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roller newbie needs help(15 posts)

roller newbie needs helpmoots
Apr 4, 2002 3:22 PM
The wife just got me rollers for my birthday. I just gave them a quick try in the kitchen while holding the counter with one hand. I was only wearing sneakers. I think riding on ice would be easier to master.

Any suggestion on getting started? I am a little nervous about trying to clip in with my speedplays. The idea of letting go of the counter is scary.

How long does it take to smooth out your pedal stroke? I plan on riding once or twice a week for a total of 1-2 hrs.

Thanks in advance,
re: roller newbie needs helpJekyll
Apr 4, 2002 3:27 PM
Try setting up the rollers in a door way. Gives you something to grab on each side. It does not take long to learn to stay up on rollers. Kind of like when they take your training wheels off when you are a kid: You think you will flop right over but you don't....
re: roller newbie needs helpcurlybike
Apr 4, 2002 3:43 PM
Put a fan out in front of you blowing pretty hard. Put the bike in the 53-15 +- get in a door way and kick it up to 22 mph + as soon as possible. This will help stabilize you. The sooner you can avoid touching anything the better. Just touching anything seems to throw you off enough. Once you get it up to speed, stay there and concentrate out in front, pick a point 10 feet out.
re: roller newbie needs helpflying
Apr 4, 2002 4:22 PM
It is really a matter of just letting go & trusting your cycling skills.
What most say about doorways is probably true. Although I did as you & just hung onto to something on my left till I got started. The first time I had maybe 4 false starts then rode for 1/2 hour straight.
But really the false starts are more about fear or not trusting the fact that it is just riding period. If you have ridden for years you will have no trouble.
Just trust it & go... Really

Good Luck I use mine 4 nights a week & love it.

re: roller newbie needs helpAndy M-S
Apr 4, 2002 7:14 PM
Boy, a love-fest thread: Everyone here is exactly right. You said it--riding on ice would be easier to master. In fact, it IS easier to master--but rollers have their rewards.

Take all of the advice in this thread. Give it a week or two, and you'll be feeling pretty comfortable. Then check out something fun like American Flyers or Two Seconds, sit back (so to speak) and ride your way through the film.

Have fun!
re: roller newbie needs helpCraigVM
Apr 4, 2002 7:55 PM
I have had my rollers for just over a week and can only say that the advise others have given here is what has helped me to be up and "rolling" I can now pretty much stay up for 15 to 20 min. before I need to take advantage of having them set up in a door way. I am even clipped in. I find I do need to keep my mind on what I am doing. As far as watching TV or a great Cycling film on Video. I would only suggest watching it on a TV set up on the floor maybe 4 feet in front of the bike, angled up so you can see it. That way your front tire "and front roller" are in your field of vision. I find that when I look up and or off to the side, then I loose my center on the rollers. The hardest part for me is now getting on and off the bike in bike shoes because of the height of the bike when on the rollers. Stick with it. It's worth it
Make sure the wheelbase is set right & don't freak yourself outKLM
Apr 4, 2002 9:31 PM
If the front drum is adjustable, which it should be, make sure your bike's front wheel axle is about 1/4" to 1/2" behind the front roller centerline. If it's off by an inch or two either way it makes riding MUCH harder. Having enough tire pressure is also improtant.

After you're sure everything is set up right just overcome your fear and go for it. I think what happens to most people that have problems with rollers is they just "freak themselves out." Remember, although your computer says you're going 25mph you're really not moving at all. So what if one wheel slides of the drum. Big deal. It's only a few inches to the floor (carpet). Since you're not moving you have no momentum, so you'll just stop. You will need to be able to clip out quickly though. For that reason you may want to practice in your regular shoes until you get uesed to it.

I started the same as you did with one hand on the kitchen counter. Seemed to work ok for me. Although, the idea of being in a doorway or hallway would allow you to start with both hands on the bars and just lean over to get away from the wall. What ever you do don't give up. The benefits of rollers are huge over stationary trainers. After a few hours on rollers you will find that you are able to hold a much straighter line on the road. You will feel like you are much more in control. Keep it up!

re: roller newbie needs helpScot_Gore
Apr 4, 2002 9:39 PM

My first time on the rollers I never let go of the wall in the entire 20 minute ride. After that ride, I was skeptical of EVER being able to do it. But, I kept at it and after about 6 wall hugging rides had mastered the feel and was able to pedal away until the lungs gave out.

Now, I'm able to watch TV (I even reach over and grab the remote), play tag with the roller cap and other stuff to take the edge off.

I started on flats. I rode that way for about 6 weeks, then screwed on the Speedplays. You can probably go quicker than that, I was just careful. Frankly, the thing that gave me the most confidence was when I got a little bored and fell off the edge. It wasn't a great calamity. I got a foot down and kept me and the bike off the floor. Shortly after that I dropped the clipless on and have begun to learn what they mean by pedaling in circles.

BTW: don't fall for the myth of the accelerating bike in a roller run off. In my experience, when you roll off, you go left or right, forward is not part of the equation.

So, have confidence, by this time next week you'll be cruising.

Good Luck
when should i think about rollers?nyedid
Apr 4, 2002 10:28 PM
i'm just getting into road riding, but have a time period here in the winter when i can't ride on the roads (santa fe has the WORST roads, and they just get worse and worse during the winter). i want to find something i can do indoors but don't want to have a huge adjustment period in the late fall. would getting rollers right now be a mistake? would i just get bad habits, or do rollers force the rider to improve? if someone could explain to me the basic idea of rollers and roller training i'd be grateful.
when should i think about rollers?Scot_Gore
Apr 5, 2002 5:28 AM
The most compelling reason to consider getting rollers now is that most retailers have them on sale since their (sort of) a winter item.

Your ride skills will improve riding rollers. If you have any bad habits they are more apparent on rollers. While riding rollers everything has an exaggerated feel. For example, uneven pedal stokes that you don't notice on road feel like they're going to toss you to the floor on rollers.

I'm in Minnesota, so winter riding is difficult for me as well. The rollers let you stay accustumed to your bike in the off season.

Also, be warned, it's not all fun and games. Once your over mind numbing fear from this "devils instrument" it can get pretty boring. I've ridden everyday since Jan 1st and I'm about stir crazy. I've got to get some outdoor riding in soon, but the white stuff continues to fall (7" on Monday). 40 somethings today, so maybe we've seen the last of it.

If you buy rollers, in general you get what you pay for.
Lots of money = quiet and smooth
Little money = load and jittery.


Have faith...Stampertje
Apr 4, 2002 11:58 PM the end, it's not that hard.
- I didn't have any suitable doorways so I initially set mine up in the hall, which is fairly confined. I found that trying to hold on to the wall just made me lean the wrong way. Better to try and let go as soon as possible and maybe have to put a foot down after one or two seconds. After a couple of tries I got up to 10, then 30, and if you can do 30 seconds it just becomes a matter of holding your concentration.
- Try to look ahead. I kept my eyes fixed on the (closed) door 6 feet ahead. If you have a full length mirror (or even a window if it's dark outside) set yourself up so that you can see your own image straight ahead. I didn't use this initially but it's helped me ride slowly (which is much harder than going fast). Still can't trackstand, on or off rollers.
- Trust the bike. It's not going to do anything funny. As said before, if you do fall you'll go sideways, not forward, and if your not clipped in that shouldn't be a problem.
- Put an old sheet underneath the rollers if you value your floor. The amount of crap that comes off a bicycle tyre is unbelievable...
re: roller newbie needs helpDuane Gran
Apr 5, 2002 4:57 AM
Some advice:

* If you have a mirror near a wall it is helpful to ride facing the mirror. In this way you can look forward and micro adjust without staring downward. This is more comfortable.

* Don't grip the bars with a death grip. This makes for over compensation. I often lightly place my palms on the top bar.

* It is easier when clipped in. Afterall, this is how you normally ride on the road. One time I almost came off the rollers, but my foot was out of the cleat well before I went down.
re: roller newbie needs help-real newbie relates his experiencerrodrigz
Apr 5, 2002 6:10 AM
I am 47 yrs old and just started riding in august. I started rollers in January. I suggest you pad the sides of the rollers in the beginning as i hit my iliac crest bone on those side bars on my first fall and it hurt like the dickens. I leant against a column with my shoulder as it allowed me to keep both hands on the handlebar as I was learning.If I got unstable I would just lean over and touch the column with my shoulder to regain balance. Don't be intimidated by all these bike experts who tell you you'll get used to it in no time. For the first month I used to be able to do no more than a few minutes at a time without needing to balance myself. One day I just kept going. Just relax, it will come to you whenever, don't try to rush it. Finally, pad your handlebar well. The limiting factor now is hand numbness. Having said all this, I love the rollers, as they have given me the skills to ride in crits(OK, class 5, but hey, you gotta start somewhere) and hang with the pack.
re: roller newbie needs help-real newbie againrrodrigz
Apr 5, 2002 7:23 AM
Just thought of another thing. Don't try to right yourself or steer with the handlebar as you'll overcorrect.Rather use your upper body to lean slightly in the direction you want to go, and "Think" where you want to turn, just that minimal amount of handlebar turning will do the trick.
Looking at a TV is also a good idea as looking at the wheels encourages swerving and overcorrection. On the other hand, the first time I watched a TDF video for "inspiration" I got all disoriented unconsciously "following" the riders when the camera was right behind them. Hope this helps.
Everything Gonna Be Alrightdjg
Apr 5, 2002 8:04 AM
You'll get the hang of it quicker than you think.

The doorway suggestion is a good one. What I found useful--periodically during the first ride (after the first 5 minutes of hell) and in the first few minutes of the next several--was the ability to steady myself a bit just by flaring out one elbow or another to dab on the door posts.

And I wouldn't look straight down at the roller--pick a few spots along a center line out in front of the bike so you can look back and forth without pulling your head (and balance) to one side or another.

You know, in a week or so all this advice will be moot--you'll just have the hang of it.

Good luck.