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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-15-10, 01:37 PM   #1
CliftonGK1
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Giving rollers another chance

After a bad experience with rollers many years ago, I'm ready to give them another chance. I just ordered a set of Nashbar Parabolic rollers, so I ought to get them in a week or so.

Aside from setting them up in a doorway at first, and looking forward instead of down, what other tips do any of the roller gurus have for me?
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Old 01-15-10, 03:51 PM   #2
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Never tried em, the only advice I have would be to not look up any of the roller videos on youtube!
Btw, I should be getting a ton of yellow jersey pin-ups to sell from the ADA any day. Jumpstart the fundraising...
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Old 01-15-10, 03:55 PM   #3
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Best advice I can offer is to relax. It will be strange at first. Also, I have mine set up next to a wall, and nothing on the other side (in case I should "fall" I won't hit anything, although I never have my wife did once). You will probably be tense at first, and will over compensate when starting out. Rollers are fun, but they do take a bit of time to adjust. I have some older (like 25 years old) Krietlers with a fan attachment for resistence. It works..
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Old 01-15-10, 07:27 PM   #4
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Best advice I can offer is to relax.
+1 I found when starting out that relaxing the grip...to the point of just resting my palms on them seemed to help.
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Old 01-15-10, 10:11 PM   #5
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Clifton, When I first got mine I set them up between the bed and the wall. That worked really well. If I come off for some reason it was a soft landing. Before too long you'll be a pro! The only time I have a problem anymore is when I'm not paying attention and ride off the rollers, when I'm riding with no hands (to clean my glasses) or doing some other dumb thing I shouldn't be doing.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:58 AM   #6
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I had mine set up between the couch & the wall. I couldn't really fall anywhere.

Now I just use one wall & nothing on the other side.

Relax is the best advice. Don't grip too tight & don't oversteer. Oh yeah, and pick a relatively hard gear. A little more resistance will make you more stable - especially at first.

Have fun!!!
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Old 01-16-10, 09:41 AM   #7
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Oh yeah, and pick a relatively hard gear. A little more resistance will make you more stable - especially at first.

Have fun!!!
I may have to change the gearing on my fg, then. I've got a really easy hill-climbing gear ratio right now (mid 60s)
If I swap my 18t for a 15t cog, it will be 78 gear inches which might be better.
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Old 01-16-10, 09:45 AM   #8
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The faster you ride on the rollers the easier it is. Similar to on the road, when you are slowing down, your balance is more of an issue. Then you can work on other things. As an example, starting off at 10 mph on the rollers, you will wobble more compared to 20 mph.

Set up in a doorway, and spin at a great cadence and have fun with the workout.

You need to give your butt a break, because you will not stand like you do on the road.

HAVE FUN!!!
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Old 01-16-10, 10:00 AM   #9
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Place them in a door way, you have something to bump on either side.
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Old 01-16-10, 10:30 AM   #10
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The faster you ride on the rollers the easier it is. Similar to on the road, when you are slowing down, your balance is more of an issue. Then you can work on other things. As an example, starting off at 10 mph on the rollers, you will wobble more compared to 20 mph.

Set up in a doorway, and spin at a great cadence and have fun with the workout.

You need to give your butt a break, because you will not stand like you do on the road.

HAVE FUN!!!
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Place them in a door way, you have something to bump on either side.
One of the videos I watched online had a great platform setup on either side of the roller frame: A "street-level" decking platform so you can still put a foot down, and a PVC grab handle for balance. While I don't have the space for the setup he had in his training center, I might construct something smaller for myself when I graduate from the doorway.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:39 PM   #11
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I still ride in a doorway, even though it is 60" wide and bi-fold doors. I will take pictures of the setup and post it up later if I get pictures taken.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:44 PM   #12
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i found the drops much easier than starting on the tops of the bars or hoods... the closer to the center of the bar my hands got, the squirlier i felt...

rode 5 miles the first day i had them.... there were a couple breaks in there, but we made it
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Old 01-16-10, 08:58 PM   #13
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All good advice - relax, high speed, look forward, use a doorway.

I would add to start out with no distractions. No TV, and preferably nobody around.
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Old 01-16-10, 10:22 PM   #14
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The pictures are not great, but gives you an idea of where my bike and rollers are setup. The front wall is where I watch DVD's while on the rollers. Until you are somewhat used to the rollers I would suggest to not watch movies. Sometimes I start leaning while watching movies and it doesn't usually do anything more than I hit the stops on the sides of the roller setup.
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Old 01-19-10, 04:10 PM   #15
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Set up in a doorway so a slight elbow movement can keep you centered
Look 10 or 20 feet ahead to where you're going -- NOT down at the front wheel

Think about how much faster you'll be on the road after roller riding has taught you to focus all your energy on going forward, instead of the side-to-side wobble of most cyclists.

From the Kreitler site...
"I ran off the rollers and got zapped into the wall" or "I ran off the rollers and ran right through the doorway." Does this sound familiar?

Unfortunately this is what the non-roller rider hears. These kinds of statements are just plain silly. Common sense (and physics) will tell you that bicycle wheels cannot and do not store enough energy to propel the bicycle in any direction, forward or backward, in the event you run off the rollers, period!

Roller riding has the potential for teaching you balance, control, style, smoothness and form. If the thought of riding rollers scares you, here are some hints to help you overcome those fears and put you on the road to becoming an accomplished roller rider.

Find a narrow doorway. Set up the rollers with your bike in place on them. In setting them up, be sure to properly adjust the front roller drum to fit your bike. The axle of the front roller should be just forward of the axel of the front wheel of your bicycle (not to exceed 3/4").

With your hands on the bars (the top of the drops), your elbows should now be in line with the door jamb so that if you move too far to the left or right you can simply move your elbow toward the door jamb for support without taking your hands off the bars.

The most important first step is to learn steering! Do not pedal any faster than your ability to steer (which means not running off the rollers). As you master the steering, you can increase your speed, but not until. Do not "lock in" or use any binding on your shoes/pedals.

Another hint: Don't stare at the front drum! Look at an object on the floor placed far enough in front of you so that your lower peripheral vision will enable you to see the relationship of your front wheel and roller drum (to see if you are riding in the middle, left or right side of the rollers).

When you have reached the point where you find it necessary to touch the doorjamb only once or twice in your training session, move out of the doorway so as not to become psychologically entrapped.

Move to your favored place, be it a wall a post or maybe a fireplace mantle, with your favored side facing it.

Most cyclists over time learn to ride "no hands", dress and undress shirts and start-up in an open area without the assistance of a shoulder, stool or chair.

Roller riding can help you develop to a level not possible on the road.

You can fine tune your spin even further by using the Kreitler Forkstand, placing a chair under one leg and pedaling with the other (you must "lock in" to effectively do one leg training). You can get even more benefit if you use the "Killer KOOL Headwin Fan with the door wide open.

Use a stool, milk crate, or a sturdy box to help you get started on the rollers.

Always place rollers on a firm surface, in an open area away from obstructions, and keep children and pets away from all moving parts.

Use rollers with the same care you use when riding your bike. Always check equipment before use.

Keep tires inflated to manufacturer's rated pressure. Under inflated tires do cause a greater resistance due to tire flexing/scrub but can also cause rim cut around the valve.
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Old 01-19-10, 04:59 PM   #16
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From the Kreitler site...
"I ran off the rollers and got zapped into the wall" or "I ran off the rollers and ran right through the doorway." Does this sound familiar?

Unfortunately this is what the non-roller rider hears. These kinds of statements are just plain silly.
My previous roller failure involved riding off the side of the front drum, getting the wheel wedged between the drum and roller frame, falling over and bending my rim.
While I'm astonishingly uncoordinated, I do not possess the Merckxian power necessary to fire myself, rocket-like, down the hallway should I manage to jump the edge-stops on the new rollers.
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Old 01-22-10, 10:46 AM   #17
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I'm not typing this by pecking keys with a pencil clenched between my teeth, so I've managed not to mangle myself on the rollers last night.
There's some issue with uploading the video, and I'll hash that out later today, but here's the basic rundown:

- Unpacked rollers from box
- Adjusted front roller distance
- Set up rollers in doorway of bathroom
- Pointed VholdR at rollers to record the ensuing hilarity
- Did not record much hilarity

Apparently my balance isn't nearly as bad as I suspected, nor is my overall form. I remember looking at the power graphs from my bike fitting, and thinking "Geez, I've got some really uneven power generation through the 4 phases of my pedal stroke." It turns out that the uneven power generation doesn't translate directly to a jerky pedal stroke, though.
It took me about 90 seconds before I wasn't bumping into the doorframe for balance or positioning adjustments on the roller drums. I don't think it will be long before I'm ready to move them out of the doorway and just put a step bench on either side... maybe just a couple weeks before I'm feeling that cocky.

Video link will be posted once I get my upload issues squared away. Thanks, everyone; for all the helpful tips on roller riding. Especially the "don't look at the front drum" advice. That was the biggest difficulty for me; making myself look 10' forward so I could still see the wheel/drum in the periphery of my vision, but not to look down at it, which is when I'd bop myself into the doorframe.
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Old 01-22-10, 02:30 PM   #18
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i found the drops much easier than starting on the tops of the bars or hoods... the closer to the center of the bar my hands got, the squirlier i felt...
Beginners will probably want to try it both ways to see what works for them, as I have the exact opposite situation! Riding on the tops with hands close to the stem seems to minimize any erratic steering inputs and forces me to "steer" with balance.

Even after 1100 miles this fall and winter, I ride a straighter line while on the tops, though I make it a point to split my time between the positions on each "ride".

I LOVE the rollers, though. Last weekend I decided to dig out the old neglected trainer and have a go at it. BORING!
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Old 01-22-10, 04:55 PM   #19
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It wasn't quite as difficult as I remember from 15 years ago, when I had my first (bad) encounter which soured me to rollers for a decade and a half.

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Old 01-22-10, 08:57 PM   #20
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Relax, relax, relax.......and don't give up!!! Find a doorway with no distractions and some time to kill.... believe me, I'm a large guy with no motor skills and I learned to ride on them, so I KNOW you can. I have better luck on the tops with my pinky and thumbs extended along the bars for stability, but you'll soon figure out what keeps things on track. Did I say don't give up?
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Old 01-22-10, 10:45 PM   #21
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Relax, relax, relax.......and don't give up!!! Find a doorway with no distractions and some time to kill.... believe me, I'm a large guy with no motor skills and I learned to ride on them, so I KNOW you can. I have better luck on the tops with my pinky and thumbs extended along the bars for stability, but you'll soon figure out what keeps things on track. Did I say don't give up?
I'm pretty sure I got it down after the first 90 seconds or so of bobbling between the doorjambs.
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