I just got some rollers for my road bike and I’m scared to death of them. I was so excited when Leah brought them home Friday that I immediately jumped on the bike to give it a try.
First, though, a little background. I read on a number of forums that riding a carbon frame bike on a trainer was a bad idea due to the torsional forces associated with cycling. My structural engineering understanding certainly backs this up and, not wanting to ruin a $2K road bike frame, I decided to skip the trainer the past two winters.
Roller trainers, on the other hand, do not put any more lateral stress on a bicycle frame than simple road riding so I resolved to make the switch from a rear wheel resistance trainer to rollers. I had witnessed my buddy Eric riding rollers back in college and it seemed pretty easy so I asked Leah to see what she could find.
The rollers Leah found were beautiful and really light and compact. The drums appear to be aluminum with tiny lines etched around the circumference of the drum to increase lateral resistance (though not enough in my opinion, seems like rubber may be a better choice).
Anyway, I set the trainer up in front of our dining room table so I could grab onto the arched entryway into the dining room for balance as I got started. Leah was worried I was too close to the table and had visions of me coming off the trainer and riding straight into the table. Getting started wasn’t difficult, however, letting go of the wall was. It was so tough to find the right cadence that kept me riding in a straight line but not spinning so fast I couldn’t keep up. After finding my rhythm, I slowly let go of the wall and quickly began sliding from edge to edge on the rollers. Leah said I looked like I was riding on ice and that’s truly what it felt like. The instructions said it’s best to look straight ahead and not at the wheel in front to keep balance and that turned out to be great advice. An even better idea would be to paint a straight line on the floor to concentrate on.
I still haven’t attempted a full workout on the rollers and I’m still debating whether that first workout will be with clipless pedals or not. Leah suggested trying the rollers with my mountain bike to get comfortable and that seems like good advice, though I don’t think my knobbies would work well on the smooth rollers. Anyone use rollers for their mountain bike?