Indoor Cycling: Rollers vs. Trainers

If you’ve been riding this winter, chances are you’ve had more than a few days indoors – maybe a spin class, the trainer, or rollers. If you’ve never taken advantage of indoor cycling opportunities, there’s never been a better time. Cycling technology has never made it easier to get at least a short workout in when the conditions are just too deplorable to get outside. Granted, none of us want to subsist on a steady diet of indoor riding, that’s not why we love what we do. But good indoor options can keep you going through those tough weeks when you can’t get out. Your fitness doesn’t have to suffer when old man winter rears his ugly head – in fact, your fitness can even improve by being consistent and taking advantage of some indoor cycling tools.

My good friend, Rick Wilson, is the person that got me started riding. He was my Cycling Sensei for a few years when we both lived in Southern California. Rick’s now living in Boston and gutting it out through a long, cold winter. In the past, he’s used the old faithful trainer to keep the legs turning over but he recently dropped some cash on a set of rollers and sent me some video of how it’s going. Turns out, rollers are a great option for us extremely amateur cyclists looking for a new challenge and inspiration to get in the saddle. Plus, a good set of rollers are cheaper then a good fluid trainer! Rollers are no longer just for trackie pros warming up in the infield. But they are very challenging to learn to ride well. Rollers engage more than just your legs as your core, balance, and bike handling are all put to the test. Check out this video from Rick that gives us a run-down of the rollers experience:

Here are a few links from Rick that he used when considering the pros and cons of trainers vs. rollers: CyclingSkills blog and CoachLevi.com. Also, if you haven’t checked out The Sufferfest videos, head on over there to see some of the most motivating indoor workout videos for roadies and pro cycling fans on the market (review of Sufferfest to follow sometime soon).

Here’s a question: what do you use when you can’t get outside? The trainer? Do you saddle up on rollers? Or maybe a spin class? Please leave a comment and let us know.

Whatever you do, be encouraged that the hours spent indoors will pay off when it eventually warms up. Spring is right around the corner.

Thanks for the video Rick – great insights! Think I might get me one.

Ride on…

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2 responses

  1. Andy Wilson

    Shweet demo Bro! I was hoping to see some one-legged drills…come on!!

    February 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    • The Art of the Group Ride

      Yes! Also, Rick -didn’t know you had a cat. What’s the deal?

      Thanks for the video and great demo, looking at rollers now!

      February 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

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