Riding on Rollers

Riding on rollers isn’t an entirely new experience; some time back I had a particularly shonky pair that someone donated and used to do the odd session on fixed in the depths of winter. One of the drums was decidely wobbly and made a noise like a jet engine taking off which didn’t go down that well with the landlady who lived upstairs. It’s not the best idea to do rollers on fixed; there is more to go wrong, as seen by this youtube comment

“My room mate was all high and mighty about his roller skills and would be all dramatic when he rode them. One day he was huffing and puffing on my track bike and lost control, dropped off and shot into the corner of the room. He torqued my forks and front wheel but at least he shut the fuck up about his skills.”

if bored, you can always search the interweb for ‘roller crashes’.

My new set are the ‘entry level’ elite ghibli parabolic rollers. They have curved edges to stop you riding off the side. They are simple and effective. I used them yesterday and rapidly found my roller-legs, hitting the centre of the drum and finding a suitable cadence. i had one wobble when i slipped a gear, but nothing untoward.

I was using my TT bike and found it relatively easy to get onto the extensions for up to ten minutes at a time, alternating between the base bar and the ski poles to make things more interesting. I didn’t plan to do any intervals, more just 40 minutes or so just below threshold.  Essentially, I’m a bit strapped for time and starting to do some specific time trial work. The rollers are very useful in this respect. It’s great to be uninhibited by the stop-start of the road and just get your head down.

Rollers need to be given a little bit of respect, they are quite tricky to use at first and it’s made worse if you approach it in a tentative manner. You have to jump on and get moving with confidence. Grabbing a drink or a towel, or changing to the extensions, are all challenges. It’s good for your core and efficiency, ensuring a smooth pedal stroke and getting you pedalling in circles, all of which helps. For really hard intervals you need to either find some hills or use a turbo. I found I could get my heart rate up to around 175 fairly easily, this is anaerobic and heading into red line effort territory. Mostly I was working below threshold at an aerobic level.

I try and keep my use of HRM really simple. this chart is of some use.

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