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I’ve set up a trainer in everything from a massive basement to a closet. It’s never fun or easy to set up a usable space to accommodate your dripping sweat and boredom, but Paceline Designs wants to solve that (well, at least the usable space part). The Podium is a simple height-adjustable (32 to 52 inches) stand that you place at the front of your bike so you can watch a movie on your laptop or do laps around Zwift Island. It takes up less than two square feet of space, and it’s a well thought-out stand that, while not perfect, has become a staple of my indoor suffering — er, riding.
Out of the box, setup took a grand total of 10 minutes with the included Allen key. The base has a cutout to accommodate your front wheel block, thus allowing you to place the tabletop closer to your handlebars. The tabletop itself is plenty sturdy, and Paceline says you can put up to a 27-inch monitor on it. You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it. The stand is stable enough, but it’s not large, so someone walking by your training station could easily knock it over. We stuck with just a laptop.
There’s also a curious slot that runs across the front of the tabletop. It’s there to help keep your tablet or phone upright, but it only works if said devices are in a case. If you stick your bare phone in there, it just falls over. As it is, this feature seems extraneous.
The real meat and potatoes of the Podium lies beneath: a power strip underneath the tabletop accommodates two USB devices and two North American-style plug-ins. That gets all the cables out of your way, and you can charge your devices as you ride. It’s a fantastic feature that makes the Podium stand out. The plug for the power strip runs down through the stand’s leg and out a hole at the bottom to keep things neat and clean. It would have been nice to have a longer plug cable, though. Since it runs all the way down the leg, you lose a lot of the plug’s length to that routing. It’s a minor inconvenience that can be solved with an extension cord.
If you’re looking for a budget solution, though, the Paceline isn’t it. It’s pricey at $259. That price includes two pegs that screw in underneath the tabletop for easy stowage of your sweat-soaked towel or warm-up hoodie. You could certainly just put a $10 stool from Target next to your trainer for your water bottle and phone, but if you’re looking for a small-space solution that clearly and easily displays your laptop or other screen, The Podium is a good choice. It’s especially nice if you’re the kind to answer emails as you ride, but man, that’s really doubling up on the torture, isn’t it?