A beginners guide to riding the rollers
So, Black Friday made me buy rollers. It was such an impulse purchase! They arrived early December, and sat in the box for nearly two months. I was way too nervous to get on them. Soon I decided it was make or break time. Get on them or sell them. Choosing to ignore the YouTube clips of people flying off them and into walls, I got my determined head on and had a go. Hey presto, it worked! Granted it was a touch wobbly, but I love them and look forward to using them more.
Here are my top tips for getting going:
- Find a Doorway. Place the rollers in a doorway, with your handlebars level to the doorframe. Ideally have your 'wall' hand on non hinge side of the frame.
- Floor area. Make sure this is clear and as even as possible to give the rollers a stable base
- Gearing. Make sure the bike is in a mid range gear- the rollers get the wheels spinning pretty quickly so you will want some power behind you from the off.
- Shoes. I recommend using your regular cycling shoes, clipped in. It's less tempting to put your feet down as you get going.
- Getting on. Place the bike centrally on the rollers. Lean it away from you and clip in one side. With one hand gently touching the brake lever, and the other hand on the wall/doorway, gently raise yourself into the saddle and clip in. Keep your hand on the wall and start pedalling at a reasonably high cadence. There is no need to start off slowly, the bike will balance better at a higher speed. Look ahead of you as if you were on the road. Relax your arms and engage your core. Breathe!!
- Pedalling. Try and keep things smooth. Play with the gears until you feel a comfortable rhythm. Don't forget to breathe...
- Hand off the wall. This takes time- don't rush it! I started by gently taking my hand off the wall but keeping it close so I could grab the wall if I needed to. With a couple of goes you can move your hand to the handlebars. It is important to relax your arms.
- Stopping. Don't touch the brakes. Place on hand on the wall. Stop pedalling and let the bike freewheel to a natural stop. Unclip, get off and give yourself a massive pat on the back.
I will aim to practice little and often, getting my confidence up and my balance spot on. As I progress I will practice single hand drills, taking a bottle out of the cage and replacing, and working up and down the gears. After writing this I saw a YouTube clip of a girl on rollers cooking a full breakfast [https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ybFvomdhW2Y] ... I think I need to practice before I attempt that...Good luck!
About Beth Hodge
Beth is passionate about cycling, and in particular, about getting more girls riding. She rides and races at an amateur level across many disciplines including MTB, cyclocross, road racing and track, and is women's secretary of one of the largest cycling clubs in the UK, Dulwich Paragon CC. She gives talks, blogs about her adventures and hosts rides. Beth is always planning the next big thing and is inspired by girls getting out there and finding their confidence on a bike.
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