Pain Cave Season: How To Share A Single Trainer With The Whole Family


It’s great having a spouse and kids who love to ride. Most of the year, a family bike ride is a treat, especially when it leads to a treat; who would say no to an ice cream ride? But when winter rolls in and most riding is indoor, it can be a bit of an organization and scheduling nightmare to get everyone on the trainer.

The easy answer is to get an indoor bike like the Wahoo Kickr Bike or Wattbike Atom. But like most easy answers, it’s more a question of funding. Dropping $3,000 or more isn’t exactly in everyone’s budget these days (or any day), and availability on a lot of these high-end bikes is really spotty. So how do you share an indoor trainer with the whole family?

Before you even start with the physical infrastructure, it’s all about scheduling. Get everyone with a vested interest in riding together at the start of the week and talk; who rides seven days a week, and who only needs an hour? Who works early, who has school late, and who can slip in a lunch ride? Put everyone’s time slot on a calendar, and if that slot is missed, they may be out of luck, or at least at the mercy of others to fit in their next ride.

Next, it’s all about the bike. Odds are having one bike on the trainer isn’t going to work if you have a wide array of rider heights. If you can share one ride between two people, though, take time to mark the small adjustments like seat height to make sure everyone can get their fit dialed in. Even having things like seat height and fore and aft a few millimeters off can lead to nagging injuries or even something more severe.

If you can share a bike, you’ve also got to disinfect that thing. Just like at the gym or spin studio, make sure everyone is in the habit of wiping down the whole bike every time they finish up a ride. Not only will it help kill the bacteria on your handlebars, brakes, and saddles, it can help reduce damaging rust caused by the salt in your sweat. It’s also a good idea to let your fan blow on the bike and entire area for a while once you’re done, too.

If you are switching bikes, store them safely. We use our Wheelie Mount, but hang the bike through the stays to keep the derailleur from leaning against the wall if you have a wheel-off trainer. With a wheel-on trainer, it’s even easier to just use the front wheel. If you do remove your rear wheel for your trainer, grab a Wheel Tree to keep everyone’s wheel raised and safe.

Finally, maintenance. Keep a tool box or a Hot Box close by to store rags and chain lube, plus a chain gauge. Trainer miles can add up especially fast, and you can save yourself a lot of money by keeping up with your drivetrain maintenance.

What does your pain cave look like? Share yours with us!