Today, I’m going to review how to ride rollers. Now, riding rollers is not like riding an exercise bike. You can do a lot of things wrong on an exercise bike and not fall over. The same can’t be said of riding rollers.
All too often, I’ll see riders at the gym bouncing all over the seat, wiggling their shoulders, and bobbing their heads. On rollers, as well as on the road for that matter, all that extra movement translates down into the bike and hurts your balance and forward momentum.
When riding rollers, you want quiet hips, soft elbows and shoulders, and a still head. Don’t over do it and ride like Frankenstein. Be still not stiff. You don’t want to create a lot of forward and back motion either. You’ll pull the back wheel off the rollers.
Your pedal stroke is also important when riding rollers. Don’t be a stomper. If your pedal stroke is simply up and down, you’re going to have a very bumpy ride on rollers. Watch what happens to the back wheel when I pedal with a stiff up and down motion (See Video). Gas on. Gas off.
You don’t want a dead spot in your pedal stroke. Think of it this way… You need just enough back pressure to help your upper foot over the top. This will result in a more efficient pedal stroke and a smoother ride on rollers.
How to get started? Position you rollers next to a sturdy chair, counter, or table. You’ll need something to steady yourself when you first get going and when you finish. Whatever you use, you don’t want it to be too low, too far away, or too flimsy.
A swivel chair is probably not a good idea, this chair is a bit too low and/or too far away, lawn chairs are not recommended, and children are unpredictable. 😉
You can’t really glide on rollers, so get clipped in first. With one hand on the handle bars and one hand to steady yourself, start pedaling. Once you get up to speed, practice lifting the hand. Then, set it back down. Lift your hand. Set it back down. Repeat as needed. When you feel comfortable, transfer your hand to the handle bars. Before moving forward with your workout, practice stopping. Steady yourself first, then stop pedaling.
Let’s watch again from a different angle. First, I set the bike in the middle of the rollers. The counter top is easily within arms reach. I mount the bike and clip in. Then, I start pedaling. Once I get up to speed, I transfer my hand to the handlebars. When I’ve completed my workout, I reach for the counter top before I stop pedaling.
On a final note, avoid distractions. Don’t be looking up and down, and all around, or you’ll quickly find yourself off the rollers and on the ground. Happy safe riding!