Living in an inhospitable place like northern Canada in the winter means that the trainer becomes your only option when you want to continue using your cycling legs. In lots of places, the weather is bad and you might have to ride the trainer for a few weeks, and then you can return to outdoor riding even if its a bit cold. Here, you might have to ride it for several months!
I've tried the videos, watched movies, pedaling next to a friend; all with the same result. It sucks. I've found that spin classes are the best way to ride a bike indoors because the instructors are usually upbeat and motivated to make everyone have a good sweat. But riding my bike is about so much more than just the exercise. It's about the scenery, the fresh air, the rush of descending hills, and the hard climbs. In a spin class, its about sweating your ass off and getting a good workout for 60 minutes. Then you have to get in a freeeeeezing cold car and slide home.
When it comes to commitment and riding a trainer I just don't have it. I recently read Phil Gaimon's book, Procycling on $10 a day, and marveled at the commitment the pros have to riding so much for 11 of the 12 months on the calender, including 4 or 5 hours on a trainer. That would kill me or I would go insane. I also know a guy who trained indoors for the Ironman in Hawaii. He had to train for the bike portion on a trainer all winter, and his training had to be done starting at 4:00 am in the morning. To prepare for a 112 mile bike ride at race pace that means he had to ride 3-4 hours in the cold dark basement of his house several days a week. He also had to find time to swim and run (on a treadmill or an indoor track) to train for the 2.4 mile swim and the 26.2 mile run. I admire it, but I also think it borders on crazy ... no offence.
Which brings me to my most recent revelation. I need to move somewhere else. I have been in the great white north for most of my 40 years. But I've also had the chance to live in several of the southern states during the internship portion of graduate school, and visit many other locations around the world. I've always said that the really nice places are packed full of people for a reason, and Canada is empty because it's f@#*~%g frigid. Don't get me wrong, I love my country and all of the wonderful things here; but, if we ever get a chance to annex some small territory that's much warmer, I'll move faster than Mark Cavendish can sprint.
I hate the trainer and love to be outdoors. I would ride my bike 12 months of the year if I could. Yes, I know there are lots of other things to enjoy like XC and downhill skiing, windsurfing, fly fishing, etc. However, I think I can find the perfect spot where I can do both almost all year round. If I do, I'm confident that my family will follow me, and be grateful that we don't have to wear parkas, snow boots, long underwear, gloves, hats and snow pants for half of the year. No more snow tires, frozen windshield wipers, or shoveling snow. And don't misunderstand me here, this isn't a grass is always greener scenario. It is truly inhospitable when you can literally freeze your fingers, toes, or nose walking to the corner store to get milk. It is unbearable when you have regular snow storms similar to the one experienced by Buffalo (we're just better prepared because it's normal). It is not fun to freeze your ass off between November and April.
I think I would love going to the cold mountains to ski, but then enjoy going back to the temperate city to do everything else. I'm going to need help with this. I need anybody out there to send me your suggestions of where to live. I promise it's between you and I in case you think everyone will follow me and ruin this great hidden gem. Here are the requirements: weather to bike in year round, mountains to ski at, opening for a job - unfortunately, affordable cost of living, low crime rate, and some clean lakes and rivers nearby. Easy, right? Send me your ideas, please!