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Suggestions for rollers?(16 posts)

Suggestions for rollers?Brian T
Oct 2, 2002 5:43 AM
Just picked up some rollers for the winter, and don't know whether the problems I'm having are normal, or just due to my bad form. Basically, I can't stay on these thing for more than ten seconds without slipping off. Maybe a regular trainer is better?
Oct 2, 2002 5:52 AM
Try faster/lower gears. Some people recommend high gear. For me it was much easier to learn in 30x24.
If you can ride on the road, you should be able to master rollers.
re: Suggestions for rollers?DougSloan
Oct 2, 2002 6:10 AM

Higher wheel speeds help. I put a strip of bright yellow duct tape around the outsides of the front roller -- helps to easily spot getting close to the edge. Other than that, all I can suggest is practice and think smooth.

focal pointSteve_0
Oct 2, 2002 6:20 AM
dont be looking down at the rollers; look at a point in front of you. Keeps you from attempting corrections, which results in over-corrections, which results in slipping off.

Maybe clean your ears out too?
Hands & HipsTrekFurthur
Oct 2, 2002 6:28 AM
most instability comes from riding heavy-handed. Keep your hands on the bar tops, rather than on the hoods or in the drops, as your hands will influence your handling less on the tops. Try to think about keeping your weight centered in your hips and spinning those feet a little faster. Also, don't fight to correct the bike, esp. with your hands; just lean it a little out of your hips.

In the paceline next spring, you'll be wondering why everyone weaves all over the place, and it'll drive you nuts!
You experience - 100% Normal - Keep at it.Scot_Gore
Oct 2, 2002 6:58 AM
I've never heard anyone say, "got my rollers, hopped on and rode problem". Search this topic in the archives, you'll see lots of folks saying "like riding on ice" and "never thought I'd get it" and "total fear" and "I was never able to let go of the wall".

You will get this with practice, and it will be FUN, until about mid November, then it will be mind numbing and you'll be wondering how you're going to make it to spring.

BTW: if not doing this already, find something to hold onto and remain on the rollers vs slipping off. Set them up in a doorway, a nice solid table, whatever.

Good Luck

re: Suggestions for rollers?FTMD
Oct 2, 2002 7:06 AM
I just got rollers too. I set them up in the basement by a pole. I've got about 10 workouts on mine now. I wrecked the first few, but have kept upright since. I keep the pole on my left side. The base of the rollers is about 4 or 5 inches from the poll. I find myself slightly brushing against the poll occasionally for balance, but less and less.

The comment about weight on the hands is valid. I have a much harder time keeping it straight and smooth if I;m on the hoods or in the drops as opposed to the tops. Heck, I even peddled about a solid minute last night no handed, and 2 weeks ago I would have thought that impossible.

So, for me, it's having a crutch (poll) and practice. I hope to move them out into the open floor in the next week or so.

Good luck.
re: Suggestions for rollers?ghoss
Oct 2, 2002 7:24 AM
A doorway or a wall works the best. When you feel yourself slipping off of the rollers lean against the doorway/wall.
Soon you will be a master and when you least expect it.... you will be on the ground (lapse of concentration!).
Keep at it.

The nice thing about a doorway is it offers two kinds of supportdjg
Oct 2, 2002 11:03 AM
I took up rollers again last winter after about 10 years without them. I still have the fluid trainer and an old mag unit, but I almost never use them. The first 5 or 10 minutes on the rollers were hell. Even though I'd mastered them (well, a different diameter) once before, it FELT like I'd never get it. I thought I'd wasted my money. Bad words were spoken. Now I love 'em. No problems. Like so many things in life, the important thing is not to panic.

Here's what's good about a doorway: if you truly panic, you have something you can actually grab. On the other hand, although the learning curve is pretty steep, there's still a middle ground between panic and comfort. In that middle ground, it's good to be able to make a supporting move that doesn't involve a big weight shift or lunge or grab. With a doorpost available, you can flare out an elbow on either side for a little support or guidance when you're anywhere from a little rough and wobbly to pretty darn sloppy on the things. This enables you to get help while still spinning--bailing is sometimes necessary, but it doesn't help train you to do anything but bail. You learn (your body learns) by staying up, somehow, however crudely, and finding--gradually at first, and then not-so-gradually--a smoother spin and a better line. You don't learn by getting off.

I never fell getting back into it. And now I don't worry about it.

Have a little faith. Most everyone who rides can get this. And for most everyone who gets it, the first time up seems downright impossible. Maybe the second or third. Find a doorway, wear a helmet until you know what's up, look forward, not down, spin, spin, spin, and trust the force(s).

Good luck.
re: Suggestions for rollers?joekm
Oct 2, 2002 7:45 AM
Your problems are normal. Stay with it if you can. Lose the clipless pedals while you are learning, just to be safe (I think you can get toe clips that attach to them if you don't want to remove the pedals outright). Also, make sure you are next to a wall or in a doorway so you can catch yourself. Finally, rather than watch the front wheel's position on the rollers, try to pick a fixed point on the floor to focus on maybe 4 feet ahead or so. If you can just pick up the front wheel out of your periphial vision, that sould be all you need. Concentrate on aiming for the fixed point rather than trying to correct the front wheel.

I had the same problem but, eventually, I was able to balance. It's just a matter of time.
Trust the bike. That's what I had to learn. The bike wants tobill
Oct 2, 2002 8:20 AM
go straight; the rider tends to want to mess it up.
Good advice above on how not to mess it up.
par for the coursemr_spin
Oct 2, 2002 8:32 AM
It took me a while to get comfortable riding rollers, but it will come if you stick with it. Here are some tips:

- When starting out, it's a lot easier if you get into a big gear as quickly as possible (start low, quickly shift up). As someone else said, higher wheel speeds help. The rotational inertia of the wheels will help keep you in place. Once you get comfortable, you can mess with lower gears. To this day, I still get into a big gear when I start, just to help get comfortable, then I might drop down after 30 seconds or so.

- Do not look at your front wheel. It's hard, because that's what you probably want to do. Don't do it, and you will ride fine. Setup in front of a TV, watch the TV.

- Don't worry about crashing. I used to freak out about falling off, until one day I accidentally rode off the rollers. The opposite of what you think will happen is what happens. I figured the bike would shoot across the room, but instead, it didn't move at all. The bike just stood in place, I clicked out, and there was no problem at all.
BUT, you do have to worry about going sideways, and youbill
Oct 2, 2002 11:18 AM
should be careful about what you may fall on.
This is the way it happens. You either start to wobble, or you're going fine only to discover that you're too close to the edge to countersteer back to the center. You either overcorrect or you just can't do anything at all. If you lose it from wobbling, the wheel skids out and you fall sideways (oppositely from the direction of the skid). If you lose it from lacking room enough to countersteer, you just fall over.
Doorways are great for this, because you can't go too far. There have been cases of people, deeply experienced people, who got careless and fell over and hit their heads on sharp furniture. A guy, an experienced racer in Northern Virginia, died a couple of years ago.
Be careful. Mr. Spin is right that you won't shoot forward (if anyone tells you otherwise, you can be pretty confident either that they live in a parallel universe with different laws of physics or that they are truth-challenged), but you do still need to watch what you can fall on sideways. My first attempt was in a room with about $15,000 worth of guitars sitting alongside of me, because I was worried about going forward, not sideways. Fortunately all I did was leave a sizeable gouge in the floor.
re: Suggestions for rollers?idk
Oct 2, 2002 8:44 AM
Check to see if your front wheel axel is just behind the centerpoint of the front roller axel. You should be within
.5 inch for best stability/results.
re: Suggestions for rollers?Oneheart
Oct 2, 2002 8:51 AM
Great ideas listed above. No clipless shoes to start, hands on top bars, look out in front, get up some wheel speed, have something close to lean on. I was lucky to have a pocket door (door that slides into the wall) in going into my kitchen. I slid the pocket door out to be within a few inches of my elbow on one side (then shimmed it open) and the door frame on the other... that way I could reach out with either elbow to stabilize myself. You could set up some kind of pole in a doorway to do the same thing. Stay with it... when you get it right (practice) there's nothing that helps your line and smoothness more. Good luck!
One beginner to another.MXL02
Oct 2, 2002 1:05 PM
I just started. I tried just using the wall but couldn't do it. Using the doorway was the key. Haven't been able to give up the doorway yet, but I get smoother every time.
Like everybody else says: Don't think about balancing the bike, think about smooth pedal stroke, light hands, and focus on something in front of you. It will amaze you how fast you pick it up.