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The RAGBRAI route announcement at the end of January should give riders a little motivation to stay conditioned for the big ride. If you want to get an early start, indoor bike trainers can help keep you in shape, even in the dead of winter.

Trainers help simulate the feel of riding the road within the comfort of your home. And getting used to your own bike seat and handlebar position means you don't have to break in your bike again when warmer weather arrives, said Dave Hoss, owner of Barr Bike in Clive.

"You don't lose what you gain over the summertime," Hoss said.

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Another advantage to trainers is that they can provide a good cardio workout and strength training for the legs. Interval workouts — sprinting for two to three minutes, with a one-minute recovery — provides a good workout in a short amount of time, said Wade Franck, sales manager at Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny.

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