Friday, January 18, 2008

Roller Derby

So I rode the rollers again last night; third time this week (third time in last 12 months).

Now you have to understand ... before this layoff from riding the rollers, I pretty much only rode them until I was able to actually ride on the rollers without holding on to anything but the handle bars. Then the rollers became eye-candy in my garage so all my neighbors would think I was a serious cyclist.

If you have never ridden on rollers, you are really missing out. It is one of the most out of control feelings you can have on a bike the first couple of times. Imagine riding across a frozen lake going at least 15 mph; that is what riding on rollers feels like.

It is, however, very cool the first time you actually get going, not holding on the anything, and don't fall off. When I was considering buying the rollers, it was described to me as a good biking party trick that none of your friends will be able to do. As a guy, that pretty much sold me. Riding the rollers makes you concentrate as if you are riding along a busy street during rush hour, but they do make me feel as if I am getting a better workout while indoors and that I am becoming a better rider.

Just to ride on the rollers, you really have to work on your balance and cadence. You have to be very even while you ride. If you have ever tried to stay on the white line while riding the street, rollers will help you learn to do that; you have to be in complete control the entire time.

This brings me to last nights ride. Big Mel is still learning the rollers. I do not have a fancy $500 set of rollers; I have a $100 set of rollers and a $30 ladder to help stabilize myself while I get going. My front roller is slightly tapered on each side to help keep me from riding off the side, but there are no wheels or bumpers to actually keep me from riding off. I also don't have anything behind the back rollers to keep my bike from hopping off the back. What you might not realize is if you accelerate too fast, or try and stand up, you can hop your back wheel right off the back of the rollers!! Fun Times!

Now my FIRST crash last night was nothing, just rode off the rollers to the right, landed on my feet and dropped my bike to save my balance (no way am I clipping in yet).

However, my SECOND crash involved falling to the left, INTO my cheap ladder, which wasn't anchored to anything, so the ladder fell over, my bike fell over, and I fell into a couple of saw horses that just happened to be stacked about 5 feet away!

Fortunately, I walked away from the accident with all of my members intact. Just a scratch on my arm and a small hole in my ankle (I have been looking around for my pride though and haven't come up with it yet). The most dramatic part of the whole episode was waking my 17 month old daughter up and my wife rushing to see if I was okay (or at least to see if the basement was okay).

In the end I am happy to report that I got back up on the rollers and finished my ride without incident.

Really looking forward to my ride tonight!

Big Mel

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