Indoor cycling is a great way to keep on top of your training over winter, but the temperature sure can climb very quickly while you’re at it. You may find yourself getting a lot more sweaty than usual while training inside. That’s because sweat is the way your body sheds heat, and when you’re outside it evaporates. Inside, however, it stays right where it is: on you.
The impact this has on your training goes beyond feeling wet. With a layer of sweat that won’t evaporate, you heat up even more, causing you to sweat even more. With all this loss of fluid, you dehydrate more quickly, and your blood starts to thicken, which causes your heart to pump even harder. Suddenly an indoor bike ride is extremely hard work. Not only do you feel extremely uncomfortable, but your power output plummets at the same time, potentially making all your efforts a waste of time.
That’s why it’s crucial to stay cool and hydrated while cycling indoors, and one of the best ways of turning down the heat is installing a fan to try to replicate the feel of the outdoors.
Unfortunately it’s not as simple as grabbing that fan from another room in your house, you know the one, that oscillates left and right to get the air circulating? That’s not going to cut it here. You need a fan that’s more suitable for indoor cycling, but don’t worry, here’s a breakdown of everything you need to consider, along with our recommendations for a great indoor cycling fan.
Cubic feet per minute (CFM)
CFM represents how much air a fan can project in a minute, and is a very useful measurement to help you determine that a fan is going to adequately cool your pain cave. For indoor cycling enthusiasts, you ideally need a fan that has 7,500 CFM or higher. If you’re unable to achieve that, then you’ll really benefit from having two less powerful fans. If you do this, resist the urge to have a fan in front, and place one on each side of you instead. This is the best way to maximize the amount of air that actually hits your body. As a final thought, you might want to get a remote to switch the fan on, so you can turn them on when you need them, rather than starting out your ride shivering.
Directional vs oscillating
Most household fans will move left and right, as a way of improving air circulation and cool down the entire room. However when you’re in your pain cave, the only cooling that needs to happen is on your body. So get a directional fan that stays exactly where it needs to be: on your body.
After all, when you’re cycling indoors, you’re cycling on the spot. Faster airflow will always trump the amount of air being produced. What you ideally need is a floor-based directional fan that has a high CFM. That way it will project a lot of air, directly at you.
Easy to maneuver about for the perfect position
The Air King 9220 is a three-speed industrial-grade floor fan with coated steel blades, guards and mounts to help it stay durable in the long-term. It comes with a 9ft power cord and weighs approximately 24lbs, making it easy to set up and move around, to position it perfectly for your indoor cycling setup.
With a CFM of 3,670, you may want to invest in two if you find yourself still dripping sweat during a workout.
Converts from a floor fan to wall fan
If you’re not wanting to spend a fortune just yet, and perhaps are still toying with different pain cave layouts, consider this budget-friendly offering from Lasko. At almost 25% the price of the Air King, it still offers up to 3,460 CFM and easily converts from a floor fan to a wall-mounted fan. This makes it a great option for playing around with different setups until you find one that works for you.
A discreet fan with an adjustable height
Whether you’ve only got a small amount of space to play with, or your pain cave doubles up as an office, you might want something that does the job while remaining easy on the eyes. This Vornado 783 is sleek and modern-looking, with a pedestal design that allows you to adjust the height between 28 and 41 inches.
The CFM is pretty low, however, at just 583, so you may want to invest in two to help you stay cool on the turbo trainer. Despite the low CFM, it’s still worth your consideration, making great use of Vornado’s patented air-circulation system that truly maximizes its airflow performance.
Easy to store out of the way when not in use
Your fan doesn’t have to be a central feature of the room, in fact you might not want it to take up very much space at all. This compact Vacmaster AM201 is a portable three-speed floor fan that may well tick those boxes for you.
It was initially designed to assist with drying walls, floors and ceilings, however it can nevertheless deliver some much needed airflow to your indoor training. In such a small package that weighs under 6lbs, you can’t expect more than the 550 CFM it puts out, but you can very easily change up its positioning to find the perfect spot to deliver the most cooling, and investing in two doesn’t automatically claim half the room for storage.
With a slight tweak it could be a game changer
For the really serious indoor cyclists, this could well be the game changer you’ve been looking for. However it does come with a catch.
First of all, let’s cover the good stuff. This 30-inch wall-mounted fan puts out a staggering 9,500 CFM, making it the only fan you would ever need for even the most gut-punchingly sweaty workouts. If this seems like overkill to you, but you’d really prefer not to invest in two separate fans, then you could also consider the 24-inch model which delivers 6,500 CFM.
Initially designed for commercial use, this fan is ultra high velocity, and constructed from super durable steel and aluminium for years of heavy duty use.
The only downside is, it’s an oscillating fan, but this should not be a deal-breaker. For one thing, if your turbo trainer is set up in a fairly small room, then having this fan oscillating while delivering 9,500 CFM should do wonders to cool your entire room. On the other hand, if you’re dead-set on having a directional flow, then there is a way to turn off the oscillation. However it’s not as simple as flipping a switch, and does require the removal of a metal part. But once it’s done, you’ve got the most powerful directional fan your pain cave could ever need.
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