Trek Women
December 19, 2008

Reading: R.I.P

Trainer I am sitting here this morning, grudgingly setting up my bike on my indoor trainer.  Ice continues to fall from the sky - not rain, not snow but definitely ice.  There is about 1" of solid ice coating everything outside right now.

Setting up my trainer is quite the task - not because the setup is complicated or laborious - more because of the amount of work required to clear the space for the trainer.  We decided this year that after the new family room remodel, my trainer would be better suited to the small sitting room off of our bedroom.  Well, this sitting room only sees sitting when I am working because it doubles as my office/computer/filing area.  So, the labor comes in when I have to "re-file" everything.  I say re-file because my organizational system has evolved into a highly refined system of piles of papers all over the floor where I, and only I, know where everything is located. 

I will be the first, among many, many athletes I would guess, to dislike time in the trainer.  It's not even close to the same as riding outside.  It's completely boring.  I struggle to entertain myself long enough to get in a good workout.  Last winter, I discovered the 43 minute workout.  Why 43 minutes?  Because, 43 minutes is the exact length of a 1-hour TV show, minus the commercials, on DVD.  I would rent new TV shows from Blockbuster and would only let myself watch them if I did so on the trainer.  It was distracting enough but still mind (and rear) numbing to sit on that trainer and go nowhere. 

I'm not the only one searching for a way to entertain myself while spinning in place.  Over the past couple of weeks, two separate customers have come in to the bike shop and requested a reading rack to attach to their bikes to read books while on the trainer.  A reasonable request, I thought - I have such a rack - although the book reading hasn't been enough of a distraction for me.  But, after combing through various vendors catalogs and websites we have yet to find a way to obtain one.  And then, the idea was proposed by another employee - maybe reading is dead? 

I'll admit - I love reading but don't do as much of it in the solid, novel you can hold in your hands form anymore.  I read or leaf through magazines and training books.  I also read a lot of articles, blogs and news online now rather than in actual paper format.  Maybe everyone is so busy plugging in, that there is no demand for a rack that can hold a real book?  

So, on this icy Friday I ask for your opinions on two separate topics:  Is reading dead? and, What the heck do you do to keep yourself distracted while on the trainer?



1)Reading's not dead for me, but then again I'm old and have always read. But I agree with you - I think it's dying. Folks don't feel right unless they are multi-tasking, and reading real text severely limits your options. Antsy reader = bad reader.

2)Ahem! In my rather limited experience, television and music were the only viable options. TV seems to more completely and effortlessly occupy your senses. The right music can break a 43-minute workout into 14 tolerable intervals.

Posted by: Neil | Dec 22, 2008 2:20:59 PM

I don't think reading is dead; atleast I hope not. I still get into reading modes where I like to zone out with a good novel.

We're in the process of looking for a trainer. Which one do you have?

Posted by: everhark | Dec 22, 2008 2:21:14 PM

I hear you - it is boring! I keep it interesting by doing intervals.

I've never been able to read and work out at the same time. I'm awed by people at the gym who can use an elliptical and read a magazine at the same time. There's one guy who reads the morning paper while on the treadmill. I'm just not coordinated enough for that.

Lately, I've been downloading audio books to my iPod for distraction while traveling for work. If you get the unabridged version, a book is usually 6-8 hours. Why not buy a book and only listen to it when you're on your trainer?

Posted by: Laura Maclean | Dec 22, 2008 2:21:40 PM

I'm with you on the coordination thing. I've never understood how people get their eyes to focus while jogging or doing an elliptical. I can barely deal with folding a newspaper for easy reading when I'm sitting down, I can't imagine what I'd look like (or what bone I would break) trying to do it on a machine.

I was considering audiobooks - the kids and I are listening to The Chronicles of Narnia right now - maybe I should try that.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 22, 2008 2:27:09 PM

I love to read big print books while exercising. Most public libraries have a big print section full of best sellers and other good reads. Regular size print was too hard to read while riding my recumbent exercise bike or elliptical. The large print is easy to read, even when on the elliptical. I also like the idea of downloading audio books to an iPod, previously mentioned. In addition to reading, I watch an occasional movie and have even tried browsing on the internet using my laptop!

Posted by: Bette | Jan 2, 2009 10:59:05 AM

Interesting idea - I hadn't thought of the large print. You're right that a regular book is just too hard to focus on while riding. I went to the library yesterday and got a book out of the large print section and am going to give it a try. Thanks for the idea!

Posted by: Jen | Jan 6, 2009 7:08:16 PM

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