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How to Ride Indoor Bicycling Training Rollers

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist and a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

An athlete warming up for an event on bicycle rollers

An athlete warming up for an event on bicycle rollers

Every Cyclist Should Own a Set of Training Rollers

Riding on a set of rollers is very similar to cycling on the road: just a 30-centimeter-wide piece of road. Whileyou should be able to ride along a section of road of such diameter, in practice it can be a little daunting. If you were to run a search for 'bicycling rollers' on YouTube you see endless lists of examples of people riding them for the first time, many unaware of how to do so properly and safely.

In theory it is difficult to coast on a set of bicycling rollers and therefore your legs are constantly moving. Riding on rollers therefore provides a great workout as you simply cannot stop working.

The Main Benefits of Using a Set of Cycling Rollers

  1. Improved balance on your bike.
  2. Improved pedal stroke efficiency and more even power output.
  3. Improvement in bike handling.
  4. Kinaesthetic feedback to detect weaknesses in your technique.
  5. You can ride your bicycle both indoors and outdoors without the need for adjustment.

Step by Step: How to Ride bicycle rollers

Step 1

1. Open up your rollers and place them side-on to a wall. There should be a gap of around 20 cm to the wall which ensures the bike will not catch on the wall while moving as this could cause you to lose your balance- definitely not wanted on the rollers!

Step 2

1. Set your bike up in a moderate gear. I personally only tend to use the large chain ring (I have a 53 tooth outer chain ring) on the rollers and will start off in the 21 tooth on the cassette. However you could choose to use something along the lines of 39x15 or 42x16 to begin with. The moderate gear will help you balance on the rollers, too low a gear and your balance will suffer initially.

Step 3

1. Set up a chair or dustbin around 20 centimeters to the opposite side of the rollers. This will be used for the initial mount and dismount. It can also be used for initial stability.

Step 4

Mount your bike on the rollers and get your feet clipped in to your pedals. Have one hand on the handlebars (Best place to hold is on the tops for balance initially) and the other on the chair/ dustbin. Your bike should be straight up and the front wheel should also be pointing forwards.

Step 5

Without letting go of the dustbin/ chair commence pedalling at a cadence of about 40-60 revolutions per minute. This is just to let you get a feel of how the bike reacts to the motion of the rollers which will initially feel peculiar as it is a concentrated version of the road action you experience usually.

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Step 6

Slowly increase your pedalling cadence up to around 100 revolutions per minute. Consciously keep your hand on the dustbin/ chair- however remove all of your weight from the hand as you feel more comfortable so it is only being used as a balance.

Step 7

Once you feel comfortable, remove your hand from the chair and place it on the top of your handlebars in a position where both hands are symmetrically placed on the bars. You may initially want to experiment with simply lifting your hand from off the dustbin to begin with until more comfortable, however the longer you wait the more doubts may likely creep into your mind, and tiredness may set on to your opposite arm from being the whole support on your bike.

Now you're riding on rollers- well done

Riding on Bicycle Rollers

Riding on rollers for the first time

Riding on rollers for the first time

Step 8

As your level of comfort and confidence increases you can now consider adjusting your gearing, increasing cadence and any other on-road techniques you can think of. If you are going to try riding none handed (this is possible) you attempt this at your own risk. It is recommended to spend a large amount of time riding the rollers before trying riding none handed or standing up out of the saddle.

Step 9 (Stopping)

Stopping on rollers is very simple, although imaginably daunting to the beginner bike roller rider,

Slowly ease off your cadence and take hold of the dustbin/ chair. Continue to ease of your pedalling and while supporting yourself with the dustbin/ chair allow the wheel to come to a stop. Once the wheels stop turning you can unclip and dismount from your bicycle rollers.


Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on January 03, 2012:

Thanks Alocsin for your feedback. No need to let the weather affect your ride!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 03, 2012:

Another benefit is that it allows use of your bicycle all the time. No more excuses about bad weather. Voting this Up and Useful.

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