Riding rollers – it’s not as hard as you think!

Sometimes spin training is the only way to get some time on your bike. When the weather has turned foul, you are looking after kids or don’t want to venture out in the middle of the night, doing a spin session can be a good option.

Riding rollers with my Fuji flat bar roadie

There are may different sorts of equipment for doing a spin training session. My favourite is to ride my own bike on training rollers. Some other examples are stationery fitness (gym) bikes, turbo trainers, wind trainers and mag trainers.

Riding on training rollers allows you to use the same bike that you ride on the road with no modification. Rollers also allow a more natural cycling action than other forms of spin training, and require a level of concentration which helps to alleviate the boredom factor. I also prefer that my bike is not locked in one position by the rear axle. Surely it must put forces on the bike frame and rear hub that the bicycle simply was not designed for?

I purchased my set of JetBlack R1 aluminium rollers from 99 Bikes at Underwood – thanks guys. The JetBlack training rollers are smooth rolling and fold up into a compact size for storage.

JetBlack R1 rollers

JetBlack R1 rollers

JetBlack R1 rollers folded up for storage

Many beginning cyclists are intimidated by rollers. A quick search of YouTube for “bicycle rollers” will result in people riding cycling rollers incredibly well … or else crashing them, sometimes badly!

Here are some tips for the first time you ride rollers.

  • Ride in flat joggers the first few times you ride rollers. Riding with your cycling shoes locked to your pedals is just a recipe for disaster. When you ride off the edge of the rollers (and you will at first), being able to easily put your feet back on the ground will save lots of crashes.
  • Set up the rollers either in a doorway, or against a wall. You can use the doorway or wall for balance as you get started.
  • Look ahead! Find an object ahead of you in line with the centre of your rollers and steer towards it. If you look down, you are bound to ride off the edge of the rollers!
  • Choose a mid-range gear. A too high or too low gear will make it difficult to stay on the rollers – you will be able to use these other gears as you get more experienced.
  • Be confident! If you get on rollers afraid of riding off the edge, then you will! Confidently spin up your wheels to get some gyroscopic forces working for you and look ahead.

The usual disclaimer applies.

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