A guy I know (Michael Freiberg) who had an idea!
I do not know where that idea stemmed from, (purely because I am not interested in the background guff), but the result of that idea is a cycling training device to rival any and quite possibly surpass anything out there in the marketplace.
You can find out all about the AIRhub at http://www.terraindynamics.com.au.
On their page you will hear from Freiberg and the likes of Elite professionals Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) and Nathan Haas (Team Dimension Data), yes I read those bits, about how the hub worked. They sing its praises.
For me though, hearing from two of the fittest blokes in the peloton is nice, but let’s be honest, none of us really have a clue what hard cycling is when this calibre of rider is comparing notes with the rest of us Sunday pretenders.
The only way to really understand the hub was to get the chance to use one. Well, thanks to my super keen mate (Matt Tognini), who had already acquired one, I set about borrowing his whilst he was on a regular accountants seminar junket to the Gold Coast (I really should of stayed in school). Anyway, I digress.
The AIRhub setup is exactly as the manual says. Place the front wheel into your bike following the directional arrows instruction and add the Terrain Dynamics App to your phone.
I decided to first try the “Hub of death” (which is the popular nickname from new owners of one) on the rollers straight away.
Rollers, for those of you new to cycling, is what we used to use to warm up on for track events and Time Trials back in the day. We would also use them when the weather was terrible outside, kidding ourselves we had still trained just as hard as we would have out on the wet roads. Silly really because you would always end up just as wet from sweat.
The App connected to the hub as soon as the bike was travelling at a simulated 18/20 kmh. I had already set the App to have me working at 150 bpm (yes, old school HR user) and boom the AIRhub engaged. With a whirring of a model plane engine you could hear the hub doing its thing and I played with the settings high and low; manual wattage back to HR. Thirty minutes passed, sweat appeared all over my top bar and “The Offspring” (ixnay on the hombre) had my ears ringing.
In the end what was the result?
The AIRhub turned my usually comfortable rollers into a home trainer with seemingly all of the bells and whistles of a top of the line Wahoo or Cycleops trainer/ bike. The difference being that this required real life concentration to balance and steer which took away the regular boredom of the indoor trainer.
Turning my old school and much preferred rollers into a worthwhile 30 minute training session, big tick!
The next test was out on the open road.
Why on earth does a 40 something has-been, or never-was, need such a device?
Simple! “coz we can”
It isn’t about going to the Olympics or smashing the local Masters Criterium. It’s about feeling satisfied once having completed your exercise session. Although smashing the Masters Crit does sound like a wonderful Sunday morning :0)
Have you ever seen an overweight or unfit looking runner? Rarely yeah?
Ever seen an unfit cyclist in lycra? Yep (I’ll send you my picture)
Why is that?
Time poor? Yes.
Found cycling late in life? Yes.
Simply managed to add 10-20 kg once married and the kids and mortgage came along…
Time poor is the big one for most of us.
Running for an overweight person isn’t fun and even less fun for a lifelong cyclist with more jiggles than Homer.
Now lets be real for a second. We all go for that quick hour or 40km ride a few times per week but how much of it are we really working to benefit our goal of getting fitter or being able to eat what we want, within reason.
Downhills and tailwinds become the enemy in a time tight session and this is where the AIRHub nailed its claim for me.
Simply by increasing the load on the hub I was able to match my headwind effort once I’d turned for home with the tailwind. Instant solid hour with data comparisons to show I’d worked just as hard in both directions and at a pace the dual use path could accommodate. You see that’s the other thing. Safety!
Imagine getting the same 50 kmh effort done at 30 kmh. Handy when you’re trying to avoid the cars during busy periods of the day! Well that’s what you get.
Would I buy one? Yes
Who should use one? Anyone.
Anyone from Olympic superstar to Sunday racer to the person who just loves the endorphin rush that comes with pushing their personal limits.
My only footnote, don’t be that dickhead sitting in the coffee shop with one of these wheels in your bike. Not unless your Garmin can tell a story of real work.