The Road to Cycling Recovery Lies Inside My Office


I love cycling on my Trek Domane road bike.

Cycling’s been a little limited lately, though. I wrote a few weeks back about my recent surgical experience. Removing a prostate, even when using less invasive methods, still means serious abdominal surgery. That meant three to four weeks of physical inactivity —  particularly riding. I vowed prior to the surgery, however, that I’d be back in the saddle within a few weeks.

I knew I couldn’t just hop on the bike and go for a twenty-mile ride. So I planned carefully, deciding to start with easy 15-minute bouts on the Domane. I also needed the ability to bail in case I experienced any serious pain or side effects. So instead of riding in our gorgeous Silicon Valley spring weather, I rode in my office, using a combination of a CycleOps Magnus Pro indoor trainer, my Domane 5.2 with a different rear wheel, and the Zwift virtual cycling app.

Cyclops Magnus with Trek Domane 5.2 for Indoor Cycling

The Magnus represents the modern generation of connected trainers. I mount the rear wheel slightly off the floor, locked in place by the Magnus assembly. The bike tire turns a flywheel which in turn activates an electric resistance motor. The CycleOps includes Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, which means it interfaces with computers and Garmin-compatible training devices (like my Garmin Edge 810).

The Bluetooth connectivity enables me to connect the trainer to my PC. I use a virtual training app called Zwift, which puts the rider in a 3D virtual world specifically for cycling, as you can see in the screenshot above. Zwift offers a lot of capability; you can use if for serious training, virtual racing, and goal setting. Zwift not only receives data from the connected trainer but also can feed information back. If I started climbing a virtual hill, the resistance offered by the flywheel automatically increases, simulating the effort needed to climb.I simply wanted to use it to alleviate the boredom of indoor riding plus keep track of time on the bike. I’d used Zwift for indoor riding during our recent, very wet winter.

Domane mounted on Magnus for indoor cycling

This time, though, I’m using Zwift to gradually ramp up my cycling time. I just set the app for free riding and started with 15-minute rides, then 20, and most recently 25. Once I have a handful of half-hour or forty minute indoor rides, I’ll take the bike on the road once again. The combination of CycleOps Magnus plus Zwift turned out to be an invaluable tool in my return to normalcy.

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