My reply might not fit the desired answers but I'll give you what I have.
You have a lot of good suggestions for the Sparks People.
There are many types of trainers and they all have a purpose. Pick the one that fits your needs, a trainer is worthless unless you use it. They can be boring and for that reason you need to discover a method to keep you interested.
A smooth rear tire is pretty much required. Those knobby tires will require ear plugs no matter how quiet your trainer is.
A specific training tire? It's nice if you can afford one, don't ride it on the road, they are usually a yellow color and really slippery on the road. Save your junk tires for this purpose. I grab old racing tires that have sidewall cuts, put a patch under the slit and ride them all winter, they are worthless on the road.
Keep your tires clean and inflated. Every session I clean the tires off with a mild cleaner, inflate, and check tension.
A spare wheel, nice if you only have one bike or want to get outside on a nice day. It's a very good thing to have but not necessary. Some people have trainer bikes that are old and eaten up with sweat. So remember this, clean off all the sweat every time you ride indoors. Use towels or some method to protect the bike from dripping sweat, it will eat the bike up. Little fan goes a long way, or open a window.
Fluid or magnetic??? Whatever meets your needs. Make a list of your considerations, ride a few in a good bike shop, bring your IPod and see if you can hear it over the noise.
Been riding inside during the winter since the 1960's. One of my favorite workouts is still the rollers. I had the 1st version of the RacerMate with the squirrel cages, loud but still a workout. I still use an old Cat-eye as it's stable.
Finding used trainers is pretty easy. Check the net, online stores, Local Bike Shop, used bike websites, ebay, Crag's list. Check with a local bike club or race team, there is always someone wanting to sell the older stuff and get the newest. Good deal for you.
Being motivated! The DVD's are good. Watching TV works. The computrainer is nice to challenge you or study the biofeedback. Indoor training can be mindless or take great concentration, your choice.
Every October for the past 40+ years I evaluate my last cycling season and come up with a plan for the next year. I came off of several surgeries the last few years so I need to work on my areas of weakness.
November I enjoy riding every chance I get even at night with a light. Once the snow fly's and the roads are icy I'm inside. Often I ride easy to the gym and do some heavy strength training. I will core train, do balance work, and a spinning class twice a week. This is a fun time to wind down after the season.
December, a little spinning, increase intensity with strength work. Better cut calories or pack on the weight.
January, lots of flexibility work, functional fitness, corework, spinning, weight training and lower body strength focus on all smaller muscle groups, Isolated Leg training indoors, Spin scan on the computrainer. Keep HR in lower zones max 80%, usually 60 to 70% 5 to 6 weeks. Serious calorie cutting here and should get me to my goal weight.
February 2nd week to Mid March! I crank up the aerobic and power interval work. Short duration and high intensity. By the end of the 6 week period I'm racing the little man on the computrainer at pretty high watts but keep duration to under 45 minutes. Keep up with the Flexibility and Corework. Strength training focus will be on higher reps, lower weight, and more sets. I will try to get in 2 hours a week of rollers by the end of this 6 week period. I will do about 10-12 hours of aerobics a week max. Not all on the bike. HR will be at the 70% or less with some intervals up to 95% (10%). No calorie cutting but want to maintain (+/- 2 lbs) and eat accordingly.
Mid March-May, should be on the road by then doing base miles is easy gears. Target in the gym will be on Flexibility, Corework, lower body high reps with 1 sec concentric motion, 2 sec isometric, and 4 second eccentric motion, a killer. Upper body, low reps 8-10, 2 to 3 sets and dumbbells on BOSU for balance. This is my last 6 week cycle to cut calories before the peak cycling season. I try never to bonk and might want to get down South for a week of base miles in nice weather.
May-June, Back off on the strength training at the gym, keep up the corework and flexibility and use the gym as recovery. The aerobic work on the bike intensity goes up. I try walking an easy 2 to 3 miles to get loose most mornings. I will start doing intense intervals and climbing. I burn more calories and will increase intake to maintain my weight. During this period you can lose a lot of weight and suffer for the season. The same thing can happen end of November-December as you must cut back on food or you gain a lot of weight.
June to October, enjoy riding and don't forget the gym. This should be my best year since 2005 and all the past appointments with the bone saw.
Tools, bikes can be complex, but look easy. You have to be careful and can break component if you over tighten, note the torque specs. Keep it clean and adjusted. You will learn by reading or taking a class. The Local Bike Shops and Bike Clubs often offer classes. You will learn.
Sorry, for the long version. It's Christmas and I'm going to get on the trainer now that I'm motivated.
Thanks for asking!
| current weight: 192.0