Trainer-tainment: Visual Stimuli

In 2015 we asked our community of riders what they do for entertainment while on the indoor bike trainer. 


As it turns out, about 58% prefer to watch TV shows or movies. Plus, we received many comments about people not watching movies per say, but sporting events. Take Darrin from Wisconsin for example, his favorite entertainment is any kind of Wisconsin sporting event – Packers, Brewers or Badgers. (On Wisconsin!)

And in case you were wondering, 23% prefer to use a virtual training software of some sort, such as CycleOps VirtualTraining, Zwift and the like. To round it out, 18% said music was their main preference, while zero percent wanted to sweat in silence (a result that is no surprise to anyone who has spent time on a turbo trainer).

With over 80% of our friends engaging in visual media of some type, we wanted to outline some of the most popular and most entertaining feedback we received.

Cycling and Sports Events

Ranking as the most popular visual medium, cycling videos and sports events are a definite crowd favorite. Of this, old Le Tour recordings and videos found on YouTube rule the roost. And it's no wonder – there's something exhilarating and motivating watching the best-of-the-best take on France's classic terrain.

"I normally use DVDs. I have a small LCD TV and portable DVD player hooked up in the basement that I use while I pedal on my CycleOps 300 Pro Indoor Cycle. I lean towards either WCP's pro cycling race DVD series to help me imagine that I am off the back of the peloton." – Mike, Illinois

Spectating sports events in general was another popular theme. 

"Since I started watching VU games on the indoor bike trainer, probably 4 years ago, I've entered the season in much better shape. The two hours of ride time is way more than I would ever consider beforehand. I end up praying, most times, that the games do not go into overtime." – Mike, New Jersey

Cycling on trainers while watching sports events

TV Shows and Movies

Those who didn't indicate sports or cycling related themes listed their current top picks for television shows and movies. Of the two, TV shows outnumbered movies by a 4:1 ratio – which makes sense considering the instant stream capabilities of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others.

Shows we saw a lot of on our list include Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad and House of Cards.

Of course, not everyone has an absolute go-to method for trainer-tainment. Erik of the Netherlands says it best, "Doesn't matter as long as I don't feel the pain!"

What Does Science Say?

While quite a bit of academic research has been done on the benefits of music while exercising, the opposite can be said for watching TV or movies. As this New York Times article indicates, each athlete is different. Personal trainers may make recommendations to stay away from heady dramas or to put the eBook away – but when it comes to getting exercise almost everyone acknowledges that any motivation to get moving is better than nothing.


Got something to add? Send us a message on Facebook and we'll add your request to this list.