How To Ride Rollers

Video Summary

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Riding the rollers has plenty of advantages. Unlike a stationary trainer, rollers are a free-form workout that helps you develop pedaling form, work on your cadence and balance, and get a great workout in. Rollers have a little bit of a learning curve though, so let’s take a look at how to get started.
Setting up:
  • Find a safe level place for starting and stopping to set up your rollers. Using a doorway or the back of a chair works well to help stabilize you when you get started.
  • Make sure your rollers are set up for your bike’s wheel-base. (fallow the manufactures directions on how to do this)
    • Set the front roller so that it is centered under the axle as much as possible.
  • Some rollers offer resistance. If yours does remove all extra resistance the first few times you ride it, which will make it easier to get started.
  • Make sure your tires are pumped up to the same pressure you’d use when riding outside.
  • Eliminate distractions. Unlike a stationary trainer, the rollers will require your full attention at first, so turn off the TV, and put the phone away.
 
Getting Started:
  • Shift your bike into its large chairing, and approximately the middle of the cassette. You’ll want a relatively ‘big’ gear to get your wheels turning quickly, but also a gear you can turn comfortably.
    • Speed is your friend.  The sooner your wheels are turning at a higher speed, the more stable you will be on the rollers.
  • Place your bike on the rollers and step over the top-tube, (which will be a couple inches taller than normal due to the height of the rollers
    • Most rollers offer a foot-placement, whether it’s a molded plastic platform, or simply grip-tape on the aluminum frame. If not, you can use a phonebook or stepping stool to get to the right height.
  • With left foot on the roller frame, grab the stationary object (wall, chair or doorframe) with one hand, lean into it, and sit on the saddle. Holding one of the brakes can also help stabilize the bike while you get on it. Get yourself comfortable, and clip in.
  • Keep holding on to stationary object and start pedaling, getting wheels up to speed until you feel the bike become stable underneath you.
  • Slowly let go of the stationary object and set balance point directly over the bicycle. Don’t try to balance the bike, just keep your cadence high and let physics do the work.
  • Limit distractions. Focus on a single spot ahead of you, which will help you stay balanced and keep your center of gravity in the right spot.
  • Ride like you would on the road: try not to make exaggerated corrections with your handlebars for balance, rather gently lean from one side to another as needed.
 
Riding rollers is a new skill, and it takes time to master. If you feel things getting out of control, don’t be afraid to use the doorway/wall/chair to stop and reset. With time and practice you will get more comfortable, and be able to ride rollers without touching the handlebars (easier than you think), watch TV, compos texts and email on your phone… even remove a layer of clothing.

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