Ditch The Trainer Discomfort: How To Set Up Your Bike For Better Indoor Miles
Whether you’re temporarily stuck inside on the trainer these days or if indoor riding is a regular part of your weekly routine, setting up your bike properly for inside training is important for keeping your body happy and healthy. Just like riding outside, if your bike isn’t comfortable or you can’t achieve a sustainable riding position, your training and efforts will suffer.
Here are some tips for setting yourself and your bike up for success when riding indoors:
FIND A SUSTAINABLE POSITION
Be kind to your body when setting up your bike position on the trainer. Remember, there are no aerodynamic considerations for indoor cycling, so slamming your stem or twisting your body into uncomfortable positions may not be the best choice. When it comes to power production and sustainability, your body functions best when operating in moderate ranges of motion.
SET UP YOUR TRAINING SPACE
When riding the trainer, body movements are more restricted than when riding on the road. To accommodate for these restrictions, consider how and where you set up your bike within the room. If possible, position your bike and computer screen evenly so that you can keep your upper body neutral. Cranking your neck to watch your virtual cycling world while riding at high intensity is a recipe for off-the-bike headaches.
Keep your body dynamic when riding inside. We tend to stay seated for longer durations when riding indoors, which can cause hot spots and pressure points. Try changing up your position on the bike by moving your hands between the tops, hoods, and drops. Or alternate standing and sitting when putting the power down.
CHECK YOUR CONTACT POINTS
If you're staying dynamic on the bike but you're still feeling pressure or pain, assess your three main contact points, including your hands, undercarriage, and feet. Are your shoes, cleats, saddle, bibs, and grips or bar tape in good shape? Replace worn-out equipment or old clothing to keep your body happy and connected properly with the bike. PRO has an extensive lineup of saddles for all riders. Use the saddle selector tool to help decide which one is right for you.
MAKE FIT ADJUSTMENTS
If you’re still having issues with pain on the bike, consider making fit adjustments to accommodate the new riding environment. Start by marking the position of each component that you plan to adjust or write down your current fit measurements so you can return to this riding position when you head back outdoors.
1. For saddle pain, consider lowering your saddle 5-10 millimeters so that you can put more weight into your pedals and less into your saddle. This will help reduce pressure on your sit bones and perineum (undercarriage). If you experience pain under the kneecap after making this adjustment, your saddle is now too low, and you should return to your original seat position.
2. If your undercarriage is numb while riding, find a saddle that protects your parts by switching to something with an anatomic relief zone. The PRO Stealth series of saddles all feature wide relief channels down the center to help remove pressure from the perineal area.
3. For hand, neck, and shoulder pain, try changing your bar position. Many riders feel like indoor riding adds the sensation of weight to the front end of the bike. You or your local shop can add spacers to raise your stem and your handlebars. If the position is still too low and you’ve maxed out the number of spacers you can use, try swapping your stem for one with a higher angle. The PRO LT stem is available in both +17-degree and +35-degree rises and is a great low-cost option.
Treat your body right when riding inside and set up your bike and training space for a comfortable, sustainable riding position. Whether you're used to riding inside each week or this is something new you're adapting to, it's important to listen to your body and make changes to accommodate the extra stresses and pressures. When in doubt, call your bike fitter and discuss how to remove pain so you can ride steady and feel good on the trainer.