Riding a bike is great exercise. You'll burn tons of calories while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the countryside or feeling the pulsing heartbeat of a bustling city, or somewhere just as lovely in between.
But one drawback is that when the weather goes bad, your bike is left in the garage, and you’ve missed your daily ride.
If you spend most of the year riding outside, you'll probably not want to spend money on a stationary bike which can only be used when the weather is too rough for a ride. So, what is the solution - can it be done?
You probably already know, thanks to the title. Yes, it is very much possible to turn your regular bike into a stationary bike. Just follow the few simple steps below.
How to do it yourself?
If you’re handy and know your way around a toolkit, or you're simply up for a challenge, you could try to make your own bike stand. A bike stand is the tool you'll need to convert your bike into an exercise bike. It is perfectly doable, just make sure to build it strong and steady.
Now, I am not much of a craftsman, so I will spare you my poor instructions and explanations; instead, here’s a link to a video that you can watch:
How to turn your bike into a stationary bike? (The easy way!)
If you don't know your way around a toolkit, you'll need compatible stand or trainer. The stand will vary, depending on which bike you have. For example, road bikes and mountain bikes require different sizes, wheel-wise. If the wheel is too small for the stand, you'll risk slipping off and hurting yourself.
Secondly, you will need an open area where you have room to assemble the parts and enough free space to ride.
A bike trainer is a small stand which enables you to ride your bicycle indoors.
There are various types of bike trainers available, but they all generally consist of a frame which holds on to the rear wheel while it's turning. They come in several different price ranges.
The more advanced stands are usually fitted with a resistance feature. This generally consists of fluid-filled chambers which mimic some of the resistance you're likely to experience outdoors. These are also often less noisy.
If you are a more advanced cyclist, or looking for a more authentic experience, you might want to get a roller system.
This system is not as stable as a bike trainer. It consists of two or more rollers, one in the front and two or more in the back. Nothing is holding your bike steady, so you'll have to continue pedaling and keep your balance.
When using a bike roller, it's recommended to place it between two chairs or in a doorway. This will assist you when you're getting on or off. While riding, keep the steering steady, and continue pedaling.
Your pedaling should be at a steady pace, with no erratic movements; everything should be gradual.
Make sure to place the roller in a free area where there are no breakable items around you which might cause an injury. It's very easy to lose your balance and fall off. You could place a mat or other cushioning around you to break your fall just in case.
A roller might also be used alongside your trainer to make it more advanced.
How to use your bike trainer or roller?
Now that you’ve got your parts, it's time to find the perfect spot.
No matter if you're using a trainer or a roller, it's essential to have a designated free space. This will allow you to assemble the various parts as well as prevent damage or injuries during your workout.
The floor should be level and, ideally, no carpets or rugs underneath. You'll want to be on a hard surface to create as much stability as possible.
Most bike stands are relatively easy to assemble, some might even come ready to use.
But if assembly is required, get the proper tools and follow the respective instructions. There are generally not too many steps to follow before you are ready to go!
Make sure that you double-check all screws and bolts are tight, to ensure your safety. Your bike should be in the center of the stand; if it is off to one side, make sure you correct it until it is straight before getting on.
Grab Your Bike
Go grab your bike and place the rear wheel on the stand. There should be clamps to secure the wheel; make sure you attach those correctly.
Test out your wheel by turning the pedals with your hands. Once it turns, secure the remaining parts.
If your stand comes with a front-wheel component, place it in the front and position your wheel. If the trainer did not come with a front feature, it's recommended to put a towel or cloth underneath the front wheel.
Ready to Go
Now you're ready to get on.
Take your time getting on, and consider using something to stabilize you, such as a chair or couch.
Before pedaling, inspect your bike and make sure it is stable enough.
When you begin pedaling, your front wheel will be still, for obvious reasons. Unless you're using a roller system or a front roller, in those cases the front wheel will turn. But whichever system you have, don’t try to steer, leave it be and relax your grip.
If it's important to you, make sure you can shift gears. This will, of course, give you more resistance but may also help you train for when you venture outside again.
When you're ready to go outside again, loosen the parts securing your bike and remove it from the stand. Most bike trainers are easy to disassemble and store till you need it again.
Converting your standard bicycle into a stationary bike is relatively easy if you’ve got the right parts or a little creativity.
If you are a cyclist, you might understand the feeling of wanting to stay on your own bicycle instead of using an exercise bike. It’s what you're going to race on, so you naturally want to practice on it too.
Turning your bicycle into an exercise bike is an excellent solution to this quandary. Below is a step by step guide.
- Buy a bike stand or roller (or DIY).
- Find the perfect spot - preferably on an even, hard surface.
- Assemble your kit - follow the instructions.
- Place your bike - secure it, and double check.
- Ride away!
Do you use a bike trainer once in a while? Have you tried crafting your own? Please let us know in the section below.