Using rollers to train cycling indoors may seem a not very attractive idea, which many only consider it an option for those days when the weather is inclement; for cyclists recovering from an injury or, to release the legs.
However, training indoors using rollers or bike trainer has other advantages, that doing it outdoors does not allow us so easily.
And although I don’t think that the cylinders and trainers can replace the road bonanza and the pleasant sensation of the air in the face. Training with rollers undercover is common, which even many trainers recommend to eliminate unwanted variables and apply more specific workouts.
What are bicycle trainers and rollers?
If you prefer to train indoor cycling or, you have decided to try indoor training you should know that there are two basic options:
One is the support trainer or bike trainer and the second is the rollers or bike rollers. Both start from the same principle of replacing the rolling on the pavement and doing it indoors, but each one presents its particularities, as well as different levels of resistance, ways of obtaining balance and accessories to refine the experience.
But basically we find that in the support coach there will be two groups: one will be those in which the bicycle tire is not removed, but it is subject to the coach and the other group – which is more modern – in which you will have to disassemble the rear wheel of your bike to hold it directly to the coach’s structure, which will give you greater control of your workouts and balance on the bike.
In the rollers, the sensation of rolling on the pavement is more realistic, because here the bicycle is not subject and you have to get yourself the balance, which makes them a little more complex to master, but with a few hours on them, I am sure you will achieve it without major setback. Both have different models and different functions that we will know later.
Benefits of the roller and bike trainer
The support trainers and the rollers, in addition to preventing us from suffering from bad weather, have a series of utilities such as more effective training systems both for weight loss and for series and specific cadence work; Recovery; speed; power; heart rates, with which any cyclist who wants to venture into this form of training can benefit.
Train in a controlled environment
Forget the cold, heat, rain and any other inconvenience of the weather, and you can train without worrying about traffic and even other cyclists.
Although you cannot pedal in a bicycle support trainer considering the management of the terrain: working a curve, etc., it does not mean that a trainer is a limited tool. On the contrary, a coach is a tool with which you can obtain various options for your training. Here are some of them.
Effective training in a controlled environment: training at specific intervals becomes highly effective without the natural variables of the outdoor terrain. With it, you have a controlled environment to set specific intervals, without any inertia effect. That is why I can assure you that in it you can enjoy climbing by doing repetitions of low rpm.
Trace and pedal position
Without the requirement to drive your bike around traffic, the terrain and other cyclists, the coach provides an optimal environment to work on your pedal stroke and maintain the correct posture, ensuring that you will maintain an optimal posture from minute one to the end of your training session.
Your position on the pedals may seem to have no importance, however, it does, because you will get more power in each pedal and learn to drive well despite fatigue, situations that, as you train you can extend until the day of your career.
The specificity of the intervals
Sometimes it can be a challenge to find the right ground to train intervals, but the coach offers you immediate and controllable intervals in which you can imitate the sustained efforts to train without limiting the terrain and thus train speed, alternate and power intervals. Offering you all the options: lactate threshold; peaks of acceleration and power.
Many cyclists have to deal with limited time and limited opportunities to go out and ride during the days of the workweek. An indoor bike trainer makes it easy for you to do your training at the time and place you have.
Although both systems (trainer and rollers) offer the same advantages, I personally find in the rollers a characteristic that may interest you.
Balance is one of the best attributes of the rollers. If you want or need to work on your pedaling shape and efficiency while maintaining a straight line, rollers are a good option. Well, your body and mind will always be alert when you are on the rollers, even during light efforts or on active recovery paths. However, you can also match the rollers with fork support (scissors) for greater stability.
Types of bicycle rollers
These use three drums, one below the front wheel and two below the rear wheel, on which the tires rest and turn while driving.
The centrifugal force of the spinning wheels keeps you balanced just like when you ride on roads or paths.
Riding on the rollers requires a bit of practice since it requires balance and a lot of focus to stay upright, but once you have adapted, it is quite easy and much more fun than riding the support coach, which does not require much attention by the cyclist.
The rollers come in a variety of drum sizes that dictate how much resistance there is on the rear wheel. The smaller the drum, the greater the resistance. However, some rollers come with magnet-shaped resistors that can be added to the side of one of the drums.
Free movement rollers
By far, the most fun device for mounting indoors are the free-moving rollers, these are attached to a support that allows them to slide back and forth with the pedaling through the bearings.
The free-moving rollers allow the bicycle to move not only from side to side while pedaling, but also forward and backward, allowing you to stand on the pedals naturally and, even, get out of them while you pedal, but be careful, do this only when you have more experience.
In them, it is easy to feel as if you were rolling on the road. They also have variable resistance with a magnet attached to one of the drums or cylinders.
Bicycle trainer with support
As we had seen, a trainer is support that holds your bike through the rear axle and has an axle that is pressed against the transfer resistance of the tire.
Coaches come in three main types that differ from each other by the way they apply resistance to the wheel.
A fluid trainer uses – you guessed it – a liquid (usually oil) inside the turbine that is attached to an axis on which the tire rests to create resistance.
Fluid trainers apply more uniform resistance to the wheel while they are also relatively quiet. The resistance level in a fluid trainer increases exponentially the more you press.
Wind Trainer or Turbo
Wind trainers use a fan that is designed to catch the wind while turning to create resistance.
This is then attached to an axle that rests on the rear wheel like that of a fluid trainer.
Because the fan is cutting the air to create resistance, they are noisy. However, as stationary or indoor pedaling can be quite hot due to lack of wind in the body, wind trainers often redirect the breeze towards you, creating a cooling effect.
The resistance level of wind trainers increases the stronger you pedal, but not to the extent of fluid trainers.
Magnetic trainers use magnets to generate resistance in your bicycle tire. Most magnetic trainers have a setting that allows you to vary the level of resistance while pedaling. Magnetic trainers can vary widely in the amount of resistance they can provide.
Trainer without wheels
A drawback for all previous trainers is that the resistance is placed directly on the bicycle rim, which causes the tire or tire to wear quickly.
Some cyclists use old tires that are only mounted on their trainer, but if you frequently switch between indoor and outdoor driving, changing a tire all the time can get tedious. Fortunately, there is a new coach style that does not directly use the rear wheel of your bike.
This type of trainer has a cassette that is attached to the support on which your bike is attached, and that provides the resistance that you can change yourself while pedaling in your training.
The most advanced models of this type even come with software to make the experience more real, because with the computer program you can compete with other users and experience virtually any type of terrain and geographical area on earth. In addition to that, you can quantify a variety of variables.
Basic tips for good training in roller or support trainer
Before starting your indoor training session it is important that you keep in mind a series of basic tips that will allow you to make the session more comfortable.
Not because you are in comfort means that you are not going to take care of your position on the bike.
So there is no excuse to ride with your elbows locked, your shoulders tense and your hips rotated in the saddle. Drive like the rider you want to be.
With indoor (indoor) training, you have the opportunity to understand, appreciate and apply a smooth and smooth pedaling.
The right room
It is important to do your training in a suitable space for it. A room with good ventilation is the essential requirement for the air in the room to circulate and avoid that after 20 minutes of being in the trainer, the place smells like a cave of an injured animal with a temperature of 3 or 5 degrees.
Ventilation is also important so as not to sweat so much and slow down the dehydration rate somewhat more.
Another extremely important issue is the correct hydration of the body. Roll sessions or coach are almost always indoor or indoor so that dehydration and sweating rates are much higher. It is important to always do your training with at least 1 can of water or mineral salts and the ideal would be to drink 0.5-0.75 liters of water for every hour of training.
Towel and equipment
Although it may seem like a small thing, any training session should be accompanied by the corresponding equipment. In addition to the typical cycling accessories (sneakers, shorts, pulsometer tape, etc.) you should include a towel, both to dry the sweat of the forehead and to prevent sweat from falling directly on the frame of your bike because the sweat is especially corrosive over time.
If you have decided on the rollers without any assurance, I recommend that in the first sessions you have a chair or something firm to hold near you to avoid a fall.
In order to make your indoor training less monotonous, you can use technology with confidence: headphones with your favorite music and regardless of volume, because here you don’t have to take care of cars.
You can also put a screen or a tablet to enjoy your favorite videos, series, movies or watch professional cycling round, that’s what you decide. In addition, in the case that you use interactive software, you can view everything from one screen.
To conclude, benefiting from indoor training is a good idea that will help you a lot to be a better cyclist abroad. Another good complement to your training is to perform exercises to achieve steel legs and to strengthen the torso.