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The Early Days of Turbo Trainers with Head Trainer Peter Kennaugh Snr.

By The 3LC Team, Feb 26 2015 04:00PM

Turbo trainers have come a long way since the time of those earthquake-inducing noisy devices that let the whole neighbourhood think there was some sort of spaceship about to take off from within your garage. Some turbo trainers would even leave a trail of debris behind when the fan exploded into pieces, sending shards of plastic flying in all directions (usually your calf muscle!). Thus bringing your turbo session to an abrupt end!

My first foray into turbo training came about in my Dad's large shed about a decade before turbos were actually invented. Me and my cycling buddy (not yet in our teens) designed and built our own 'turbo trainer'. We used a wooden plank, an upturned roller skate, some Binda toe straps, a hammer, half a dozen nails and a block of wood (which I'll come to in a minute). In just under ten minutes of inventive building, we were ready for our maiden flight into the unknown, literally.

After a cautious but progressive start (which many coaches now call a warm up), I was ready for my first turbo sprint effort. Before long I was in top gear on my 10 Speed Viking Conqueror, spinning my nuts off, when that block of wood I mentioned earlier (a piece designed as a resistance device against one of the wheels of the upturned roller skate) decided to overheat and fly off like a jet fighter ejector seat. It headed straight in the direction of my mate - missing his eye by about an inch!

Just when things couldn't get much worse... they did. The quick increase in speed from the sudden loss of resistance caused me to come abruptly off the roller skate plank. I immediately found myself flying forward at 30 mph into a large rabbit hutch, destroying it and cracking a massive asbestos corrugated panel aka the shed wall.

To compound the pain and embarrassment I was going through, my mates Dad had called round and just so happened to hear the commotion going on in the shed. He walked into the shed and gave us the biggest bollocking I had ever received from another cyclists’ dad.

My most vivid memory to this day is not the cuts I received on my chin and knuckles, nor my broken rabbit hutch or the wall of the shed. It was that block of wood still smouldering away directly behind my mates Dad that, luckily for me, he did not notice or smell. It was a case of lesson learnt. It would be another 15 years before I ventured near a turbo again!

If you have an interesting or funny turbo trainer first, let us know. Email your story to, and we may feature your story on the 3LC blog.

Mar 5 2015 03:39PM by Stu aka @WhiteleeWarrior

...... and that my friends is how the turbo trainer was invented!

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