Setting Up Your Trainer Bike For The Winter And An Aversion To Big Egos


“He who tries to shine
dims his own light.”

by Lao-tzu (from a lovely translation by Steven Mitchell)

Hi folks,

I much prefer to ride the roads than a trainer, though for certain types of workout the trainer is better if it is set up appropriately. Number one rule with your trainer is to have the same bike fit as your racing bike (which is the same bike as your road bike, just ask Victor, my bike guy and business guru). The key is to train under the same conditions as you race, as far as is possible. For instance, I have Zip wheels that catch the wind. It can be windy in races, so my comfort with Zip wheels under windy conditions gives me an edge in windy races. Here is a picture of my current trainer bike, that I built (with help from Victor) from my first tri-bike, a 15-year old Quintana Roo, by adding stuff and cutting off bits and pieces I didn’t need.

FitOldDog's Trainer bike with CompuTrainer and PowerCranks

FitOldDog's Trainer bike with CompuTrainer, PowerCranks and, most important of all, a great bike fit.

Here are a few comments on the bike, starting at the back. Notice that round thing beneath the rear wheel, that is the drive for my Computrainer, a great piece of gear. It can be hooked up to a computer to give a readout of many things, including the quality of your spin, but generally I stick to the headset, a little box on the handlebars that allows me to set my wattage, and so forth.

Then notice that both of the cranks are hanging down, because they are PowerCranks. These guys really help you to improve your spin, as one leg cannot help the other. For instance, if you have lazy hamstrings, you can mash down with your quads instead. That will show on the Computrainer computer readout, but with PowerCranks one leg cannot help the other as the cranks are completely independent. However, be careful, as it is easy to strain your hip flexors with these things.

Finally, the book under the front wheel. It is there to level the bike, but I chose this particular book for a specific reason. The title is ‘Mathematica: A New Kind Of Science.‘ I can’t stand people having massive egos, and the writer of this book has an ego that is out of control, so I won’t mention his name as he does that aplenty. His ideas are brilliant, except for his ideas about himself. If you read his book and don’t know any better, you would think he invented the concept of emergent behavior single handedly, and this is just not true. So I selected his book as a front wheel support, as a fitting gesture to ego out of control. Benoît Mandlebrot, of fractal fame, has the same problem. I guess the trick is to avoid making the same mistake oneself.

So, that’s my trainer bike, upon which I expect to spend hundreds of hours riding over the winter, when I can’t get out of doors. Wouldn’t be without it.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Kevin

    Love the quote. I too refer to the Tao Teh Ching often. I love the use of the book. Brilliant! You should put a matt or a narrow rug under your bike.


  2. Saves your nice floors from cleats and also other nastiness

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.