There have been a lot of talk, articles, and generally hubbub about trainer riding lately. I'm pleased to report that Jason and Coach Kiki have had me on the trainer riding bandwagon before there was even a bandwagon. So here are some tips on how to make what can be an excruciatingly boring workout actually fun... and hard!
Obviously a bike, but really important - a good trainer! We have had many generations of trainers, and found that it's generally true that a fairly large chunk of change has to be spent on getting a good trainer. Back in the 80's I owned a "wind" trainer, graduated to magnetic, and now we have fluid trainers and they're awesome. Quiet, smooth, and a lot of resistance.
Some essentials - a towel because it doesn't take long before the sweat is dripping, my Garmin (even though I'm not going anywhere...) to measure time and cadence, and the tv remote for some background noise, as I can never seem to concentrate on an actual show while I'm riding.
A fan (see above about the sweat), especially when riding in the summer.
A workout. It's not a good use of time to just sit and spin. Trainer workouts can be really intense, focused, and useful.
A little buddy to come check on you periodically.
A riding partner - helps with motivation, eases the boredom, and gives some general camaraderie.
A positive attitude - it can be tough to (literally) spin your wheels for an hour, two, or more in the basement.