Ventilation when training indoors

Hi all,

For some (or most) indoor season hast started I’d assume. Same goes for me, having dusted off the indoor trainer last week. The first few sessions reminded me how much I miss outdoor riding and how uncomfortable indoor riding is. Well, lacking alternatives, I’ll just have to accept it I’m afraid.

Anyways, enough with the complaints and on to my question. How do you handle ventilation when riding indoors? Do you have a fan? If so, what can you recommend? What other tips/tricks/hacks do you have to manage the heat (or lack of airflow)?

I have the following tips, for you:

  • train in a not heated environment (garage, cellar, backyard under a shed…)
  • don’t use warm clothing
  • use a fan (like the simple ones with a stand, you use in your home during summer)
  • keep a towel to wipe off excess sweat

I personally train in my garage (with door open), at a temperature of 2° to 6° in the winter, wearing SUMMER SHORT SLEEVE jersey and bibshorts, with a fan at minimum speed pointing towards me.
The first 5 minutes I feel a bit cold, but then the comfort is perferct.
I obviously run into my home as soon I finish my training!

2 Likes

I have three fans running…a pedestal fan that comes over the top of the the screens in front of me (32" TV w/ a 24" screen above it) and then two Lasko fans on the floor, one on each side of me, hitting my chest.

All the fans are on a remote controlled outlet so they are switched on / off as needed during a ride. I can’t imagine needing more cooling than this setup…heck, I even have the fans on their lowest settings, so I am not even touching the potential of this setup.

Those of you training in unheated garages? I can only tip my hat…you are harder than I am.

2 Likes

I don’t do a winter indoor “season”–I ride outside all year round, unless there is actual ice and/or snow covering the roads–freezing and below temps OK, but in the case of iced roads: Indoors, no heater on, a simple wall mounted rotating fan to circulate the air, and summer bibs, light shirt–that’s it, but in addition to my aerobike (nope, not an indoor road bike “trainer”), I use a WaterRower for variety of pace and conditioning–my indoor season comprises of about 10 to 15 days scattered sporadically over the year, though I frequently use the WaterRower before or after outdoor riding.

I pop the window a bit, and use two fans. If I were to ride in the garage during a canadian winter, I would get frost bite

This autumn/winter I have added a second fan. I have found that placing the pedestal fan behind me really helps.

I also have a front fan which has it’s intake right next to a window. It’s nice to have the air blown from the front, but I really think the fan in back is cooling my body better.

May I ask which fans you use?

do you have an illness that makes it so the usual methods won’t keep you comfortable? then I suggest a walk-in freezer.

I use two fans. A ~18" pedestal fan behind me, and a 10" Vornado fan in front of me. I have the Vornado blow air at my chest, and the pedestal fan generally hits my back. Along with that, I crack a window. How much I crack the window depends on temperature.

I’m in a pretty dry environment now, but last year I was in a very humid winter, and my window kept freezing shut. So, I got around that by spraying ethanol on the window seal so it wouldn’t freeze. Don’t worry, my apartment was a rental. It’s probably fine.

Regardless of how you do it, you need to get your cooling setup sorted. Most estimates have human bodies at 20-25% efficient. This means that if you’re outputting a constant 250 watts to the bike, you’re producing an additional 750-1000 W of heat. Not to mention that the 250 W you put into your trainer also get put back into your room as heat. Conservation of energy and all. So, cycling indoors is akin to running a space heater, and you need to cool accordingly.

1 Like

@Sean_McCuen No no, thank god I’m perfectly healthy.

The reason I’m asking is, that I’m not happy with my current setup. Assuming that some other riders and especially indoor newbies might be interested in this, I figured this could become a nice little collection of potential indoor setups.

As for the usual methods - it’s a little difficult. I don’t have a garden, balcony, garage or shed and the basement is not an option. In our appartment I have to train in the living room area since there’s no other place available. So that eliminates the option of open windows (with outside temperatures below freezing). I was looking for fans, but haven’t found a solution I’m happy with. Again, I’m very constrained in terms of space and therefore can’t really buy anything large.

As you might have seen in another thread of mine, I’m in the process of rebuilding my MTB to a gravel/commuter combination. If the rebuild succeeds, I’ll use that bike to do some more outside riding in winter. But with the road bike I’m just not comfortable riding outside in sub-zero temperatures.

1 Like

c’mon man, I don’t know what to tell you. if you want to, you’ll figure it out.
go crazy, experiment.

Anything that helps you keep your body temp in normal operating range is the key. Too hot or cold and you will really suffer - and not in a good way. I keep my water bottle/s in the fridge so I’m drinking cool water during indoor training sessions. Not ice cold or anything which I think would be counterproductive. Minimal clothing as appropriate, and if you have compression gear that also seems to help wick sweat away from the skin to keep you cool. Fans move air across your skin, evaoporating sweat and keeping you cool.

Lasko carpet drying fans are a game changer. They go by other names in some places, but look like this.

2 Likes

Yes I have something very similar to this made by Cleva named the VacMaster AirMover. They are compact and super powerful.
Also have one of those small Honeywell fans which I have mounted to the wall. Useful to use in isolation when I don’t need the power of the carpet drying fan.

2 Likes

I use the Lasko fan with a variable speed adjuster that sits on my training desk:

1 Like

I second this type of fan

So the fan plugs into the controller and then the controller plugs into the outlet?

I wonder if I string two Lasko’s together through the side outlets if the controller would adjust the speed of both fans, or just the one it is directly connected to…I suspect just the one…

I was a complete and utter n00b and I did my first indoor FTP test without a fan. I figured it was chilly outside and my thermostat was set low, so it would be OK.

3 Likes

Interesting. Do you just set the Lasko fan speed to 3, then modulate with this controller?

I use a similar controller with a similar fan, and I change the fan setting depending on the season since I am in the garage that is cold in winter and hot in summer. For summer I have the fan on 3 and use the controller (in my case just a light dimmer, but I’m pretty sure those speed controllers are also triac based. I use this because I have it already.)
Some fans/blowers may not run ‘smoothly’ at lower speeds - one of mine makes more noise when I use the speed controller to slow it down. I don’t think that this will damage anything, but I don’t know that for sure.