When the weather outside gets too cold or icy to ride your bicycle, you don't have to put it away for the season. One way to keep training through the bad weather is to use a bike roller, which consists of several metal tubes that allow your bike to "roll" in place. While the feeling of riding on the rollers tends to feel like riding on a slick street at first, with practice you'll be able to master this new skill and work on smooth pedal cadence. Before you take your bicycle inside, ensure that it's in a moderate gear for an easy start.
Rollers are meant to be used with a smooth tire. If you want to use a mountain bike with a bike roller, switch the tires to ones with a smooth tread.
Do not use the front brake when your bike is on the roller. Use only the rear brake if absolutely necessary, but in general, try to coast to a stop.
Place the roller about 6 to 8 inches from a wall.
Clear away any obstructions from the area around the bike roller. Falling on the roller is pretty common, so you want to make sure you don't have any sharp objects, hard furniture or other objects in the vicinity of the roller, should you take a tumble.
Place your bicycle on the roller. If the roller is in the right position, the back wheel will slide in between the two back rollers, with the back axle of the bike located evenly between the two back rollers. The axle of the front wheel, meanwhile, will be directly over the axle of the front roller. If the front wheel is not in the proper position, consult your user guide for instructions on moving the front roller forward or backward to put it in the proper position.
Swing your leg over the bike and sit on the saddle, keeping at least one foot on the floor or roller platform.
Place the hand nearest the wall onto the wall for balance, then begin pedaling.
Focus your eyes at a point ahead of the bike, as you would if you were riding on the road. It may be tempting to watch the front wheel, but resist this urge as it will make you less stable.
Remove your hand from the wall after you've established a steady pedal cadence and feel comfortable with the "ice" feeling of cycling on a roller. Steer only slightly if you begin to drift to one side or the other, and place your hand back on the wall if you need to regain your balance.
Coast to a stop when you're ready to get off. Place your hand on the wall and your feet on the floor or roller platform, and then dismount the bicycle.
Things You'll Need
- Rollers are meant to be used with a smooth tire. If you want to use a mountain bike with a bike roller, switch the tires to ones with a smooth tread.
- Do not use the front brake when your bike is on the roller. Use only the rear brake if absolutely necessary, but in general, try to coast to a stop.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.