That’s How You Roll
Riding rollers can help you maintain your fitness, smooth out your pedal stroke, and perfect your balance on the bike. Are you sold on this indoor training method yet? Here’s how to get started. – By Jennifer Ward Barber
1. Get support
Set up next to something sturdy, like a doorway, workbench, or table. The key is to support yourself at a height that’s roughly the same as your handlebar, to stay stable when you’re grabbing or letting go, says three-time Olympic road cyclist John Howard.
2. Get started
Instead of placing your bike on the rollers first, move the bike next to them, straddle the top tube, and lift the rear wheel into position. Then bring the front wheel up. Grab your bench/table/doorway, sit on the saddle, and start pedalling right away while still holding on.
3. Get up to speed
If you pedal too slowly, it’s hard to stay upright. Find a gear in the middle of your range, and try to get to 80rpm quickly, Howard advises. As you increase your cadence, gradually take your hand off the workbench or door frame.
4. Loosen your grip
Gripping the handlebar will cause the front wheel to twitch. Instead, back off, and use a light touch to keep the bar facing ahead, says Howard. Focus your eyes on the rollers; looking elsewhere makes it harder to stay in the centre, and is an advanced skill.
5. Take it easy
Learn on flat pedals or wear running shoes on clipless pedals, suggests Dotsie Bausch, 2012 Olympic silver medallist. This allows you to put a foot down quickly if you need to. And “the more you relax,” she says, “the smoother you’re going to be.”
Ready to wrap up? Slow your pedal stroke, and when you feel like you’re losing your balance, reach over to your support, says Howard. Stop pedalling, and put both feet down on the sides of the rollers before you bring your leg up and over to dismount.