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What to wear to ride indoors

Tips from two turbo training veterans...

Even with a good cooling system cycling indoors is guaranteed way to crank up your body heat. What to wear for your date with the turbo is a conundrum for all indoor cyclists. The right clothing won’t necessarily keep you cool but it can keep things comfortable and prevent you sitting in a puddle of your own sweat.

The experiences of two turbo trainer veterans will shed some light on this solo cycling endeavour.

Long-distance time trialist Chris Hall takes to the turbo to ensure quality workouts aren’t ruined by bad weather, mechanicals or any other unforeseen circumstance. Chris mixes his sessions up between short and hard 45 minute sessions or long 2-3 hour sessions. Either way his set up is crucial to not only enjoying his time on the bike but getting to most from his workout.

Chris Hall: “On my first few turbo sessions I used to wear as little as possible but the sweat ran straight off onto my bike so now I tend to wear my regular cycling gear. I look for a lightweight cool-feeling jersey and bib shorts with a low cut bib, breathable mesh and thin, smooth bib straps. I’m particularly fond on bibs without seams reduce any sweat-irritation.

“I’m fussy over my what’s on my hands and feet too. Performance shoes that I can easily adjust mean I can ratchet up the tension for hard sessions or dial in some comfort when the pressure is off. During long sessions gloves prevent my hands and handlebars from getting too sweaty and with a small bit of toweling on the thumb there’s something extra to wipe my face with.”

Endurance rider Katie Butler keeps her base endurance fitness up with the turbo over winter, ready for big spring and summer miles. With four indoor cycling sessions per week Katie can afford tempo and threshold sessions varying in time, intensity and levels of sweatiness.

Katie Butler: “During the winter indoor riding makes up the majority of my training, especially when the weather is bad or if I’m pushed for time. I’ll do between 1-1.5h of steady riding per session, mixing it up between riding easy on the hoods or harder on the drops.

“Although I have a ton of riding gear I have my favourite pieces for indoor riding. I prefer to go for shorts rather than bibs when I’m riding indoors because I don’t like having sweaty straps on my shoulders, especially if I’m up and down in the saddle.

“I’ll use a sports bra with a thin, moisture-wicking, comfortable jersey on top to prevent too much sweat run-off. A patterned jersey can disguise some hideous looking sweat patches too!

“I’ve found gloves can make a difference because they stop my sweaty hands feeling slippery on the hoods.

“I’ve recently started using shoes with a BOA system and I love the adjustability they offer. When my feet get hot and expand I can loosen the dials to make them more comfortable.”

Whilst riding indoors can’t replicate the wind-in-your-hair feeling of being outside, there is one big benefit: you’re away from the castigating eyes of your fellow riders. Unless of course your reflection in the mirror is your own worst enemy!