Spring Cycling Phenomenon

It's that time of year again.  Spring is around the corner and people who spent much of the winter inside hiding, riding trainers, or rollers are starting to emerge.  A fridn on an email list recently summed up this strange cycling phenomenon by saying…

The first big group ride of the year… there are four types of riders there…

One group – hibernators… Generally not around long are the ones who get dropped early because they haven't been riding the bike all winter

Second group – trainer rats… Their bike is locked into place for the entire winter, so they often have power and fitness but can't hold a line to save their life and are horrible to draft off, i.e. squirelly…

Third group – roller folks.  They are just as fast or faster than the trainer folk, can ride on the white line for miles and never touch the black top, they offer the best draft and have smooth accelerations and great pedaling form.  Typically, they prefer to spend as much time in the wind leading the pack as it takes less energy than trying to draft behind group number two and thus wind up stronger and fitter than the trainer rats.

Fourth Group – The tough ones… The ones who have been riding outside all year despite the cold.  Theya re the ones who show up tot he first group ride in shorts and maybe a long sleeves when the rest of the riders have thermal windfront tights, base layers under long sleeve jerseys, balaclavas, lobster gloves, and a warsaw type winter jacket.  This fourth group is not to be messed with.  A winter of riding on sketchy roads loaded with salt and sand gives them the edge, never follow them down hill at speed if you are in groups one or two – third groups only hope is to fall back on the roller skills and stick in the wheel marks.

To sum it up: Not Riding = really bad, Trainer = bad, Rollers = Good, Riding Outside = Best


  1. Interesting. Could you define “roller” for me?

  2. Rollers are a way to ride inside during the winter or other nasty weather. They allow you to ride a real bike, with both wheels spinning, rather than having only your back wheel connected to a trainer. They are pretty narrow, typically 12 – 18″ wide, so you really can’t afford to have your front wheel wander around or you will wind up launching your bike off the rollers. We actually have a set of Kreitler Challenger rollers that Karen has been riding some this winter. I’ve just ridden outside, although we haven’t really had much actual winter.

  3. It should be mentioned that I don’t actually balance on the rollers. I just use the rollers for my back wheel; the fork is held in place by a fork stand so I don’t have to worry about balance. Therefore I don’t think it helps my ability to ride straight. It does however allow me to watch videos or read while I ride.

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