My Stationary Bicycle Trainer Setup

This has been a great winter for bicycle riding and I was able to ride in temperatures just below freezing. However, the trails that I rode just a few days ago are covered with about 24” of snow. The New England weather has finally driven me indoors. In the past I had a gym membership, but I thought that they did a poor job of maintaining the equipment and I quit.

Stationary Bicycle Trainer
Stationary Bicycle Trainer

After some research, I bought a Kinetic Road Machine 2 stationary trainer for my home. I have it in a small room that barely qualifies as a man-cave, so I call it the man-place. Although my mountain bike and the trainer frame are nearly the same color, the color was not a part of the decision criteria. This trainer comes assembled and mounting my bike to it took about ten minutes. It comes with a special skewer for the rear axle that fits the clamp cones.

It’s important to me to know how fast and how far I’ve ridden. I’m not into watts or calories because I personally can’t convert those measures to anything useful. I usually record my rides using the Strava app on my iPhone, which clearly wasn’t going to work in my little man-place.

Bicycle Computer Sensor Rear Wheel Adaptation
Bicycle Computer Sensor Rear Wheel Adaptation

The type of device that I needed comes in the category of “bicycle computer”. These can be very expensive, but I was able to find one for about $25: the CatEye CC-VL520 Velo 7 bicycle computer. I mounted the sensor and the spoke magnet in the rear. Of course, it’s not meant to be mounted in the rear, so I needed to do some “engineering”. There was a perfectly shaped spring in my collection of miscellaneous hardware. The spring is fastened to the seatstay using electrical tape. The seatstay is protected with some double sided foam tape between the spring and the painted surface. The sensor is mounted to the spring using cable ties. The display is mounted to the top tube instead of the handlebar because the sensor wire isn’t long enough. This setup is alright for indoor stationary training, but I would not recommend it for use on the road since I don’t think it would hold up.

A feature of this computer that I like is the ability to input the circumference of your tire to measure the distance. This is a little more precise than the default tire sizes that can be selected as well. It is entered with accuracy to the centimeter. A mile measured using tire circumference to this accuracy can be off as much as 30 to 40 feet because of rounding, but that’s close enough for me.

This is working well for me. It can be dreadfully boring, so I’m hooking up a television that I can watch as I pedal. It’s a small screen, so I will not have the immersive experience of watching a travelogue as I pedal in front of a 60” 4K TV screen. I’ll probably stick with the news channels. I also have my iPod and a music collection that I enjoy. Until the big thaw in the spring, this is my cycling world.

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