Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Camas, WA
Bikes: Black Cat SS, Salsa Spearfish, Trek 520
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Having ridden a trainer during winter months in Michigan, I can say there aren't many other expenses other than the actual trainer. You'll want a good fluid trainer and that can run $200-300. Rear tire wear is neglibile (trainer guides are smoother than pavement...) and I don't know what you mean by padding. A simple dense foam pad is not very expensive, but you can just as easily throw an old sheet or towel on the floor.
Advantages of the trainer is that he can set his own schedule, do it in the comfort of his own home, ride his own bike to address fit issues with the new shoulder, and you two will have the equipment if it's needed in the future. Disadvantages of the trainer include the initial cost and the potential lack of motivation to ride it. Personally, I'd rather go to a spin class; get in, work hard, get out, move on with my day. When I had a trainer sitting at home, I'd procrastinate and procrastinate and end up going weeks without riding it.
I'm currently recovering from a broken arm, so I've been spinning a lot lately. I've found spin classes at the Claremont Club and 24 Hour Fitness in Upland to be equally challenging and fulfilling. You can set your own resistance on a spin bike, so really you are controlling your own pace. A membership at 24 Hour Fitness is much cheaper, but the Claremont Club has really nice CycleOps spin bikes with power meters and HR monitors built in. You can bring a USB drive and track your progress throughout the classes.
If you choose a club with a pool, I imagine swimming would supplement his physical therapy quite nicely. Also, a couple months of gym membership is probably cheaper than the investment for a trainer setup, so if you don't see a reason to keep the trainer, maybe it's best to go with a gym. Lastly, personally I find it easier to feel motivated in a group setting. I'll do solo rides outside all the time because they're fun, but solo indoor riding is kind of a drag. Helps to have others around.
Just my 2 cents. And I slept at a Holiday Inn last night.