Is anyone else using the BKool trainer?
Living in Maine, riding in the winter can be a challenge. It is easier now, than it was years ago. Studded tires.. better clothing options.. Fat bikes.. all have made getting out in the winter "easier". I also have many hours on a variety of trainers, to put your bike on and ride inside. They can be rather mind numbing.
Last winter.. I put in a lot of hours outside. Riding at 10 below zero… or at 32 in freezing rain, wind strong enough to blow you off the road. Riding on very snowy roads. Most of it I did enjoy. Some of it was stupid and unsafe.
Last year we started selling the Bkool trainer and simulator. This year my wife and I each got one. We absolutely love it. [ I still love riding in the snow on the Fat Bike, but this has been our worst winter for that… not much snow.]
The trainer is similar to others in that it is a device you put your bike on. It is electronic so it is much quieter compared to the older wind trainers. You "hook" it up to your computer. Through bkool's site, there are courses. You get to ride along on the courses and the device varies the resistance on the hills. It also varies the resistance.. for wind and or drafting. You can also race [or ride with] anyone else that has one of these. There are hundreds of thousands of courses on it. Some are just a map where you follow the route. More have 3D and video options. Some of the videos are incredibly scenic.
On the screen you see the race.. you and the other riders.. at the bottom of the screen is the course profile.. [hills and where you are on them.. as well as where everyone else is] It also shows your data. Speed, current and ave. Power, current and ave. I have a seperate ant cadence sensor..and an ant pulse monitor.. and that data is showed. On the lower right it shows you what percent grade you are climbing and the next up coming grade. It also has a moving line so you know how quickly the current grade is going by.
At any given time there are many live rides to choose from and join. You log into the simulator and scroll through. One can also choose and schedule your rides yourself. Generally a ride has a 10 minute warm up.. so people will see it and join in. Of course you can join a ride at any time. A ride that is already going on.. you can start from the beginning, or pop in behind the last rider.
One can also put in ghost and robots. Ghost are people that have ridden the route before. They will just redo it as they rode it before. You can use them to draft.. or to help pace yourself off. Bots, there are different kinds, with different styles.. skills and personalities. Some will sort of stick with you. Some are really really strong climbers. Some learn how you ride.. and then just attack the heck out of you. Other's don't like being near you.
Oh on the upper left is a partial list of where you are in the race.. how far you are behind the next person ahead of you.. and how far they are from the next. The same for who might be coming up from behind. [or if you are putting distance on them]. It of course constantly shows your elapsed time and distance.. remaining distance, and estimated time to finish.
You are also given a fitness ranking. hmm I think 40 different rankings. One's ranking will alter what shows up for live rides for you to choose from. Also if you are scheduling the ride and putting Bots in.. they are more tuned to your fitness level.
One can also put in courses. Link your Garmin to BKool.. and any ride you do outside will become a course. Automatically. Have a video camera? You can also include that [although in that case you might have to do some work.
There is so much going on, that I have not even remotely been bored. So far my longest ride has been about 2.5 hours. Although it was a combo of … I think 4 different ride.
It is so much more efficient. Riding outside takes a LONG time to dress and get ready. This.. easy. We have set up an area of our gym. In our case we purchased two new desk top computers. and set up a special area. So everything is set up… so you just turn it on and go.
Through our shops [2 locations] we have 3 group rides a week. [Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoon,, right after closing] We will have a dozen or so riders [along with ghosts and bots]. Some of these people have gathered at a shop to ride together.. the rest of us are each comfortably in our home.
I find I can and will push myself so much harder than I would outside.. especially this time of year. One can of course ride easier.. but for me.. that has been hard.