So let’s suppose that you don’t want to stop training in the cold and wet winter months, but you have no access to a nice indoor velodrome. In this case, you can ride an indoor trainer. It is also the cheapest way to get to know the wattage levels you maintain while cycling…
Riding the indoor trainer is fun! It is warm and cosy inside, you don’t need to put on all your fancy cycling equipment, you don’t have to make sure that you take the matching jersey and the matching socks, you don’t have to clean your bike after every ride, you will never have a flat tire, nor a broken spoke, you can always stop if you really feel the need (and without searching for bushes or trees), you don’t have to carry all the food in your jersey, you will never get lost on the road, there will be no headwind, no sidewind, no rain, no snow, no burning sun, no wheel-suckers. Just you and the bike, and the wattage level on the display :) You can listen to music without blocking out all the noises (or you can even block the noise of the trainer without risking your life with the use of in ear noise cancellation earphones…), you can watch TV or a DVD (or a BD) meanwhile doing your exercise, and so on. You see, it is so much fun!
Riding the indoor trainer sucks… And it sucks a lot. It is boring. Very monotone. It is too warm inside, so you sweat and there is no wind evaporating it (some people tend to use a fan, but then think of the noise again…), hence after one hour there will be a nice little lake below you (or a completely wet towel on your handlebars). If you do interval training, then the electromagnetic brakes are so loud during the high intensity parts, that there is no way you could watch TV in the meantime without loosing track of what is happening on the screen. You lose the feeling of speed, because even if you are pedaling with 40 km/h, you will be standing still in your room, with no trees passing by, no whistling sound of the air around you, no weak cyclists passed and wheel-suckers dropped… Non cyclists also tend to think you are crazy… But again, did I already mention, that it was boring???
But in my opinion, riding is still better than not riding :) So keep rollin’!