Darkness and a cold breeze sweeps across my face as I prepare myself to go riding. This scenario comes about one of two ways. 1) it is early and hopefully the sun will bring at least some slight increase in the temperature or 2) The sun is on the way out, I am trying to get a quick ride in after work. These two scenarios become more and more real as the year moves towards winter solstice. Eventually I will breakdown and stay inside. Thus, this leads me to a couple of options for my riding.
The most prevalent options are turning your bike into a stationary trainer or busting out the rollers. However, you can always go to your local gym and hit up the spin class. The spin classes are not usually run by people who race or spend a significant amount of their weekend riding outside, though you can meet people or simple people watch.
The more serious of us will therefore use a trainer of sorts. The two main types are Magnetic trainers and Fluid trainers. These trainers vary in cost and you will need to pick one out that fits your budget. The upside to the more expensive trainers is that they are usually quieter, easier to use, more linear resistance when you increase your effort, and some even allow you to go online and race others with the same trainer software. Note, this does not mean you get a better workout. Only you control how effective the workout is. Additionally, there are many videos and other outside stimulants to take your mind off the pain of training inside.
Another option is a set of rollers. Simple to set up, just put your bike on three barrels and start pedaling. Now the tough part: balance. Without fail you will eventually try to ride no-handed or take off clothes as you spin, which may (high chance), result in crashing while not moving. A second upside of rollers is that it will help you spin and it will quickly show you power differences in your legs as you pedal. Pedal harder with the right leg and the bike will fade left on rollers; thus, a great way to work on your form.
Whatever methods you bring inside with you remember to place a mat beneath you to avoid sweating all over the floors, because your sweat can be slightly acidic. Furthermore, you should wipe your bike down after you ride. You should also set up the trainer in a cool area with a fan. It does not take very much effort before you start to roast in place. Place a towel to wipe your face as you pedal away to nowhere. Now you are all set to suffer.