Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: LaGrange Park, IL & St. Louis, MO
Bikes: '05 Specialized Allez, '08 Trek Madone 5.2 Pro
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I have both a set of rollers and a mag trainer, but I think they work well as compliments to one another.
The rollers are great for a road-like feel, improving your pedal stroke, and providing something "different". They definitely cannot provide as much resistance as a trainer, but it's not like you aren't going to get a work out. I personally just don't feel that they are very good for short duration intervals. They learning curve isn't as steep as you are led to believe. Learning in a doorway seems to be a great way to learn without any risk of falling. After doing that the first couple of times, you should be fine and able to ride without too much trouble. I disagree with your lbs about not being able to watch tv...I watched a movie this morning on the rollers and didn't have any trouble. Granted I'm fairly experienced with them, but with some practice, you should be fine.
I would still keep your trainer around. The trainer is great for shorter intervals, rides where you don't want to have to worry about balancing, and for rides where you don't want the "boys" to hurt as much.