8 Options for the Indoor Trainer

Global Ride

The Global Ride DVDs place you in some of the most beautiful places on earth to ride your bike, such as rolling hills of Hawaii, the high Alps of France and the Time Trial route from the Giro d'Italia.. There is also a series in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania including a criterium race and the infamous Dirty Dozen Hill climb. Videos include paceline work and threshold work, as well as many challenging climbs.

Each video has three coaching tracks from cyclist or industry leaders; this feature turns each DVD into three different rides. Global Ride DVDs may have the best music of all the video companies because of its connection to Cycling Fusion and their pre-cleared music library.

Epic Planet

Lovely rides through the country—you'll really feel like you are riding along with the cyclists in the Epic Planet videos. Locations include Mt. Baldy, California Wine Country, Beartooth Pass in Montana (known as one of the hardest hill climbs in the word), Texas Hill Country, Tucson's Mt. Lemon, and numerous other states. A dashboard on screen lets you know what is coming and what intensity at which to ride.

Endurance Films

Endurance Films was one of the first to take training out of the gym setting and on to the open road. Their Rides series includes some beautiful and challenging terrain. A dashboard shows you cadence, intensity and an optional voice over by a top cycling coach guides you through the workout.

The Sufferfest

Hard, fun, creative, hard, racing footage DVDs. Did I mention The Sufferfest DVDs are hard? Make sure to include one or two of these in your training quiver, especially if you race, but make sure you balance your workouts with others that are less driven.

Every single one of these sessions suggests an effort level of 10 out of 10 somewhere in the ride—after all, this IS a "suffer" fest. It's not really virtual riding like some of the others above, but the music is hard and driving and you will peel yourself off your bike afterwards.

Train Right

Carmichael Training System's Train Right videos are segments from actual races as well as a coach standing in front of you. You won't feel like you are in the ride like many of the other DVDs, but you will get solid coaching direct from the man himself, Chris Carmichael. Expect to work hard.


Coach Troy Jacobson almost single-handedly created this method of training indoors to specialized training video. There is always something cool about being the first. Jacobson, like Carmichael, is in the Spinervals video coaching you.

Streaming Digital Classes—a New Alternative

As previously mentioned, one of the advantage of the cycling class environment is having an instructor motivating you during your ride, especially on the more challenging segments. Now, you can stream digital indoor cycling classes directly from your own home and feel like you are one of the students in that class. This is a very new concept, and no one else is doing this with the quality of videos and production that you'll find at Cycling Fusion.

Their library includes just about every type of class -- base building, muscular endurance, threshold, technique improvement, VO2 max, tempo, etc. The overall cost is also less than purchasing a wide variety of DVDs to hold your interest.

What is the difference between some of the coached DVDs and the digital classes? Skilled indoor cycling coaches have the educational background of a cycling coach, but also the presentation skills of a motivational speaker. They know how to motivate an entire class, not just a rider or two. In addition, they know how to use the power of music, employing the beats, rhythm and changes in energy to emphasize what they are asking you to do. These combined skills make these digital classes a fun, engaging and effective alternative to indoor training at home.

Winter Training Program

Cycling Fusion also offers a 12-week periodized online training program that includes field tests, a structured progressive cycling training program, and even yoga, pilates and alignment classes targeted to cyclists. This comprehensive program can be done in the comfort of your own home, and is designed for everyone from the advanced beginner to the serious cyclists. It's possible to watch the sessions live or delayed. They start in early January, but they allow new sign-ups for those who are coming in late.

If you are a member of a bike club, the online Winter Training program may be a great way for your club to set training goals together. If you are planning a bike tour or a serious cycling event like Ride the Rockies next spring or summer, nothing will get you ready more than a structured periodized program like this. Two people on opposite coasts can make a plan to train together and hold each other accountable.

Whichever method you use to inspire yourself to ride at home and continue your training throughout the winter, the ultimate goal is to enter the cycling season this spring almost as fit as you were when you hung up your bike. There is no reason to have to use the first part of cycling season to catch up. No more excuses!

Ride on!

Jennifer Sage has been in the fitness industry for 30 years, and is a certified personal trainer, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a cycling coach and she has a degree in exercise science. She has been a fitness presenter all over North America for 15 years, including 12 years as one of the top Master Instructors for the Spinning? program, certifying instructors, creating workshops and presenting at conferences. In 2011, she founded the Indoor Cycling Association, which has quickly become the premier online educational resource for indoor cycling instructors.

In 2008 she wrote the eBook called Keep it Real, which is targeted at cyclists to teach them how to utilize indoor cycling classes in order to maximize their training time.

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