I’ve always had some type of a stationary trainer in the house as far back as the early 1980s. A monster of a wind resistance trainer from REI that held the entire bike to start with, followed by an entry-level set of rollers in the late 80’s, and then a CycleOps Fluid 2 in November of 1997. While they’re no replacement for riding on the road, they’ve served their purpose. However, it has always been something less than enjoyable to do Spinervals alone, as the rollers I had didn’t offer enough resistance to work with the Spinervals. At the same time, we’ve just never been as dedicated to indoor training as we needed to be to justify getting a second type of stationary trainer that would allow us to do side-by-side workouts or one of the high-end Tacx VR or Computrainer systems that give you a more virtual work-out and/or let you network with other cyclists for virtual group rides.
Well, a few weeks back a long-time friend from the ‘net made a set of ‘new-in-the-box‘ Kreitler rollers with the 3″ Poly-Lyte (aka, Challenger) drums, tandem extension kit and fork stand available for a price that was just too hard to pass-up so we called dibbs on that in a New York minute. It arrived here the afternoon of Dec 22nd, just in time for Christmas! I figured I’d be able to spend the morning of the 23rd getting it ready to use over the holiday, noting the 23rd was the first of six ‘official’ company days-off around the holiday season. However, the first six hours of my six holiday days-off ended up being spent working a couple ‘hot projects’ to prep the leadership team for a Corporate review in early January… sadly, not all that unusual and not the last project I’ll have to work over the holidays either. But I digress; I’ve got a good job with a good company and it comes with the territory so no worries, eh?
The rollers, tandem extension and fork stand went together in about 30 minutes, so next on my list was getting all the bikes ready to go, to include making our Erickson tandem road-worthy again. You may recall I cannibalized the Erickson for cranks and bottom brackets to support our belt-drive beta test project and before that suffered through a very wet and nasty ride after switching it back to its steel fork… wet enough to warrant removal of the cassette and chains as a hedge against rust and corrosion. So, another hour was spent putting all of those bits and pieces back on the bike as well as cleaning the dried-on, wet road crud off the tires and wheels before it could be carefully carried up the narrow, back stairway that leads from the garage to the exercise room adjacent to our master bedroom’s closet and bath.
I gave the tandem a solo test spin on the rollers with and without the fork stand. Riding with tandem attached to the fork stand was pretty straight forward and offered some resistance with just the 3″ drums, but not as much as the CycleOps Fluid 2. Of course, rollers really aren’t meant to be ridden with a fork stand — tandem or otherwise — so I figured I’d give it a spin with the front wheel on (but no stoker) to see if going from riding a single bike on rollers to a tandem was going to present any unique challenges: it did. Turns out that longish steering trail of the Erickson that we’ve always liked so much on the road, isn’t as enjoyable on the rollers. I’m hopeful that having Debbie on the tandem will do a better job of distributing weight over the rear wheel when riding in roller-mode vs. on the fork stand, but we’re a few weeks away from that.
Anyway, we had our maiden spin using the fork stand later the afternoon of the 24th in combination with the basic Spinervals 1.0 fitness program. It was a good way to spend some time spinning, but just not enough of a work-out without the added resistance of the front wheel or Kreitler’s add-on “Killer Head Wind” resistance unit, and perhaps a flywheel. So, we’re now in the market for some Kreitler accessories, as we’ll need at least the flywheel unit(s) for spinning on the rollers in the future: the head wind unit, not so much I suspect.
For our Christmas Day and today’s workout we opted to set the tandem aside for the time being (tucked neatly away in a corner of the exercise room) and mounted-up our single bikes with our Garmin 305 & 705 units, cadence/speed sensors and heart rate monitors installed to manage our HR and cadence. I opted to put my single bike on the CycleOps Fluid 2 and put Debbie’s single bike on the Kreitler’s — noting their much lower resistance — with the fork mount moved back to a single bike position. It worked pretty well, but I clearly need to get that resistance unit for the Kreitler, or a second CycleOps Fluid unit so that we can continue to work-out / ride together, as there was a real nice benefit to training together that we hadn’t expected when I first acquired the Kreitler tandem rollers.
In short, so far so good… We hope to spend the rest of our time at home doing some daily training rides using the interim configuration of the tandem rollers with the fork stand in use. In parallel, I’ll continue to look for a nice 2nd hand CycleOps Fluid 2 and/or some Kreitler accessories.