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Starting on Rollers(8 posts)

Starting on RollersMSA
May 16, 2002 11:47 AM
I've been avoiding them for as long as I can, but someone actually gave me a set of rollers and told me to get with it. So now I have no excuses. My brother told me to put it in a doorway, put the bike on and start pedaling until I feel the gyro effect of the wheels. Any of you racers out there have any specific instructions or advice, especially on how to do this without destroying myself, my house, or most importantly, my bike?
re: Starting on Rollerscurlybike
May 16, 2002 12:00 PM
Put it in the 53(52)-16(15) in a doorway and get all centered up. You may want to have someone grab the seatpost to stabilize your start the first couple of times. Get on the bike and spin the gear up pretty quick. The faster you spin the tires the better. Make sure the rollers are spaced properly. The center of the ft. wheel should not be past the center of the front roller. You will have to work on smoothness and calmness on the bike. All corrections must be small and smooth.
re: Starting on Rollersfirstrax
May 16, 2002 1:29 PM
Same as above but align your elbos with the doorway. Press your elbows out against the doorway. This will keep you upright. Bring your elbows down when comfortable.
to continue a theme here, you must trust the force. You have tobill
May 16, 2002 1:49 PM
STAY RELAXED. Keep your upper body loose. Let the bike track -- believe it or not (and trust me, you won't believe it, at least at first), the bike will track. If you do not relax your grip, you will surely go down. Well, come to think of it, you're going to go down, so get used to the idea.
Tips on going down -- no matter what some of the cowboys on this board have said, you will fall to the side, which, if you haven't planned properly, will be every bit as dramatic as any other way you might envision falling, but you WILL NOT, contrary to popular belief, go forward one iota. You will burn the rug as the tire grinds to a halt and your limbs will flail as you teeter only to crash in a heap now that you've FINALLY got your cleats out, but you will not go forward. You can have the Mona Lisa in front of you, perched inches from your wheel, and it would be safe.
So, you only have to worry about what you will fall on to the side. And do worry about it. You might just fall over, or you might, remarkably more dramatically, slide out, so that your wheels slice out laterally while you fall over, with your wheels demolishing whatever odd pieces of cheap (even if was expensive, it's cheap now) furniture in its path. Mostly, watch your head, because you can get hurt. So, make sure that (a) you've got something to grab onto (you need something to grab onto to get onto the things, anyway), and (b) if you're going to fall, you don't have anything expensive and/or hard to break your fall.
All that aside, it's actually fun. I look forward to my roller rides, in a twisted sort of way.
May 16, 2002 6:37 PM
This sounds pretty much like I expected. Also sounds like something to do with my older, less expensive bike, at least in the beginning.
re: Starting on RollersStampertje
May 16, 2002 11:22 PM
The steps in the doorways at my house are too tall to set up the rollers between them - just a wall to the left did the trick. Best thing I did was *not* trying to support myself against the wall. Try not to look down at the front roller, either, but just a little farther ahead. Imagine you're in a paceline and looking at the bracket or front hub of the bike in front of you.
I'm not a racer. But my advice anyway...SteveO
May 17, 2002 6:43 AM
forget the doorway:

1. The door jamb is an awfully small target to aim for when you're panicking and trying to catch yourself.
2. The door jamb hurts.

Try using the back of a couch. Perfect height. Nice, Big target. (fairly) soft if you miss.
My redundant advicedjg
May 17, 2002 7:05 AM
(hey, if three of us say the same thing it must be right, oui?)

Overall: as in so many things in life, the important thing is not to panic. Be prepared to really, really suck at this for the first five or ten minutes. It is no indication of your ability to ride rollers--you'll learn, and you'll be fine.

The doorway--good advice, IMO, for several reasons. First, as you're learning, it's nice to have the frame/jamb for mounts, dismounts, and quick adjustments. Also, as you're learning, it's nice to be able to seek support by just flaring out an elbow a bit--that keeps you in the game, and learning, whereas grabbing something for help means "try again."

As others said: gradual adjustments, look ahead, and keep pedaling. A high rpm, in and of itself doesn't keep you up (as you need to actually turn the drums, and a high rpm in a really low gear doesn't give you enough travel). OTOH, you do need to choose an easy enough gear that you can spin right off--mashing, standing, pedaling squares, etc. are not really the point of rollers and won't generally work (although some practiced folks can stand a bit).

As Bill said, if you fall off you won't go very far so you won't destroy your house (unless you've got a particularly sensitive part of the house within a foot of the rollers). And it's highly unlikely that you'll destroy your bike either. One recommendation about the bike: I'd go for a sweat net, or some substitute--you're gonna sweat riding these things even with a fan (and I drop buckets without), so my first concern about the bike would be avoiding a daily bath of electrolytes. As for yourself: you might not fall at all. Don't set up by glass tables or other obvious hazards and, if you're concerned, wear a helmet--certainly, it is possible to fall and while you don't have to worry about actually travelling at 25 mph there is that old acceleration of gravity thing working if you fall over (ok, it's also working if you don't fall over, but you get my drift).

Good luck, stick with it, you'll get it, and you'll appreciate what a good thing it is when you do.