How to Make Your Bike a Stationary Bike

When the weather turns cold and stormy, your bicycle doesn't have to go on sabbatical in the garage. Instead, turn it into a stationary bicycle that you can ride from the comfort of your living room. For those who have spent lots of time and money on getting their cycles to fit just right, this is the preferred way to work out indoors, in lieu of using a clunkier, less-tuned stationary bicycle. You have two options here; either place your entire bicycle on a flat roller track, or suspend the back wheel on a bike trainer device.

Close-up of the back wheel of a bicycle. (Image: sergeyryzhov/iStock/Getty Images)

Bicycle Rollers

Step 1

Choose a location in your home near an empty wall and relatively little clutter. Bicycle rollers will need a space at least one foot longer than your bicycle, and an area about eight feet wide -- providing you enough space to fall without falling on anything. Ideally, the area will have some type of padding or carpeting to cushion your fall, but you could also place a rug or mat adjacent to the roller.

Step 2

Set one of the longest sides of the roller about 6 inches from the wall, so you'll be able to hold on to the wall when you need to steady yourself.

Step 3

Measure the distance between the two axles on your bike. This is your bicycle's "wheelbase." Set your bike next to the wall, in between the roller device and the wall, so you can use it to position the rollers in the next step.

Step 4

Slide the back, center and front rollers along the track so that the front roller is just under the front tire's axle. During movement, the front tire will roll along the top of the front roller. Depending on the model of roller you have, you may have markings on your roller device, indicating the correct location of the front, center and back rollers in relation to the wheelbase. In general, though, the center and back rollers should each be under the back axle and about two to three inches to the front and back of it, allowing the back wheel to rest on the top and inside of both rollers equally.

Step 5

Set the bike on the rollers and mount the bicycle. Place your hand on the wall as you begin pedaling at a medium pace. It may take some time to gain the balance you'll need for mastery of roller cycling, so don't be surprised if you fall off the bicycle a few times. That's where the soft landing place will really come in handy.

Bike Trainers

Step 1

Set your bike trainer in a location with about six feet of space lengthwise and about four feet widthwise.

Step 2

Remove the back axle of your bicycle, either by loosening the bolts with a wrench or by loosening the quick-release lever and unscrewing the quick-release knob on the opposite side.

Step 3

Set your back wheel in between the two sides of the trainer, with the back side of the tire near the trainer's roller.

Step 4

Hold the bicycle up so that the back axle holes are aligned with the horizontal metal spikes on the inside frame of the trainer. Then slide the trainer's axle "skewer" through the axle hole of your back wheel.

Step 5

Tighten the tensioning knobs on either side of the trainer frame, thereby securing your bicycle to the trainer.

Step 6

Adjust the roller near the back tire so that it touches the tire.

Step 7

Mount the bike and cycle at a medium pace to try out the tension and the overall comfort. Since this type of trainer has stabilizing bars, you won't have nearly as many balance issues as you would with the roller-type device. However, it may take some time to get used to riding this way, so take it slow at first.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape

  • Wrench

Tip

Both rollers and trainers work better with a slick road-like tire. If your bike has mountain bike tires or other rough-tread tires, replace them with a smoother set of tires for indoor use.

Warning

Both types of rollers are going to get very hot when you use them, so avoid touching the rollers during and directly after use.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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