Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A change of bike trainer

17th February 2016

With all the storms that come our way over the last few months and stuff weighing on my mind, hillwalking excursions have been few over the past few months. It is at fallow times like these that you either brave the elements or find a workaround of sorts.

It also brings back my days of commuting by bike when the short hours of daylight and winter weather conspired to make me inactive. That it took me until 2014 to realise that I needed to do something about those winter hibernations is down to an expanding waistline. That faulty brakes had stalled my commuting by bike in 2012 only exacerbated things so I brought home a turbo trainer from Decathlon in July 2014.

Being new to this, I went for the cheapest model from their in-house brand B’TWIN. Over time, I started looking for quieter and quieter tyres and a slick tyre would be the next step once the current one wears out. The initial fitness was not impressive either and I, like so many, experienced boredom. The solution to the latter was to start reading magazines while on the trainer and the former was resolved by gradually stepping up the time spent. It went from ten minutes to thirty over two months and I found that I peaked at spending a hour a night on the thing.

Then, there was a life changing event in early 2015 that distracted me and outdoor cycling grew again as the year wore on so my previous rhythm was broken. Even so, I often spend a few minutes at a time well more than once in the day if a longer session does not come to pass.

All this seemed to take its toll on the trainer and the hum from the unit itself grew ever louder and more coarse, even above that of the back tyre of the bike. Not only that but there also seemed to be a ringing sound coming from it too. There was one time when it began to ring like a continuous bell but disassembly followed by reassembly sorted it by tightening up whatever was loose in there. That failed to address the issue when I tried it last week so I start to consider a replacement.

That came from Halfords on Sunday and there are differences. Firstly, the new Elite trainer is more testing than the old one so there is no cruising in top gear at anything but lower settings. If that builds extra leg strength and fitness, it will do good and moderation is my approach to such matters. Though quieter overall, there are some settings, the new unit feeds back vibration through the bike and that is something the old one never did. In time, I may find a way to dampen this but it is tolerable for now. The new trainer also cost less than what it replaced anyway. Anything it does for fitness and getting through magazine reading should help those outdoors outings to happen, which is a real use for these things anyway.

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