

  49. Comment by Kristen | 03.4.2008 | 7:26 pm

    I don’t use rollers or a trainer. I make myself suffer all winter long in the gym and try to get out as often as I can on the mountain bike and sometimes road if it’s not too cold or wet. Riding my bikes make me feel free and that I can go wherever I want. But when you’re on rollers or a trainer your stuck in one place and just can’t hop of like Mary Poppins on the carousel horses and go wherever you want no matter how hard you try.

    PS – Prison Break is a wonderful show!! That would keep me inside, but only for a little

  50. Comment by IndoorRolyPoly | 03.4.2008 | 7:35 pm

    Maybe I’m an oddity, but I really do like riding indoors on my rollers! I think it’s because I’m a heavy laborer at Caterpillar that works 10 hour shifts, 4 to 5 days a week. I’m at work by 5am, home by 4pm. The last thing I want to do is go out and bonk an hour away from home…… I guess ultimately I really like the fact that I can leave what’s left of my energy, and any work problems on the rollers, it really is good therapy!
    Oh, and one other nice thing about riding indoors is my wife can’t say “Your never home” or “Once the weather gets nice, I’m going to be a bicycle widow”……..

    That said I long for some good old fashioned SUN LIGHT and single track!

  51. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 03.4.2008 | 8:05 pm

    No-one’s even come close to the real answer.

    Stale air.

    On the road you are continually being offered fresh air. In your basement you are slowly suffocating in your own emissions. CO2 and wet socks.

    Nobody like the smell of wet socks, not even the sock owner. It’s an offensive smell, just like farts but without the advantage of “owner affinity”.

  52. Comment by Tri Patch | 03.4.2008 | 9:08 pm

    After eight years of competitive swimming–four of those at the collegiate level–I’ll sit and spin my bicycle content for hours on the trainer, all winter long, and be happy knowing (just knowing!) that I’m not staring at that infernal black line at the bottom of the pool which constantly taunted me for the 350,000 yards (96 hours) I had to swim each January.

    For rollers and trainers indoors, and their complimentary old TdF tapes, in the wintertime I am eternally grateful.

  53. Comment by ShaneJones | 03.4.2008 | 9:17 pm

    Trainer or treadmill time goes by much faster if I break it into small chunks by doing different interval workouts or stand/sit , one legged pedaling, etc. If you only have to think about the next couple of minutes before you know it, your workout is done. I’ve never been able to handle really long trainer or dreadmill workouts.

  54. Comment by Little1 | 03.4.2008 | 10:02 pm

    I concur.

    However, this is the one time when I am glad I live south of the equator and we don’t have the same winter issues as you (although i do think snow is pretty funky stuff) our winter is only bad enough to need lights and a wind jammer. I did at one stage live in a region which has lots of rain over winter and so spent a lot of time doing spinning classes but I could at least get a decent ride in roughly once a week. That was bad enough, don;t know how you have managed to keep any semblance of sanity!

    Will be thinking of you and Susan while wearing my “WIN” jersey on sunday – during the worlds biggest individal timed cycle race – for the Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle tour, 35 000 riders doing 106km around the most beautiful peninsula check it out

  55. Comment by Jessi | 03.4.2008 | 10:20 pm

    What about the vitamin D connection? Vitamin D=happy. Many studies suggest we don’t get nearly enough, and even dim winter light on the mere amount of skin exposed on your face for an hour or so could make a difference.

  56. Comment by Primal | 03.5.2008 | 1:26 am

    I think the endorphins get aroused when you head outdoors, It’s the thrill of… “Will we make it home in one piece?” the smell of the fresh air, the green of the trees (might not be so for you at this stage of your winter). The other major factor for me is heading out with a bunch of mates that love their bikes as much as I do… and we’re all out there together. Even having a roll out on your own. To me it’s a sense of freedom where I leave home, work and life behind. Nothing but wind and the whips’ of the wheels with nothing but the lungs and legs to think about. A form of switching off, or getting out of the “Mouse Wheel” that is everyday life and making the body hurt!

  57. Comment by jim | 03.5.2008 | 4:49 am

    You of all people should know the answer: It’s like reality TV, except it’s real. And there’s no TV.

  58. Comment by Sprocketboy | 03.5.2008 | 6:21 am

    After five years of all-season riding in DC, I am now exiled to Canada and “enjoying” the second-worst winter for snowfall in Ottawa’s recorded history. I did manage to ride to work twice in January and last Friday I did the symbolic February ride, although it was the equivalent of -30F and I had a constant ice-cream headache except at the stop signs. On Monday there was freezing rain and I could not even stand up outside but I did ride in on Tuesday. That’s over now as we are in the middle of a storm that is promised to give us 12 inches of snow by the time it ends. And more promised on the weekend.

    As you can see, my frustration is more with the weather than with sitting on the trainer. I have a vast library of old race DVDs and videos, as well as a selection of CTS and Spinergy DVDs and even most of the Cyclo-Core workouts. I do two very brutal training sessions twice a week in the basement and then go to the gym for spinning classes on Saturday and Sunday. The spinning classes feel more social although nobody really talks to anyone else, but I enjoy riding and watching my race videos. Go, Jens, go!

    On a positive note, when you think of how much you are suffering indoors, think of the good cause you are serving: making your friends suffer on the open road in the months ahead!

  59. Comment by daubrey3 | 03.5.2008 | 7:13 am


  60. Comment by Don ( | 03.5.2008 | 7:22 am

    You ever try WATCHING tennis? THAT’S a blast!

  61. Comment by KT | 03.5.2008 | 9:39 am

    I can’t watch shows with words when I’m on the trainer. I have a short attention span and forget what I’m supposed to be doing.

    I listen to my mp3 player and watch the HRM to keep my heart rate in the right “zone” (i.e. the zone that doesn’t feel like my heart will burst from my chest).

    I can only stay on the trainer for about an hour, then I get bored.

    I would much rather go for a ride outside (unless it’s raining too hard) because there’s always the chance that I’ll see something interesting.

    And get some fresh air, to “blow the stink off” as my mom used to put it.

    Give my best to Susan!

  62. Comment by Kenny's neice | 03.5.2008 | 12:26 pm

    At least you have a bike! My bike (a really crappy one) fell over and now the pedal is bent in so bad that I can’t even pedal. *Sniffle sniffle* and it is so pretty here too!

  63. Comment by judi | 03.5.2008 | 6:45 pm

    Fatty, I got to ride outside for the 1st time in 6 weeks on Sunday. It was awesome. I hope you get out soon too.

  64. Comment by The D | 03.6.2008 | 2:56 pm

    I think it’s that distance and terrain are inherently interesting; time and resistance, not so much.

    It always feel a rush of accomplishment to make it to the 7-11 in the next town.. up the next hill.. through the sweeping corner in just the right gear, and back home. Escape, challenge, return; a bike ride always has the seems of epic drama, even if it’s the most quotidian of routes.

    On the trainer, the 70th minute is just like the 10th, only sweatier. Plus, the phone might ring.


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