Lance Shnider enjoys riding his bicycle in warm weather, but he found winter training to be a different story.
He didn't enjoy sitting on his trainer indoors.
His air-conditioning unit was cranked down to 60 degrees, and his wife and kids were annoyed.
Ultimately, he just wasn't motivated.
The New Albany resident said those factors led him to consider the value of a business dedicated to indoor training that was designed for serious cyclists.
Earlier this month, Shnider's dream became reality: He partnered with Geoff Clark, owner of the VeloScience Bike Works cycling shop at 220 Market St., to open Virtual Velo Cycle Training.
The facility at 11 Second St., which held its grand opening Feb. 2, features six training stations for cyclists.
Riders are able to use computer-tablet or smartphone applications to create virtual riding experiences, some of which can mimic actual outdoor routes.
Cyclists use their own bikes mounted on indoor stationary trainers at Virtual Velo Cycle Training, Clark said.
Using their own bikes is important because the riders are able to work their muscles in the same range of motion they would on normal outdoor rides, he said.
Virtual Velo uses a trainer called the Kickr, which is designed by Wahoo Fitness. The rear wheel of the bike is removed, and the bike is mounted on the device.
The resistance during the ride can be controlled by a variety of applications, he said.
CycleOps VirtualTraining, for example, is an application that allows the rider to watch a video of a route filmed by someone who cycled it, Clark said. In addition to watching the video, the cyclist can feel the resistance that would be encountered on the actual route.
Another platform, Zwift, has a video game-like feel, Clark said. Riders have avatars and can choose from a dozen virtual courses.
Both Zwift and CycleOps are installed at each station at Virtual Velo, Clark said. The technology allows teams to train together, he said, or help residents in areas like downtown Columbus, where smaller apartments often don't have enough space for an indoor trainer.
Shnider said he began using the facility as soon as Virtual Velo opened. He said he was motivated by joining others on virtual rides and gained the ability to train while spending time with his son, who cycles at a slower speed.
"It's not just a winter thing, which was what it was born out of," he said.
When the weather gets warmer, Shnider said, he and Clark plan to build a library of local routes, recording rides with cameras mounted on the fronts of their bikes.
The cameras are equipped with GPS, and that data will be synced with the video, Clark said.
Shnider said he and Clark are renting the space on Second Street for now, with the eventual goal of purchasing it.
However, he said, he he thinks they could outgrow it in as soon as three to four months, as cyclists return to training in the spring. He said the goal is to publicize the facility as a training option in inclement weather.
The two always plan to maintain an indoor training facility in New Albany, Shnider said, because of the large cycling community and Clark's established VeloScience shop. He said they might open another training facility somewhere else in central Ohio area, or open a larger one here.
The cycling community in New Albany "has grown dramatically," Clark said, and business at VeloScience has increased exponentially in the four-and-a-half years he has been there. Many customers of the training facility are customers he has had at VeloScience, he said.
New Albany offers great riding destinations, and cyclists don't need to travel far to get out in the country on rural routes, such as those that abound in northwestern Licking County, Clark said. Large events, such as the annual Pelotonia bicycle tour in August that raises funds for cancer research and has multiple route stops or finish lines in New Albany, also have helped expand the cycling community, he said.
More information about Virtual Velo is available at virtualvelo.com.