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Classic bikes on classic Rollers - first time on rollers

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Classic bikes on classic Rollers - first time on rollers

Old 05-23-16, 07:16 PM
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Classic bikes on classic Rollers - first time on rollers

I've been intrigued about the notion of rollers - indoor cycling trainers. Recently I was able to borrow a set which, themselves, may be C&V as the sticker has the Al Kreitler name with the "310 West Wilson, Ottawa, KS" address. It appears that location shut down when Al past on in 2001. This rig has the 4.5 inch alloy rollers with the alloy (vs polycarbonate) end caps. Great bearings, good mass, quiet.

I've been on them a couple of times now and have not crashed yet. Pretty good huh? Today I had the Nishiki International up on them. I set them in the opening of the sliding door in my shop, door jam on one side and the sliding door locked into position in the other side - an opening about 6 inches wider than my shoulders. I kept the frequent advice in mind: get on up to speed, focus on an object about 4 to 6 feet ahead of the front wheel, light hands on the bars, near the stem, relax, relax, relax. It went well but these are the first times I've worn my helmet indoors. Crashing off the top of whirling rollers that are 6 inches off the floor would be too interesting. So far so good, a bit each day and its getting better and a bit longer and smoother.

I'll try the other bikes too - the Raleigh, the Cannondale, the frankenbike. I'll give it a go for a few weeks and we'll see if I really like the thing. It is a weird but cool feeling up there.

Anyone else rolling C&V on rollers?
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Old 05-23-16, 07:20 PM
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Gave that up a long time ago. Good of you to keep it alive.
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Old 05-23-16, 08:28 PM
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ROTFL! Rollers provide some great stories... and they do wonders to smooth one out. They do not suffer fools one wit.

I didn't use mine this year, because the PT place in town that ran a spinning class the prior Winter didn't do one this Winter. They all moved away from me when I showed up with my rollers. The others all had plastic or AL framed bikes, and some had no idea what rollers were. They all used the wimp-out trainers. Doesn't take a whit of skill to get a workout on trainers, but they do nothing to smooth one's riding style.

Some weeks into the program, when I'd not yet crashed or suffered some other embarrassing incident, I began asking if anyone would like to try them. Not one. Not a single one would take the challenge. Even after I successfully managed to stay upright (albeit off the rollers) after the rear tire blew out (I was expecting it, just didn't know when, and figured it would be pretty funny) not a single one was willing to try.

There was roller racing in one of the Cambridge, MA bike shops back in the early 80's. All the hot road bikies were there, and I brought over two top-flight BMX kids. I really had no idea what to expect from them. I don't recollect what they used for bikes, loaners from someplace or another. Man they were fast. Riding sans toeclips they had developed extremely smooth pedaling style, and blew the lot away.

But, for the true roller experience, you need to find a set of Cinelli rollers. Let us say that they were not balanced in any sense of the word, and were quite noisy as a result. I have a good story, but I'll wait to see what others have to offer.
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Old 05-23-16, 08:45 PM
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I'm intrigued.
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Old 05-23-16, 08:46 PM
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I bought a set 43 years ago. Set them up in the carport. A bit scary at first, but you get very smooth, fast. Great for leg speed. I took a while to be calm enough to shift with downtube shifters! A track bike is actually easier.
My first use ended up with me riding off the side, fortunately the non belt side. Then rode directly up and down the street. I could not believe how I could do jumps off the saddle and the bike was not moving around side to side.
Very good for form.
They get boring though.
Never became comfortable enough to ride no hands, I think to do that there was a trick of setting up the front roller in relation to the front axle center, no one would tell the secret.
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Old 05-23-16, 09:13 PM
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Yes, I have rollers. I ride them (usually on my Pinarello) occasionally but mostly use a CL bike I keep on a fluid trainer. Rollers are good for working cadence and balance and smoothness. Kinda of like boxers chasing chickens .

I would suggest having a spotter and running between a doorway so you can grab yourself or they can grab you until you get the method down. Or you will bust your rear and maybe some other important parts.
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Old 05-23-16, 09:39 PM
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Be careful! My 8th grade math teacher broke his arm and shoulder crashing into the wall after a roller mishap.

They used to sell retainers (i.e. big U-hooks that went around the seat post) to prevent serious crashes. I personally wouldn't ride rollers without something like that..
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Old 05-23-16, 09:53 PM
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Some people would not ride a bike without training wheels either. Yes, you can crash either way. And it is a little further down from the rollers. Anything that holds you on the roller sort of defeats some of the purpose. Rollers are not for an aerobic workout, they are for balance training and smoothness.
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Old 05-23-16, 11:01 PM
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I used to use them from time to time about 35 lbs ago, and as other suggested, ride them in a doorway to help you get started. You measure roller training by how long you stay on them, not how far or fast you go - it's hard to ride them slowly. I think I got up to 25 minutes once, and was depleted. It takes great concentration to stay on them, but when you hit the open rode you'll be amazed at the straight line you can take - you can stay on the white line on the edge of the rode for much longer.

Dang, now I'm thinking of getting a set again...
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Old 05-23-16, 11:14 PM
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Ahh, rollers, it's so much easier and safer to ride on a modern stationary system. Rollers are for fuddy-duddies and new, young modern cyclists that don't want to get to be better riders. One can go brain-dead on a stationary system, not so on rollers. Wow, you actually have to concentrate; imagine that?

Quite frankly I was never all that good on rollers. I think the longest I could was bout 10 minutes and I started to wobble...a lot. Get on the road ofter a session on rollers though and what the other post said is true. You will run a straighter line with less effort and concentration. It just happens out on the road.

That was back when I used to balance-train for my skiing on a Bongo Board......
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Old 05-23-16, 11:31 PM
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I only rode them one winter; after my head injury. It was suggested that I go to my former coworker's house and ride his until I could do an hour, then it would be OK for me to hit the road again. (My coworker's brother took on the task of being my guardian. Oversaw my first ride, the rollers, he or his brother got me a job at a bike shop and more. My quiet angel. Never said a work to me that he was doing all this. 30 years later I thanked him. His reply "That's just what friends do'")

I barely remember riding the rollers. I had no way of doing a before and after to judge improvement. But they certainly helped, probably a lot.
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Old 05-24-16, 06:52 AM
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I used to see them often many decades ago, but when I got back into riding 2 years ago I noticed nobody used them anymore. What happened to them - did those trainers you put the rear wheel of the bike into replace them? I've never used rollers myself.
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Old 05-24-16, 08:09 AM
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I had a set of Weyless rollers for quite a while. Perhaps this is something to learn while you are young, with good reflexes and the ability to heal quickly??

The Weyless rollers had steps that worked quite nicely for getting you started and for having to bail out when you drifted too close to the edge of the drums. I've been surprised that others didn't routinely offer similar steps.

As noted, rollers do reward a smooth pedaling style and strictly penalize a rough pedal stroke. Excessive upper body motion is similarly discouraged.

Oddly enough, I always thought it was easier to ride rollers no-hands than with hands. The hands are where you inadvertently apply erratic steering inputs (while reaching for a bottle, wiping sweat off of your brow, etc).
In my archives, I find that I have a photo of myself riding my Raleigh Gran Sport no-hands on the Weyless rollers in my folks' basement.....




Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-24-16, 08:56 AM
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When I first started working in the industry in the early 1970s roller exhibitions and races were a popular feature at the trade shows. Back then, you could only buy Cinelli or American Rollers. There was a boom in roller interest in the late 1970s, with new rollers coming from Kreitler, Artisian Tool & Die, MTD, San Gorgorgio and Cortina. Most of them had a stabilizer system for new riders.

It was also around this time that the first stationary trainers with wind resistance simulators started appearing from companies like Road Machine and Racer-Mate. This led to a format war between proponents of rollers ans stationary trainers. The roller crowd argued that rollers allowed you to maintain form and suppleness while the stationary trainer crowd countered with the strength training advantage of their wind load simulators. The smart people discarded the Racer-Mate stands and rode rollers with the Racer-Mate squirrel cages attached to their bicycle's seat post.

Over the past five decades I've gone though three sets of rollers. I used to train on them regularly and even rode them in exhibitions and races at trade shows. I could ride no-hands, even changing jersies while riding. However, I haven't ridden them since my son took up rowing. His ergometer now occupies the spot formerly used for my rollers.

Once, I almost dumped my bicycle, while riding rollers in front of a small crowd at a trade show. I was tag teaming with another member from our racing team and while riding we would converse with the spectators, answering their questions. My partner thought he would have some fun, being aware of recent incident that I had survived with a VW Bus. While I was in the midst of a conversation he yelled out, "Watch out, there's a VW Bus behind you!" I was startled and almost dumped the bicycle but my reflexes responded in the knick of time.
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Old 05-24-16, 09:15 AM
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I've had a set for years and use them a fair amount during the winter. I can do no hands, but standing up is another matter. So I do 30-40 mins before my butt says get off.

I have them next to my bench and use a little wooden stool for mounting/dismounting.

Two recommendations that apply for any sort of stationary riding: fan and tunes.
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Old 05-24-16, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post




Steve in Peoria
That Gran Sport looks pretty sweet! I had a friend that had one, and I was jealous as all get out. Am I correct in saying you replaced at least the rear derailleur? Sun Tour Cyclone?
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Old 05-24-16, 09:54 AM
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I have a set of Kreitlers that get used from time to time. Mostly in the winter. A single speed with fairly tall gear is used most on them. Haven't tried DT shifting on the rollers yet...

The steps on either side of the Weyless rollers above is a nice touch.


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Old 05-24-16, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
That Gran Sport looks pretty sweet! I had a friend that had one, and I was jealous as all get out. Am I correct in saying you replaced at least the rear derailleur? Sun Tour Cyclone?
I rode that Gran Sport for 14 years... definitely a good bike, with the usual Raleigh workmanship of the era.

The bike was purchased from the shop with only the brakes and cranks. The other original parts weren't that great, and I already had most parts in hand (SunTour Cyclone derailleurs, KKT ProAce pedals, wheels built up with Shimano hubs and Super Champion 58 rims, a Brooks Pro saddle, etc.

The Brooks Pro is currently serving on my '74 International and doing fine. The frame, cranks, and most other bits were sold to a friend in the late 80's when I got a custom frame made. The Weyless rollers stayed around much longer... I think it was just a few years ago when I sold them to a fellow in Chicago.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 05-24-16, 10:31 AM
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I have a pair that I've been riding on to get back into shape. I have a fork stand on them that I put there so that I would get used to it before transitioning out of them, but I haven't worked up the courage to do that yet.
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Old 05-24-16, 10:38 AM
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The rollers I had were IIRC called "State Aluminum". Anyone remember these? They were yellow painted aluminum rollers with a red steel frame. I rode these in my folks' basement also. Only fell off once, after spacing out after doing a hard interval workout.

BITD, if a new rider showed up for a club training ride and they were too squirrelly to ride a paceline, they were, um, 'encouraged' to ride rollers for a while.
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Old 05-24-16, 10:53 AM
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I have some Kreitlers rollers too. I usually ride them when weather does not cooperate with my Tommasini.
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Old 05-24-16, 10:53 AM
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I recall a story of some early rollers giving a helleva static electricity shock. Wooden rollers coated with a lead based paint. Believe they later used a ground wire somehow affixed to the rider.
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Old 05-24-16, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
They used to sell retainers (i.e. big U-hooks that went around the seat post) to prevent serious crashes. I personally wouldn't ride rollers without something like that..
Yup - you can actually see one in use in Breaking Away during the scene in which Dave is riding rollers in the rain at the car dealership.

I have a set of Kreitlers with alloy drums (I think they're the smaller 3.5"). Probably used them a dozen times. Like @repechage, it took me a few rides to get comfortable shifting and I never, ever tried no-hands. Best advice I got was to concentrate on a point on the opposite wall, about 4' from the deck. Worked great!

I never rode them enough to know if they had any effect on my smoothness. I got bored really quick. For warmups, I suppose they are okay, but for any real workout, not so much. I think they're best used for developing a smooth pedal stroke, but I prefer to be on a rolling road for that stuff.

Having said all that, I still have my rollers. I should get them out and see if they're still boring to ride

DD
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Old 05-24-16, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I had a set of Weyless rollers for quite a while. Perhaps this is something to learn while you are young, with good reflexes and the ability to heal quickly??

The Weyless rollers had steps that worked quite nicely for getting you started and for having to bail out when you drifted too close to the edge of the drums. I've been surprised that others didn't routinely offer similar steps.

As noted, rollers do reward a smooth pedaling style and strictly penalize a rough pedal stroke. Excessive upper body motion is similarly discouraged.

Oddly enough, I always thought it was easier to ride rollers no-hands than with hands. The hands are where you inadvertently apply erratic steering inputs (while reaching for a bottle, wiping sweat off of your brow, etc).
In my archives, I find that I have a photo of myself riding my Raleigh Gran Sport no-hands on the Weyless rollers in my folks' basement.....




Steve in Peoria
Look at all the vintage goodness in that pic

DD
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Old 05-24-16, 12:02 PM
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In the dark of winter you will find me spinning on them with any number of cv rides. Conversely to the road, a wide tire is much easier to pedal on the rollers for spinning. Kind of similar to sitting on a mediation cushion and way better than trainers but still an activity where time can slow. You will find your lines on future riding to be greatly impoved after a season on the rollers.
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