Coaches Panel: How to continue training without a bike

A reader asks the panel how he can keep to his base-building program when he can't bring his bike on a trip.

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I find myself traveling for work and unable to bring my bike along for the trip. I am currently in the base-mile period for training, is there some other exercise that I can do in place of riding?

Andrew from Chicago

Frank Overton responds: (Paul Swift’s response is below)

Hey “Without a Bike,”

Yes, there are several but first I think it’s important to develop strategies for finding ways to ride and if not then exercise. When I work with my athletes travelling for business the first thing we look for is a health club that’s nearby that may have spin bikes and spin classes. A 45-60 minute spin class is fun, productive and logistically fairly easy.

Just requires a little leg work on your part to go online and search for nearby health clubs, spin studios or cycling centers that offer these services.

If a spinning is not an option the natural inclination is to go running. However, if you aren’t a runner or haven’t run in the last 6 months I would rather athletes find a lesser impact workout than running. Elliptical trainers are a nice alternative bad and along with swimming. Considering you are building your base any exercise that elevates your heart rate above 120 bpm is aerobic. This includes swimming, hiking, & cardio equipment (in addition to riding).

If that fails try some good old fashioned recovery days. Plan your training around your travel and use the travel for recovery days. Train hard before you leave, recovery during your trip and come back fresh, rested and ready to resume meaningful training.

Hope that helps,


Paul Swift responds:

Dear Without a Bike,

Sounds like you might be working in an office building. If not, you are probably close to one. I used to race with a couple cyclists in Chicago that would look for access to office buildings. Why? To run stairs!

Good luck in the Windy City.
-Paul Swift

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An eight-time National Elite Cycling Champion and founder of, Paul Swift developed the Bicycle Fitting System (BFS), which includes products like the Cleat Wedges. The BFS helped bring the “front view” of a cyclist into the bike fitting world. offers tools and education for bike fitters worldwide, helping them to better position humans on bicycles.

Frank Overton is a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach, a former U.S. National Team Coach, a member of USA Cycling’s Power Based Education Committee and regularly writes training tips for VeloNews. Overton works with professional and amateur athletes of all abilities and ages across the United States. To learn more about Frank and his Boulder, Colorado-based coaching company, please visit FasCat Coaching or email Frank.

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