What are Cycling Rollers?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Cycling rollers are a type of indoor exercise equipment on which one can ride a bicycle indoors on a series of cylinders, or rollers. The cyclist is responsible for keeping his or her balance while riding on the rollers, unlike a cycling trainer, on which a bicycle can be mounted for a stability. Cycling rollers are therefore more difficult to use than an indoor trainer will be, and the cyclist will need to practice riding cycling rollers by steadying himself in a doorway before using them as part of a regular exercise routine. Many cyclists prefer them because they improve balance and force the cyclist to focus during indoor training sessions, which tend to be boring and tedious.

The design of cycling rollers is fairly simple: the front wheel of the bicycle rests on one cylinder, while the rear wheel rests between two rollers. Each roller is situated perpendicular to the bicycle, which means the bicycle is allowed side to side movement during the cycling process. The rollers themselves are mounted to a frame that runs parallel to the bike and on either side of the bike, securing all parts of the cycling rollers in place. When the cyclist begins to pedal, the rollers will turn, thereby allowing the cyclist to pedal forward while staying in place. It is important for the cyclist to pay close attention to his or her body position, as this will have an effect on balance; if the cyclist loses his or her balance, he or she can end up sliding off the rollers.

Most cycling rollers fold up for storage, since they tend to be quite long and somewhat bulky otherwise. When they are taken out for use, they are laid out and rest on rubber feet to prevent the entire unit from shifting during use. Rollers are made of metal — usually aluminum or other lightweight metals — and the rollers themselves feature bearings to ensure smooth movement throughout use of the device. Many cyclists will set up the rollers on a hardwood surface or other hard surface to prevent shifting, and they will set up in front of a television so they have something to focus on during riding.

Some cyclists, however, do not need an extra distraction on which to focus, because staying upright on rollers can require some concentration. A cyclist needs to pay attention to his or her body position to prevent sliding off the roller, and he or she will need to focus on keeping his or her speed up; when standing up to pedal, the cyclist must again pay close attention to balance, as this is the most common time to fall.

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