The New (CompuTrainer) Training Room

As I alluded to a week or so ago, the Girl and I were a bit busy transforming an unused room in the townhouse.

See, when I bought the place some 6 years ago, there was always this room downstairs on the first floor that had little use.  In townhouses, the structures are tall, but thin.  So while I have four floors – it’s only 19’ wide.  And in the case of this room, being on the first floor basically wedged between two entrances, it didn’t really flow well from a logistics standpoint

So it sat largely empty:

DenPanorama

But empty soon gave way to bike room/random junk room.  Bikes would sit there, or workout stuffs, or just general stuffs.  I think a bunch of seals may have been hanging out there at one point.  It was basically just getting out of hand.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the bikes would duel away day in and day out on the CompuTrainer or regular trainer.  But this also required a trip up the first flight of steep stairs.  Occasionally during this trip the bikes would make-out with the wall – leaving skid marks on the wall.  Further enhancing things were the inevitable grease stains that would need to be carpet cleaned out every few months.

So we set out to resolve both problems.  We decided on a joint training room/chillin’ room.  By forcing the ‘chillin’ angle, it’d ensure it just didn’t because another place overrun with training junk.  In other words, it would force it to look nice.

First, we cleared the space.  Which, meant finding homes for bike bags, bikes, and those pesky seals.

Then, we went to the mall to West Elm and picked up a bunch of comfy couches.  And with the help of the Home Depot truck, we got things all back to the pad successfully.

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Even with the new arrangement, we’d still have the issue of similar workouts at the same time and one trainer.  So for months I’ve been watching Craigslist and eBay for another CompuTrainer.  Except, this is difficult because the CompuTrainer’s hold value really really really well.  With a retail price of $1,500, even a model 3-4 years old will still fetch $1,000+.

Now, I had a few things going for me.  CT’s haven’t changed much in the last decade – so basically anything made after around 1950 or so would work (just kidding…I mean 1960), and might only need minor (if any) updates.  Plus, they’re built like a brick.  And, I was aiming that someone might simply want to offload it at whatever they could fetch without doing research.

But…my secret arsenal?  The Craigslist RSS feed button.  This would deliver anything with the word ‘CompuTrainer’ into my Inbox mere moments after posting – allowing me to quickly jump on it.  Over the course of the summer we had a few failed attempts where I’d miss cheaply listed ones, or the seller wouldn’t respond.  But back a few weeks ago I finally got the deal I was looking for: $695.  Sweet!  Oh – and if you’re looking for a used CompuTrainer, read this very recent thread on what to look for in a used CT.

Patience does eventually win.

It arrived last week, and was packed perfectly – almost like new (and in fact, looked barely used).

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Finally, I had one missing piece.  A TV.  Naturally, the way I looked at things – this gave me complete and full permission to go buy a new flat screen TV.  Right?  Good, I agree.

So I did.  And dang…these things are thin these days.  Crazy thin:

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Oh…and how does the whole room look now?  Pretty freakin’ awesome.  There’s still some nice detail touches we need to add – like a small coffee table and some wall stuffs.

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Yes, the trainers may seem close to the wall, but it’s really not that close…it’s just the wide angle lens.

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I also picked up the twofer CompuTrainer handlebar mount stand from them to hold them both.  Now it looks all pretty:

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Finally, one trick I have is using a OXO 4C Measuring cup to hold remotes/gel bottles, etc… It easily holds onto either handlebars or aerobars.  Brilliant…yet simple.

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And for those curious, the TV is a Samsung LED LCD which is running Windows 7 Media Center (like TiVo, only better).  The little TV is the CompuTrainer, though I can switch it to the big TV if I want.  We primarily use the Coaching Mode software, over any of the real course stuff.  But perhaps with the newer RacerMate One software suite coming out, it’ll improve things.  And, all the photos in the room are ones I’ve taken at some point.

Ironically, just as I finish this, I’m off for weeks of travel.  Such a nice room…and not there to use it. :(

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31 Comments

  1. At least the room will remain clean for a couple weeks.

    Reply
  2. Paul in Kirkland

    What pad is that under the bikes? Is it expensive?

    This is a sweet setup.

    Reply
  3. Hey Paul-

    It’s just two standard trainer mats. I got the second one at Performance, but it’s identical to the first one I got there 3 or so years ago. $29.

    link to performancebike.com

    Reply
  4. Paul in Kirkland

    Wow – thanks! I was expecting something much more expensive.

    Reply
  5. Very nice room you and The Girl have made. No excuses for not doing your workout. :-)

    Reply
  6. Do you not change your back tyre over when using it on the trainer ?

    Reply
  7. Hi Jenez-

    No, I don’t bother. I spend so much time on the trainer (3-4 times a week) that it would be quite a hassle. A trainer tire is basically the same price as a regular tire – and even then is pretty cheap – about $30. So at worst I just watch the wear and if need be swap it out once a year or so.

    Reply
  8. The room looks awesome and I love the holder for the remote control! Definitely looks like you two will get a lot of use out of the room now!

    Reply
  9. I love it!

    Reply
  10. JP

    Only problem is that with The Girl’s bike closer to the wall, now you don’t have anywhere to pin your workouts up…and no picture to put thing on/behind, either!

    Reply
  11. Why oh why is there no jealous button on blogs?! This looks amazing. Really well done!

    I adore CG!

    Reply
  12. Can you explain the TV setup – did you run power and HDMI or similar through the wall? Looks great!

    Reply
  13. Very impressive! I like how you put some of your safari pictures up on the walls. I need a room like that and a Comp-u-trainer.

    Reply
  14. Great room setup Ray. Like Dustin, I’m also interested on the TV setup.

    Reply
  15. This looks *nothing* like the room I saw :) Fabulous now!

    Reply
  16. RE: TV Setup

    I did indeed run it through the wall. The back of that wall is actually just the garage, and I happen to have some shelving right there. So I used the shelving to put the Media Center Extender (HP one) on it. It connects via HDMI. However, I still had to solve the IR emitter issue. So I then ran an IR blater with the reciver just barely visible on the upper left corner of the screen, right behind the lip of the glass. You can just barely see a tiny little black bump on the left upper side of the TV – that’s the reciever. The transmitter simply attaches to the front of the Media Center Extender. I can add up to 8 devices with additional cables on the back.

    I used the Samsung picture-frame mount kit…which, to be honest, is pretty scary. Wouldn’t recommend it for a house with kids who might touch the TV or toy around with it. For me, it’s fine – but it’s not like the tank-mounts that you can get.

    Samsung Mount:
    link to amazon.com

    IR Blaster:
    link to amazon.com

    For the CompuTrainer to big TV connect, I’m planning on running cabling through the wall using Keystone snap-mount panels. I’ll add basically two USB ports, and a display port, along with probably a mono-jack for fun (because the dumb CT thing requires it depending on where I put the adapter). Total cost for all that stuff is about $20 and you can basically just build the wall mount panels as required. I did this for a few other flat screens in my house.

    Reply
  17. Nice room, I love the new technology, it helps a lot on training!!!

    Reply
  18. Roy

    Fantastic! I would suggest some fresh air close by. I too use a Computrainer a lot and have a window right in front of me.
    How do you use the feed button? I too would be interested in buying a second one.
    Thanks and amazing site!

    Reply
  19. We recently did something similar. We have a room that’s supposed to a be a formal living room. But who does that anymore? For four yrs it was storage mess right off the front door. Now its the playroom/kids tivo/treadmill/spin bike room. And I love it.

    Reply
  20. Eli

    Why use a media center extender? Would seem like you’d want to use a real media center so you can run the computrainer software directly on it. I’ve run Rowpro and the Computrainer software directly from my media center computer

    Can’t wait for my Ceton tuner to come in so I can do 4 HD shows at a time.

    Reply
  21. Hey Eli-

    Actually a few reasons. I have three other TV’s that connect to a single dedicated MCE box. Within that box I have a Ceton tuner, which as you know, allows me four channels at once. If I went to making the CT box a MCE box, then I couldn’t easily share premium (encrypted) recorded TV content across the house – as only extenders can do that. I used to have the ATI tuners (tested them far before they even came out) – but the CETON is a dream in comparison. Even used HDHR for a while.

    While I could just reverse the scenerio – the TV that the MCE is attached to I use for occasional other things and like having a computer connected to it.

    The second reason is that I’ve found that both MCE and CompuTrainer are very finicky when it comes to the OS side. While Win7 MCE is pretty much rock solid – if/when I do have to rebuild the box, I prefer to not have to break my CompuTrainer box. The CompuTrainer stuff is a huge PITA to get perfect when it comes to drivers, so once I’ve set it up – I leave it. I wipe the box (MCE) enough for work that combining them would undermine my CT experiance.

    Ok…that’s it! Enjoy the Ceton!

    Reply
  22. Ray,

    In a lot of pictures, first of your living room and now of this room, we see your bike always on the trainer. Do you leave it on there between workouts on different days? Do you ease the tension on the wheel or not? Any negative impact on the tires?

    Reply
  23. Hey, Way cool setup. I was curious, how do you and your partner compensate for different strength on the computrainer? I purchased two computrainers for my girlfriend and I to ride together but it’s not as much fun as we thought due to me being a good bit faster. Have you found a way that you can handicap one of the riders so you can finish the same course at reletively the same time?

    Thanks

    Reply
  24. Anson

    I have tried to use your Craigslist RSS strategy for computrainer & other bike components in general. Is there a way to get a nationwide Craigslist RSS feed, or do you always have to view only those listings under one city / area?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Since Craigslist is local-only (meaning, you have to pickup in person), it’s just city to city/area.

      eBay of course is national.

      Reply
  25. Steve

    Sweet. Is there anyway I could talk you into a schematic which shows the computrainer – PC – TV connections and any other electronics. A picture is worth a thousand words.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Eek. Well, the CompuTrainer connects to the PC as it normally does – which is via a USB cable (well, technically, it connects via a Serial to USB adapter, because the CT only does serial). Then, the PC connects to the TV via VGA. As you see above, I run the CT software primarily on the small PC, and then the large TV is for TV/movies/etc…

      Reply
  26. Ryan Rubel

    Can you explain how you came up with the “twofer CompuTrainer handlebar mount stand”, or tell how it’s constructed? I’m working on a very similar dual computrainer setup and would like to replicate what you did here.
    Everything looks great!

    Reply
  27. Hey! I have been trying to figure out how to do the RSS on craigslist to look for computrainers like you mention in this post and I’m not having any luck. The business I work for is looking to acquire more trainers as we expand to more locations. Could you email me at smasheton@totalcyclist.com and let me know how to set this up? Thank you!

    Reply

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