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Indoor Trainer and Sweat

Old 11-21-19, 08:51 AM
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am0n
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Indoor Trainer and Sweat

Now that the cold months are upon me, going to set up my bike in the basement with the trainer. Looking for some additional advice on making sure the bike isn't destroyed in the process.

From reading, the Climbing Blocks are higher than Leveling Blocks, correct? So if my intent is to just level the bike and maybe secure the front tire (was using two pieces of wood, but then the tire turns), I should just go with the Leveling Block, sound about right?

I've read sweat is a big problem so suggestions are: Go shirtless, have a fan or two blowing on you... after that I've seen a few suggestions for protecting the bike. Sounds like buy a bunch of huck towels and drape one over each handle bar, over the headset, over the top tube and someone suggested sticking one in the back of your shorts to catch any back sweat that drips down. Then I've also read about saran wrapping stuff. What is that all about?

I've also read to not ride out of the saddle as it puts odd torques on the bike when mounted to the trainer. Sound about right?
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Old 11-21-19, 09:19 AM
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I think you're probably a bit more concerned than you need to be.

Your front wheel isn't going to turn too much on a trainer unless you're deliberately turning it. Mine just sits on the floor and I don't have any issue. Whether you need/want a riser or not will depend on the type of trainer you have (does it raise the rear wheel/part of the bike at all).

For sweat, I have something like this: https://www.modernbike.com/kurt-kinetic-sweat-guard plus a towel over my handle bars. But, even that is likely more than you need. DC Rainmaker has said he has never used any sort of towel or sweat guard and he rides indoors quite regularly. You definitely want fans and stuff to keep cool as you're not moving, so there's much less wind to cool you down indoors. Wind causes your sweat to evaporate which cools you down. Riding with no fans etc. will make it much easier to overheat.

Lots of people ride out of the saddle regularly. While I'd be a bit wary of doing an all out sprint where you're torquing the bike a lot, some out of the saddle riding is almost certainly fine.
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Old 11-21-19, 09:45 AM
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Riding with no shirt is not going to help, you are going to drip regardless. Fans definitely, also towels...yes draped over your bars and a sweat guard over your top tube. If you don't have anything over your bars (even if you wear gloves) you will sweat right through and your bar tape is going to get nasty and stink real quick. When you are riding hard your sweat drips all over the place, hence the need for protection. I made my own sweat guard for the top tube using a towel cut to the size I wanted because the ones you buy are too skinny and still allow sweat to get by.

If it were me, I would get a cheap bike you can put on your trainer because there is no benefit to using a good bike over a cheap trainer bike on a locked in trainer.
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Old 11-21-19, 10:12 AM
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or just go outside
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Old 11-21-19, 10:47 AM
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I drape an old towel over the handlebars and then gather/wrap the end closest to me and secure it with a wrap of electrical tape. As for the front wheel, I have a cheap plastic wheel holder thing, but a cinder block works fine.
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Old 11-21-19, 11:34 AM
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[/QUOTE]I didn't use a sweat guard on my carbon bike for my first 2 years with it on the trainer in winter. I corroded pretty much every aluminum part which was touching the carbon frame, so badly that they all had to be replaced. Also the paint was peeling. When I brought the bike in for a warranty check, the head mechanic said, "Oh, I see that this has been your trainer bike, hasn't it?"

Even using a big fan in a mostly unheated area and riding shirtless, I left quite a nice sweat puddle on the floor. I had the fan somewhat to one side so that most of the sweat blew off to one side, but still got corrosion. Evidently it doesn't take a real soaking to cause the problem.

I ride resistance rollers instead of a trainer, so I just throw my road bike on the rollers and go. Can't speak to trainer-specific issues.

I should also say that I've done long climbs with a tailwind where the sweat was dripping straight down off my nose onto the top tube, but that was a lot rarer than dripping on the bike while on my rollers.

A less expensive bike on the trainer is a good option, except that the fit and touch points should be identical.
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Old 11-21-19, 11:51 AM
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I use two box fans on full blast and a sweat guard and occasionally crack a window if doing hard intervals or zwift racing. Trying to minimize dripping since it is wasted cooling and causes corrosion as mentioned above
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Old 11-21-19, 12:19 PM
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CF + Al + sweat = all kinds of trouble. Make sure you wipe everything down and give a hit of WD-40 to drive out what you miss.
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Old 11-21-19, 12:27 PM
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Thanks.

For the outside comment, see my OP.

For the cheap bike options, this is my cheap bike (and only road bike =P), so maybe in the future if I really get into it I'll get a new one and this will become the beater, but until then this one has to also hold up.

Perks to using one of those thongs/guards versus just draping a towel over the TT and headset? Obviously the catch will keep the moist fabric off the bike as well, but I was told just wipe things down with baby wipes at the end (and I have a closet *full* of those, so easy thing to grab).

Anyone know anything about the saran wrap approach? Not saying I'll do it, but mostly curious. Is that to keep sweat out of your brifters? Or do you saran wrap your handlebars to keep the sweat from leaking through the tape? I did read that if you are going to use the trainer, to replace your tape (and clean your bars) at least once a year.

Last thing I am curious about, if you do use the trainer, are there any particular maintenance practices you should do more often than you might otherwise, like taking anything apart and cleaning/lubing it?
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Old 11-21-19, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by am0n View Post
Thanks.

For the outside comment, see my OP.

For the cheap bike options, this is my cheap bike (and only road bike =P), so maybe in the future if I really get into it I'll get a new one and this will become the beater, but until then this one has to also hold up.

Perks to using one of those thongs/guards versus just draping a towel over the TT and headset? Obviously the catch will keep the moist fabric off the bike as well, but I was told just wipe things down with baby wipes at the end (and I have a closet *full* of those, so easy thing to grab).

Anyone know anything about the saran wrap approach? Not saying I'll do it, but mostly curious. Is that to keep sweat out of your brifters? Or do you saran wrap your handlebars to keep the sweat from leaking through the tape? I did read that if you are going to use the trainer, to replace your tape (and clean your bars) at least once a year.

Last thing I am curious about, if you do use the trainer, are there any particular maintenance practices you should do more often than you might otherwise, like taking anything apart and cleaning/lubing it?
Wiping is certainly better than not wiping, but I'd think that some salt would remain. Better to keep it off. Same with towel wrapping. I like my suspended sweat guard. Seems to do the trick. It's true that these things are narrow but it seems to protect what needs it.

Don't know anything about Saran wrap effectiveness. I think it's important that a dual use bike be quick to convert from one use to another.
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Old 11-21-19, 02:45 PM
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Maybe open a window and/or door to let in that cold winter air...
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Old 11-21-19, 05:48 PM
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You need as many fans as you can get, whether you're going to sweat or not. But I wouldn't worry about the bike too much. People drip in sweat outside, and ride in the rain too. The advice you have so far is pretty good.

A good base layer, too.
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Old 11-21-19, 06:10 PM
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Why is sweat an issue for the bike? Am I missing something. Is it the salt in sweat? That's not going to cause any corrosion on any parts. Not even close. Yeah, a pool of sweat on the floor is pretty gross. Drop cloth on the floor and surrounding. Fan. Towels. Seems pretty common sense to me.
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Old 11-21-19, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Why is sweat an issue for the bike? Am I missing something. Is it the salt in sweat? That's not going to cause any corrosion on any parts. Not even close. Yeah, a pool of sweat on the floor is pretty gross. Drop cloth on the floor and surrounding. Fan. Towels. Seems pretty common sense to me.
Uh....Why Does Your Bike Stink?
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Old 11-21-19, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Yeah, pretty gross. But still not going to damage the alloy/carbon bar or any other part. Maybe some small parts in shifter if the sweat manages to get inside...but probably not there either. Wipe it clean after use, the same way you'd do if you were at the gym. Done and done.

Road salt from riding outside in the winter is much more damaging to your bike than your sweat.
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Old 11-21-19, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Yeah, pretty gross. But still not going to damage the alloy/carbon bar or any other part. Maybe some small parts in shifter if the sweat manages to get inside...but probably not there either. Wipe it clean after use, the same way you'd do if you were at the gym. Done and done.
Yes it does. I have seen it.
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Old 11-22-19, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by am0n View Post

I've read sweat is a big problem so suggestions are: Go shirtless, have a fan or two blowing on you... after that I've seen a few suggestions for protecting the bike. Sounds like buy a bunch of huck towels and drape one over each handle bar, over the headset, over the top tube and someone suggested sticking one in the back of your shorts to catch any back sweat that drips down. Then I've also read about saran wrapping stuff. What is that all about?
My bikes have survived 13 winters and had tons of exposure to road salt, snow, ice, rain and all kind of nasty road sprays...and you're paranoid about your bike getting damaged from a little bit sweat ??....Saran wrapping ??, you've got be joking.
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Old 11-22-19, 05:42 AM
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I'm a sweat hog, but my indoor trainer (Wahoo Kickr Snap) is in our unfinished, unheated basement which never gets above 65, and is lower in the winter. The humidity level had been kind of high, but earlier this year I put in a high efficiency water heater that uses a heat pump and is essentially air conditioning the basement to heat the water - humidity down there is now about the same as the rest of the house and cycling is less sweat inducing - a nice by product of lower electricity use to heat the water!

I have a high volume floor fan at about a 45 degree angle to the bike and that keeps me cool and seems to blow any sweat drops to the side of the bike - generally no sweat on the top tube or the floor below the bike, none on the bars. Just a bike on the "leeward" side of the bike. When I do a spinning class at my gym, where they use lower volume ceiling fans, much more sweat on the bike and on the floor below.


Good practice for outdoor biking in a quartering headwind, too...
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Old 11-22-19, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by I.B.Roots View Post
Maybe open a window and/or door to let in that cold winter air...
If only it were that simple lol I open my basement window to get into the mid to low 50's and I still run 3 fans (2 lasko pros, the defacto gold standard for indoor training, and a lasko cyclone which isn't as good) and I'm still sweating from the effort. Don't get me wrong, the fans help big time for my core and the sweat evaporates pretty well there, but my head sure gets sweaty. Just for context, and interval where I'm doing 260w is giving off 3 times as much in heat (780w)

I keep a towel handy and during rest intervals wipe the bike as I go along. If I'm dripping a bit more than usual I just drape my hand towel over the stem but I'm usually not and can just wipe my brow.
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Old 11-22-19, 10:12 AM
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as already said, overthinking this
towels and fans then clean your bike and area afterwards
Which bike and trainer are you using? Wheel blocks are pretty cheap. No reason to build one, also propping the front wheel to simulate climbing probably isn't a good idea unless your trainer is designed for it.
If you want to get off the saddle, ride outside. Practice your spinning technique and improve cadence inside. When you get the next level of serious indoor training, consider upgrades as feasible.

I have a smart Kinetic trainer for Zwifting and prefer it to the decked out Wahoo Kickr with Climb and Headwind.
The Wahoo to me, feels too rigid though the direct drive feature is nice. Though it's probably the most popular setup with the serious riders in my group.
I'd like to get rollers but just don't have room along with the treadmill.
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Old 11-22-19, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
I'd like to get rollers but just don't have room along with the treadmill.
If you decide to get them in the future, these are the ones to get. Smart power ANT+, BLE.

www.insideride.com
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Old 11-22-19, 12:23 PM
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Regarding the block, was more to know what to get. All I want to do is level the bike, so I'll probably get that $18 cycleops one. There are cheaper, but seem less robust, unless someone here can vouch for one that is durable. Intent isn't to simulate climbing.

I have a cycleops Mag+. Dumb trainer, I'll use Rouvy for virtual power just as a metric for training. I say training, but it'd probably only be twice a week. Thought is to use it for warming up the legs (have a torn meniscus, so trying the strengthening approach before surrendering to surgery as a literature search suggests surgery may eliminate short term problems at the expense of early onset osteoarthritis) and to HIIT, single leg pedaling and high cadence work. My goal isn't to race, just get strong enough to ride with a friend without holding them back too much.

Sounds like set up the fan, maybe grab a second, towels to cover as much as possible and then baby wipe everything after. Any benefit to wearing gloves? The basement is cool and I have a dehumidifier running all the time.
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Old 11-22-19, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Yeah, pretty gross. But still not going to damage the alloy/carbon bar or any other part. Maybe some small parts in shifter if the sweat manages to get inside...but probably not there either. Wipe it clean after use, the same way you'd do if you were at the gym. Done and done.

Road salt from riding outside in the winter is much more damaging to your bike than your sweat.
did you look at the link i posted? Or just google sweat corrosion on trainers, people have damaged bars, stems, even BB areas on aluminum frames from sweat

the damage is most common under bar tape where it can't be wiped off and is allowed to sit and not evaporate as quickly
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Old 11-22-19, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
did you look at the link i posted? Or just google sweat corrosion on trainers, people have damaged bars, stems, even BB areas on aluminum frames from sweat

the damage is most common under bar tape where it can't be wiped off and is allowed to sit and not evaporate as quickly
I'm shocked. ...And these people should just get outside to ride.
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Old 11-22-19, 06:48 PM
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On the Cycleops trainer I always wear a wicking fabric t-shirt, bandana around my forehead, and keep a towel nearby to wipe my face, hands, forearms, etc. And I have a tall oscillating fan running. Feels more comfortable when the sweat evaporates rather than dripping down my torso.

It doesn't feel like I'm sweating much but I'll go through a 24 oz bottle of water per hour and the towel will be soaked. Good evaporation makes it much less uncomfortable.

Ditto, avoiding letting sweat sit on the bike, especially the bottom bracket, stem, top tube, etc. I've seen some otherwise good bikes ruined that way. You can always tell when someone's older classic steel bike or their first aluminum or carbon bike was relegated to trainer duty. Many folks neglect routine wipe downs and it shows.

OTOH, my worst habit is washing my outdoor bikes only once a year, whether they need it or not. Hey, that 30 minutes could have been spent riding. I'll regularly maintain the drivetrain -- clean chain, chainrings, freewheel/cassette -- but I tend to ignore the frame until someone scowls at my bike or says something.
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