Tips for Riding on a Trainer | Barton Haynes

Baron Haynes here in Spokane, WA. It’s fall time, which means cold time. Which means on the trainer time. Despite all appearances, trainers are not that simple. And I’m not talking about “smart” trainers either, I’m just talking about basic, run of the mill trainers the issues I’ve dealt with over the years. Here are the three mistakes I have made using trainers.

Tip 1: Clean Off Your Bike

Here’s something I learned the hard way. Being on a trainer is not the same as riding outside in one extremely important way: evaporation. 

If, like me, you ride hard and push yourself, you sweat. A lot. Outside this isn’t a problem:

  • You sweat less than when riding inside
  • The wind blows your sweat away from your bike
  • The wind evaporates sweat that falls on your bike

Bus inside, you don’t have the luxury of having a strong wind to evaporate your sweat and keep you cool. Instead, you are in a hot room sweating corrosive salt water all over your bike. 

And if, like me, you aren’t diligent about wiping your bike dry after rides eventually your bike parts will start to rust and break down with vicious intensity. 

So if you spend a lot time on trainer, make sure your bike is very dry afterwards. Getting a large fan and blowing it on yourself while riding can also help. 

Tip 2: Pay Attention While Riding on Your Trainer


Trainers are stationary, so there’s no worry about falling over, right?

Wrong. Just go to YouTube and look at all of the bike trainer fails. They are endless. There’s nothing more embarrassing either.

And in fact they can be quite dangerous – the worst bike injury I ever had was falling off of the trainer – see Tip 3.  I’ve fallen over several times, clearly not having learned my lesson the first time I fell over. I’ve fallen over while not paying attention when:

  • Getting on the bike
  • Looking back over my shoulder and losing complete balance
  • Standing up and getting too zealous in my ride

The worst injury I ever had was when my whole trainer was swept out from under me. See Tip 3. 

Tip 3: Be Careful Where You Put Your Trainer

So, when I lived down in San Diego I would periodically take preventative measures against mold, as I lived near the water and the moisture could cause mold problems. The preventative measure were these special balls that diffused an anti-fungal dust all of the house. Well, apparently this dust was quite slick. As in, slick as water on ice.

So after doing this the first time, I got my trainer out and put it where I always use it. I got on my bike, and started pedaling. And then, as quick as riding over wet leaves. I went down hard. Like a brick. Like an Acme anvil in a cartoon. Right onto the tile. 

I was so surprised that I didn’t even brace myself. Outside, you always have a level of danger-sense, and so even during sudden falls you can brace yourself. But inside there was no danger sense. The contusion on my leg, rear, and back was the color of ink, hard as bark, and extensive. I looked like I got caught in a house fire. And it was extremely painful. It took me out of riding for several weeks. 

Now I put my trainer on an anti-slip mat. Again, watch trainer fail videos online. You’ll see a lot of what I have already done on trainers. 

Good luck, and safe trainer-ridding. 

Thanks for following along and happy cycling!

-Barton Haynes