The snow has not yet fallen (though we are told it is imminent), so I was surprised to hear from not one but two cyclist friends in the last two weeks that they had been riding in their basements. Subterranean riding runs a much wider gamut than it used to, of course. Back in the day (a point in time that doesn’t actually exist), you could ride rollers (for the Euro-inclined) or a static trainer. You could do so while listening to music, or you could do it while watching television, preferably and typically the replay of one of the Classics or the Tour, envisioning yourself in amongst the peloton.
You don’t have to envision much anymore. Zwift, Peloton, etc. will put you there, virtually, digitally, but also very engagingly. It has been the most astonishing to see which friends, perhaps formerly of the purist variety, have flocked to which new form of basement suffering, because, in the end, it’s all still pretty awful. It has also been interesting to see some of my non-cycling friends adopt one of these new technologies out of nowhere, becoming virtual cyclists before they have their first proper road bike.
I remain, for a guy called Robot, pretty low tech. I’m space limited and underwhelmed by most of the activities that transpire indoors. I have a trainer. I put a towel over my head and listen to music loud enough that I can’t hear myself think, and I crank out as many minutes as I can. I do this only when the roads are iced over and the snow in the woods prohibits even the bite of studded tires. Don’t do what I do. It’ll leave you slow, moody, and roundly dissatisfied.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what is the nature of your indoor riding experience? Do you skip it altogether, braving whatever elements you must? Do you keep it simple with just rollers or trainer? Do you go all the way with the latest technology? Do you have hard deadlines about what time of year is basement time vs. outdoor time? Or do you switch back and forth as circumstances evolve? Unrelated, do you think Bernard Hinault ever rode in his basement?