Riding the Rollers
February 9, 2012
Posted by on
OK, with renos nearing completion, we’ve got most of our house back. That means I’ve managed to carve out a space in the basement to set up the rollers again. I was always big on the idea of using my own bike on a trainer indoors, as opposed to an exercise bike, but this takes it to the next level. With a static trainer, you’re riding the geometry you’re used to, but the bike is supported by the trainer itself. You spin, and that’s the workout.
With the rollers, it’s an entirely different story. It’s like a treadmill for your bike. When you supply power, that spins the two rollers supporting the rear wheel of the bike. They are attached via belt to the front roller (which provides additional resistance). The front roller spins the front wheel. It’s actually a fairly simple design, and with both wheels spinning you create the force required to keep the bike upright. In essence, you just ride the bike.
As for the workout, it’s much more intensive than a static trainer. Because you’re riding the whole bike, you’re using stabilizer muscles to keep the bike upright and pointed straight, muscles that you could otherwise be lazy about on the static trainer. You have to be smooth too, so it can help improve your balance, cadence and tracking on the bike. You don’t know how bad you ride until you try to take it to a roller!
With all the benefits highlighted, some folks have said that it looks a little dangerous. What if you fall off? Well, I do fall off occasionally (way less than at first). Because you have no momentum, you can just kind of step off sideways and put your foot on the ground. If the bike wheels happen to hit the ground, you just get a “whizzzt!” as they stop suddenly, but that’s about the worst of it. There is no flying into the wall or anything.
Hopefully I can figure out how to start without having to hold onto a chair, because I still do have to do that. Anyways, here’s what a roller workout looks like: