Better Light or Trainer?

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Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Puffy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:09 am

So it's been raining just about every day for the last three months. I am Mr Rule #9, rain does not stop me riding but before sun up, on very poor roads, commuters (a lot of tradies around here start at 6am), in the rain with fogged up glasses is just dangerous and I just about had enough. Yesterday I hit a massive pothole hidden under the sheet of water running across the road at 35km/hr damaging my rim and dam near killing me. Out again this morning I decided something has to be done since there is no end to the rain in sight and I have come up with two options;

1. Buy a better light
Currently use an Ay-Up (intermediate lense) +50% which is ok, but does not penetrae enough to give sufficent warning. Dam sure am glad I went the +50% plus option.
Option 1a) Buy a second Ay-up and helmet mount it. I would get a +50% but in a focused lense. About $300
Option 2a) Get a My Tiny Sun. According to the BNA review it is signifcantly brighter than running two Ay-Ups but it is $610 plus postage.

2. Stay home and buy a trainer
I've got plenty of mates with trainers and they all hate them. I have worked out this is because they are not true to the road experience and boring. To that end, a Powerbeam Pro would solve both. They can be set to deliver an exact power output for an exact duration. Ie if you want to do 300w for 15min, then 250w for 10min, then 300w again for 15min, that is exactly what you will do. The trainer varies resistance to force you to do the correct wattage. Secondly you can either record your own (use an existing ride) or download rides compelte with video. The video plays, you ride and the resistance is varied automatically as the terrain in the video changes. No more boredom. I can mount a camera and ride a given training route, then next week if it's raining, sit on the trainer and ride it exactly as it is in the real world but at home. This sounds great but given my training is power based the exact terrain isn't important rather doing a set power range for a set time I wouldn't get much use from it. I would however be able to watch TV, or (try to) read a book, listen to a teaching tape while training and not have to worry about keeping on track.
This option is obviously safer, and saves the on going maintenance riding in the rain causes so does have a small onging saving. Cost is about $1200.

So what are your thoughts? What do you recommend? What would you do? Any other suggestions?
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by BNA » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:17 pm

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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby thearthurdog » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:17 pm

I say 2. It rained so much where I live in February and I ended up doing 42 hours on my trainer. Really prevented me from missing training and I was able to do a lot of specific work.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Puffy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:35 pm

What trainer do you have?
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Philipthelam » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:29 pm

I'd say buy a trainer... But don't spend so much. I think you would be better off buying a reliable trainer between the 200-500 dollar mark because whether you buy a really high end trainer or a a moderately priced one you will still get quite bored. I think the boredom comes more from the fact that you are not moving/steering/braking than from the road "feel" of the trainer.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Nobody » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:43 pm

Option 1 may not help that much in the wet as most light is reflected off the road anyway.

Option 2 is a good idea anyway as you may get an injury in the future and need it during rehabilitation. I have a reasonable one that I rarely use (as I prefer the road/paths) but keep it in case of injury and for truing wheels etc.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Metor » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:21 pm

Option 1.
Cycling you do outside. Get a better light and slow down your speed a bit. Just enjoy the ride :wink:
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Puffy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:48 pm

Slow down. Yes abit but I'm training in power and cadence zones. Since my power and cadence is set, speed is a result of terrain. Flat and down hill = fast. Not much I can do about it. Looks split either way. Have to say I am leaning to a new light and not boredom.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby twizzle » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:26 pm

Trainers do suck. I have a Kurt Kinetic... doesn't get used much. Rock and Roll version would be better. Computrainer (or similar) always sounds like more fun. And I ride dual Ayup, narrow on the helmet, much safer and effective.

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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Derny Driver » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:09 pm

Puffy wrote:..... my training is power based

Riding in the rain is just crazy. You give no background on what sort of racing you do, where you live, and why you so desperately need to get on your bike no matter what the weather - but where I live, no-one goes riding in the rain. If we go for a ride and we cop a shower during the ride, that's ok, but if its pouring down when we wake up, its time for Plan B.

There will always be things crop up that throw out beloved training plans into disarray. Work, kids, partners, sickness and bad weather can all interrupt our best laid plans. So if its raining all week then just throw your power based training plan in the bin and do a light spin on the rollers for as short or as long as you want. An ergo bike is probably the best investment you will make, they have a great road feel. You can pedal as hard or as soft as you like. The thing that makes trainers boring is trying to do specific drills at specific cadences and power for ridiculous lengths of time. That would drive even the most committed cyclist crazy.

If its raining also feel free to just sleep in and skip the days training, the sky wont fall in. Same if you are sick. You will lose about 0.006% of fitness but recover it very quickly.

So my opinion is to buy an ergo bike if you can find one, one with no clock and no computer. Jump on and listen to some music and take it easy and don't feel guilty if you get off after 10 mins. In the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby macca33 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:26 pm

I bought a trainer for the sole reason of riding when it is miserable weather. I've only ridden it once thus far, but will use it a lot over winter for two reasons - inclement rainy weather does present physical danger and it brings with it dreaded ailments. Besides, you can get quite a good workout on the trainer. I have a CycleOps Pro Magnetic.

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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Metor » Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:54 am

Derny Driver wrote:
Puffy wrote:..... my training is power based

Riding in the rain is just crazy. You give no background on what sort of racing you do, where you live, and why you so desperately need to get on your bike no matter what the weather - but where I live, no-one goes riding in the rain. If we go for a ride and we cop a shower during the ride, that's ok, but if its pouring down when we wake up, its time for Plan B.

There will always be things crop up that throw out beloved training plans into disarray. Work, kids, partners, sickness and bad weather can all interrupt our best laid plans. So if its raining all week then just throw your power based training plan in the bin and do a light spin on the rollers for as short or as long as you want. An ergo bike is probably the best investment you will make, they have a great road feel. You can pedal as hard or as soft as you like. The thing that makes trainers boring is trying to do specific drills at specific cadences and power for ridiculous lengths of time. That would drive even the most committed cyclist crazy.

If its raining also feel free to just sleep in and skip the days training, the sky wont fall in. Same if you are sick. You will lose about 0.006% of fitness but recover it very quickly.

So my opinion is to buy an ergo bike if you can find one, one with no clock and no computer. Jump on and listen to some music and take it easy and don't feel guilty if you get off after 10 mins. In the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter.

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Why would riding in the rain be crazy? I actually can enjoy it as well. You just get wet, that's all!
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Puffy » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:02 pm

I don't mind the rain, just the combination of rain and dark on shiet roads. Why not sleep in? I'd get nothing done. Besides I know me and it gets harder to get up when I start making excuses. Slippery slope and all that hence my "no excuses policy". What's more I pay good money to my coach and I want my monies worth. We're not talking the odd day here and there, rather weeks on end of wet mornings. It's just they way of it up here. Not training is not an option.

Might get a helmet mounted ayup. I've been reading the thread about bright lights and blinding on commers. At least this way I can look away, or down when someone approaches. I might even get the lenses changed in my current set to focused one to minimise stray light and to get better penetration.

Ergo bike sounds interesting too, I'm off to look into them.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby trailgumby » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:35 pm

I'd get the light. Well, I already have the light, but you know what I mean

I can confirm it is strong enough to give you the penetration you are missing in wet weather, but you need to be conscious of other road users and dip the power when dazzling them is a risk.

The battery is encased in several layers of heatshrink, so I would recommend enclosing it in a plastic bag and sealing it with either a wire twist or a cable tie to provide an additional layer of water resistance, and keep an eye on it after especially heavy downpours.

This way, you can comply with Rule #9 and Rule #5

As for fogging lenses, dipping them down my nose ever so slightly and peering over the top still protects my eyes and lets me see quite well. Then, when up to speed and they've cleared, back up they go. Option two is pick a less trafficked route away from cars and take it easy. On some really bad nights between SOP and the northern beaches I've gone the footpath where necessary on busy routes.

So long as you're warm enough and you're not being buffetted by wind, a wet ride is better than a session on a trainer.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Farmer Elvis » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:41 pm

Stay safe, buy a trainer, download a few sufferfest videos to relieve boredom and go hard :twisted:
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Xplora » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:23 am

IF you are "training" then you need to get off the road if you can't see well. The light will help but once conditions get real bad, it won't help you at 35-45kmh. I have ridden in some truly psychotic conditions, dedicated hardman... but I wouldn't try and do power training in those conditions unless I was on some premium road. You've had the warning already... hardman riding requires smartman tactics to cope and power training is deliberately turning off your concern about that...
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby sb944 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:10 am

I don't doubt trainer is hard for some, not so much for others. I do know specific training is way easier on a trainer. In one hour you can do hundreds of different types of workout, and specifically target what you are trying to work out for, without trying to find a perfect road/hill to do that training on, and the time to get out there and back etc. I have no problems (except fitness) with sitting on a trainer for an hour, then get my real road time by commuting. It feels good to seperate the two, and use my road time for non power related tasks, such as focusing on balance or technique, and just enjoying a ride.

Also, a KK Road Machine is easily enough for a trainer, perhaps cheaper ones might be fine too. To up the power, you just increase your speed. At about 39km/h you are putting in over 400W on a KK, but if you want to only put 330W, just hold 36km/h instead. From that you should be able to determine an FTP power, and from there use specific programs based on FTP for what you are trying to do.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Slvr32gtr » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:06 pm

If you are looking into the trainer option, I just bought a set of Elite Arion Digital Rollers to fix the same problem of dark wet riding. They have the same function of being able to set a certain resistance based on Wattage and it varies resistance to maintain that wattage no matter what gear you are pushing. The resistance goes all the way up to 550W as well so they have a wide range of workouts you can do on them.

All the controls run off a computer that you place on your handlebars and it connects via blue-tooth to the rollers. You can set up workouts by pairing the rollers to an iPad also (mapping a route on google maps and it tracks where you are and varies resistance based on the gradient etc)

I went the roller route as it takes a bit of concentration to stay on them and also helps smooth out your pedal stroke and efficiency while you train. I havent played with them too much yet but enjoy getting on them for a spin.

Wiggle does a good price on them and shipping is free to Aus.

Just a thought anyway!

Edit: Forgot to add, i picked mine up for $600 delivered but on special you could get them for sub $600.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby trailgumby » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:40 pm

Xplora wrote:IF you are "training" then you need to get off the road if you can't see well. The light will help but once conditions get real bad, it won't help you at 35-45kmh. I have ridden in some truly psychotic conditions, dedicated hardman... but I wouldn't try and do power training in those conditions unless I was on some premium road. You've had the warning already... hardman riding requires smartman tactics to cope and power training is deliberately turning off your concern about that...

Fair comment.

Where I struggle is stealing the time from other activities to fit in the trainer session. With fitting my training into my commuting, it leverages otherwise dead time staring out the window of the bus, getting coughed and sneezed on.

It also gives you practice at riding in atrocious conditions so you know how to handle it during an event.

However, if vision becomes too impaired for me to judge closing distances and timing with traffic, I usually give up on the session and beat a retreat to the footpath if an alternate route is not available.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Puffy » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:54 pm

Some good thoughts here, and trainer suggestions. Food for thought... Thanks.
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby Xplora » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:52 pm

Trail, you're also a MTB dude and there is some latitude for bad conditions... I ride on 25s and I have big tyres for my clan, they will not race in serious rain. My advice is hell yeah get out there, ride to the conditions, go nuts, BUT power training implies intervals and maintaining a speed which in some situations just isn't safe. You are artificially keeping your speed at 35kmh where the conditions really suggest 25 or 30. Or 15. I was simply riding in the early evening and pinched the rear trying to hunt KOMs on unfamiliar road. What a boofhead. :lol: I think we're on the same page though. There has to be allowances for different kinds of training and busted wheels or bodies pretty much renders the training program useless or too expensive if you can't assume relative safety :) Still... Rule #9 FTW
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby wombatK » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:44 pm

trailgumby wrote:So long as you're warm enough and you're not being buffetted by wind, a wet ride is better than a session on a trainer.

One thing you can guarantee on a trainer - you'll be too warm and every session will be a wet ride (sweat).

Why not find a set of local roads you can use like a criterium circuit (assuming you have nothing of the sort nearby) ? That
way you at least cut out the problem of unfamiliar pot-holes etc.,. If you have any local motorways with decent break-down lanes on the shoulder and lots of congested bumper-to-bumper traffic, that can also make a safer alternative to average suburban roads.

If you lived anywhere near Sydney's M7 cycleway, you wouldn't be asking these questions and making any compromises. It's perfect in all weather conditions. Ask your local member to build one like it in your town.

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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby eon » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:18 am

I was once Mr Rule #9 - until I picked up a practically new PowerBeam Pro w Joule 3.0 on eBay for $475 bucks + $20 shipping.
Lets just say., the mudguards, raincoat, waterproof socks and cling wrap is no longer in use. :D

This trainer rocks and I can do intervals to the point where i'm absolutely spent. Something I cant quite do safely on the road.

w the BeamPro its certainly not boring. Can ride, the GalstonGorge, BowenMountain, - heck even Charlottes Pass or DeadHorseGap at the snowies, and others alike at 10pm at night while its storming outside. =) very easy to convert past rides to a workout.

1h session on the trainer is gold. :D

so yes to OPTION 2
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby nickobec » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:15 pm

A few years ago I purchased a Tacx Fortius virtual reality trainer because I did not like training in the dark (poor eyesight), also a wimp about the cold, but I live in Perth it does not get that cold or wet often here.

Other than when recovering from an injury, I do not use it that much, even with a dedicated bike for the trainer and a bunch of videos for it, I rather ride outside. I just enjoy riding outside more + I have 18km of smooth PSP, no intersections as part of my morning commute in daylight for interval training.

Mind you have friend who lives even closer to PSP & who does all his training on a trainer - it works for him, he has beaten me in every race and been promoted a grade
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Re: Better Light or Trainer?

Postby steve-waters » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:01 am

Love my Kurt Kinetic Rock n Roll - I commute in any weather but for training if the weather is average I always hit the trainer for better more focused workouts.

But you need a decent setup (big fan and easy access to trainer) and a plan to survive on a trainer so buy the videos, do the time crunched cyclist program, visit cycling inform and grab some of their stuff.
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