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Turbo miles vs Road miles

secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,549
edited October 2013 in Road beginners
So: time is precious, I'm working away (no cycling potential), etc etc.

Time to get the turbo out! BUT: what is the equivalent of (say) one hour's turbo riding in terms of road mileage? IE does one hour on the turbo equate to one hour on the road, or is it more / less????

Would be interested to hear your thoughts as riding on the turbo's a bit boring, if I'm honest

It's just a hill. Get over it.
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  • Turbo being boring is one reason I think I'd rather spend the money on upgrades for my bike, I take cycling seriously but not *that* seriously ;)
  • Schoie81Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Me too - I cycle and I run because I just can't bring myself to exercise indoors. Part of the point of it for me is being outside. Exercise bike / treadmill at the gym or a turbo in the garage - just isn't for me.

    I was once told however that with running, on a treadmill, you have to set it as if climbing 5degrees to get the same effect as running on the pan-flat outdoors - so if the same applies to cycling, an hour on the road will be more of a workout than an hour on the turbo.
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • Actually I think it'll be the opposite. In my very limited experience of stationary bikes; you're working all the time putting effort in constantly, whereas on the bike there can be long periods of time when your putting in zero effort, just coasting along.
  • The big difference is that a treadmill is motorised, while you are in the air the 'road' is moving at a constant speed beneath your feet without input from yourself. If you stop pedalling on a turbo, it stops...

    5% seems a bit much though, I've heard 1.5-2% which feels a bit more realistic.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Try and measure turbo-time in times of intensity of effort, not mileage. To get the most of your time on the turbo, try and do a structured session involving specific drills / intervals, particularly threshold / HIT / Tabata. Just doing 'miles' on a trainer is pretty pointless unless it's recovery.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • BookwyseBookwyse Posts: 245
    I agree, just doing miles on a trainer is pointless, you either to do a structured interval session or get a VR like I have and ride actual routes that test you.

    I am currently training on the Tourmalet to improve my climbing and hope it's working.
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 737
    An hour on the turbo feel like longer, that's for sure.

    I reckon it's more of a workout than a typical ride because it's a constant effort - like riding an uphill gradient for an hour with no freewheeling downhills, traffic lights or junctions to take a breather. I find I need to be really pushing so the tired legs and burning lungs distract me from the boredom.
  • Schoie81Schoie81 Posts: 749
    The big difference is that a treadmill is motorised, while you are in the air the 'road' is moving at a constant speed beneath your feet without input from yourself. If you stop pedalling on a turbo, it stops...

    5% seems a bit much though, I've heard 1.5-2% which feels a bit more realistic.

    Having never used a turbo, I didn't know that vital difference between that an a treadmill - but what you say makes sense. You're probably right about the gradient too - it was some time ago that someone told me that, I can't even remember who told me, so its completely possible I've mis-remembered the figure too!! :)
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • Certainly with a Tacx VR trainer you can choose to weight the riding by increasing the motor's resistance before you start thereby mimicking road resistance. Beside that, and as others have said, the training can be more tailored and intense whereas, in my own case, with training on the road I've got 15 minutes of pootling and constant start/stop either end of a session to get onto clear roads.

    What I would also like to try on the trainer is a mass-loaded rear wheel as I think that would more closely mimic the inertia and deceleration felt on the road. With the trainer I find it can be very easy to spin up a gear or that momentum can be quickly lost as the motor's resistance changes can be stepped rather than smooth. Having a mass-loaded wheel acting as a flywheel should smooth out any anomalies.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    I find using a Turbo certainly harder going than being on the road, but as it's getting to the time of the year with less light at each end of the day and bad weather, I'll be getting the turbo out the garage fairly soon. The turbo I bought last year is one of these elasto-gel turbos with no resistance settings - just your weight on the back wheel, and you change gears on the bike to get more or less resistance. I find my average speeds similar to being on a flat road with similar effort. I find intervals the best way to cope with the boredom and it helps motivation if you have a Garmin, heart monitor and can watch a cycle race or turbo session video.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    My session yesterday was accompanied by 'are you being served?' And 'allo allo'. Not sure that it added anything to the session but it helped to pass the time.

    I find the turbo harder than the road for the equivalent effort. Really tough mentally to get through the grinding tedium and bucketing perspiration of it, and it all seems so pointless
  • jotkojotko Posts: 457
    I use trainerroad when I am on the turbo. If you do a structured workout scaled to your FTP like those in the trainerroad plans or one of the Sufferfest vids you will be working much harder than on the road, unless your regular rides are doing hill repeats, or intervals or something.

    You dont want to spend hours at a time on the turbo so you need to make the time count - just pedaling along is pointless, doing interval based stuff you can properly ruin yourself in an hour!

    Oh, and buy the biggest fan you can, it is invaluable.
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667
    Sufferfest videos for 1 hour are a killer and most likely worth more than an hour on the road in terms of training.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,690
    I used the turbo from Dec to April this year in preference to icy cold long rides and stuck to a fairly gruesome plan of 30,60,120 mins sessions, and at the first opportunity i went back out on the roads to finish my first Marmotte training, I would definitely say all the turbo worked, helped my CV fitness, smooth my CAD and kept me focused on my goal of finishing the event, and I did in a good time for the conditions and my age group (senior).

    It also had the advantage of being very easy to walk into the conservatory where my perm setting is and not have any worries about what to wear, which tyres, what route.

    boredom is the biggest problem
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 992
    I've a coach & use the turbo a lot. It is hard to beat it for giving quality workouts at the right intensity.
    I use a powermeter and my coach reckons a quality turbo session gives the same training benefit of a road ride in about 2/3 of the time of a road ride. I.e an 60 min turbo ride is as effective as a 90 min road ride. The key is the steady load on the turbo (e.g.60 min @250w) is more time efficient than the start stop ride on the road, which has disruptive effects like traffic, lights & hills etc.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    I don't like using a turbo, I was lashed with rain and wind yesterday but that was preferable to a session on the turbo, but I used one during the bad weather last winter and I felt better for it.
    I usually do an hour on high resistance and push to failure during the last ten minutes, my legs usually feel like they've done a couple of hilly hours at pace on the road.
  • supermurph09supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    If you are bored on the turbo you are doing it wrong.
  • jotkojotko Posts: 457
    If you are bored on the turbo you are doing it wrong.

    Definitely. Focussing 100% on not throwing up or passing out is not boring :lol:
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    There is no pleasure. The turbo is like a gym, you're stuck in one place surrounded four walls and you're losing the freedom that cycling brings, I'd rather be outside surrounded by snow and getting soaked by slush.
  • Bozman wrote:
    There is no pleasure. The turbo is like a gym, you're stuck in one place surrounded four walls and you're losing the freedom that cycling brings, I'd rather be outside surrounded by snow and getting soaked by slush.
    Ah you're a leisure cyclist, which is fine. :P

    When you're timetrialling you exist in a bubble as you're focused on achieving maximum effort much like you can be on a trainer. If you're more interested in convening with nature when you're out training then you're not concentrating on your maximising effort, which isn't to say getting out and about in the off-season doesn't have its place .
  • That's my issue really. I'm a leisure cyclist, I like to go fast, I like to get PR's on segments, but at the heart of it, it's about getting out into the countryside. I'm not sure if getting PR's and beating my mates is *that* important, however with darker mornings and evenings it means my cycling is restricted to Sunday's only, which isn't much good either.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,549
    Bozman wrote:
    There is no pleasure. The turbo is like a gym, you're stuck in one place surrounded four walls and you're losing the freedom that cycling brings, I'd rather be outside surrounded by snow and getting soaked by slush.
    Ah you're a leisure cyclist, which is fine. :P

    When you're timetrialling you exist in a bubble as you're focused on achieving maximum effort much like you can be on a trainer. If you're more interested in convening with nature when you're out training then you're not concentrating on your maximising effort, which isn't to say getting out and about in the off-season doesn't have its place .

    Last time I looked, this was the "Beginners" forum, not the "time-trial masochism" forum. Most of the people on here are "leisure" cyclists, don't use that like it's an insult and that the only purity is the desire to go fast, get PBs and to pound up and down dual carriageways on bizarre bikes. For most people, it's about enjoyment :roll:

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    Bozman wrote:
    There is no pleasure. The turbo is like a gym, you're stuck in one place surrounded four walls and you're losing the freedom that cycling brings, I'd rather be outside surrounded by snow and getting soaked by slush.
    Ah you're a leisure cyclist, which is fine. :P

    When you're timetrialling you exist in a bubble as you're focused on achieving maximum effort much like you can be on a trainer. If you're more interested in convening with nature when you're out training then you're not concentrating on your maximising effort, which isn't to say getting out and about in the off-season doesn't have its place .

    And who are you to mock me as a "leisure" cyclist, you may not be convening with nature and you might think that you're maximising your effort but you may also be achieving nothing for all of that focus and effort. :wink:

    I may not race but I hammer myself on every ride and push myself to the limit, don't ask me why I do it but I do and I've done that for twenty years, in that time I have never felt the need to compete against anything other than myself and the clock.
  • jotkojotko Posts: 457
    People cycle for lots of different reasons, beginners or not - getting out in the fresh air, social club runs, racing, time trialling, commuting, weightloss, general fitness, triathalon etc

    None of these reasons are any better or worse, but obviously pounding away on the turbo all winter only makes sense for some of them.

    I dont race or compete at all, but I like being able to keep my fitness (and hopefully improve it) through the winter without having to run the risk of ice on the roads and rolling the dice with traffic in the rain and wind on pitch black winter nights.

    It doesnt have to be boring - as I mentioned earlier, have a look at the sufferfest videos, they are excellent - http://www.thesufferfest.com/
  • diamonddogdiamonddog Posts: 3,368
    secretsam wrote:
    So: time is precious, I'm working away (no cycling potential), etc etc.

    Time to get the turbo out! BUT: what is the equivalent of (say) one hour's turbo riding in terms of road mileage? IE does one hour on the turbo equate to one hour on the road, or is it more / less????

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts as riding on the turbo's a bit boring, if I'm honest

    IMO miles are miles whether on the road or on the turbo it's all work so the turbo can be very beneficial. I find time on the turbo can be just as hard as time on the road if you structure it right.
  • supermurph09supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    Do people confuse boredom with pain? I was thinking about this thread the other night whilst recovering doing some intervals. There was a point where I thought I want to get off, that was pain induced not because I was bored! :)
  • diamonddogdiamonddog Posts: 3,368
    I never get bored on the turbo or on the road, haven't got the time working too hard. :)
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    I used to think turbo was a soft option for wimps who were too delicate to get out in the wind and the cold and the rain. Now I have one I think differently!
  • Turbo all the way with traineroad and a sufferfest vid playing to help with been stuck indoors with no view ,make the most of it when i cant get out on the open road , im in it to keep fit and need to train all year round i cant just sit about when theres snow or heavy rain on the ground . With a decent turbo set up it is exactly if not harder training than out on the road
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,549
    well, we have at least Tacx in common. Mine's a cheapie though, no VR - unless VR stands for "Virtually Redundant", which mine is at the moment (I'm away on work).

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
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