Temps drop, roads get icy, and for some good base miles after dark I will often ride inside. Last winter I logged most of my weekly base miles on a CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer. This season I’ve added a set of Kreitler Poly-Lyte rollers to the mix. I chose the smaller drums of the Poly-Lytes for a base of resistance without adding a fan or flywheel. The small drums add just enough resistance to work on my cadence in a lower gear – but when turning a big gear I can work intervals or strength drills – and while rolling I automatically increase my bike handling skills and work on smoothing my pedal stroke.
The small diameter of the rollers takes a bit of getting used to – I’ve started riding in a doorway in case I need a hand hold – but after a few minutes of spinning the bike is easy enough to keep upright. Steering is certainly faster on the rollers – the contact patch of tire to roller is very small – a quick move of the handlebars will have me drifting from one side to the other – the rollers thus far are making me aware of how sloppy I ride – drifting from side to side, bouncing a bit in the saddle when spinning high RPMs, and sliding left or right when I change hand positions or grab my waterbottle. I’ve heard horror stories of folks running off the rollers and crashing into big screen TVs (not really a problem for me, as I’ve been TV free for the better part of 5 years), furniture, walls, or running over the dog or cat – but I can’t imagine the physics working out – seems as soon as I stop pedaling on the rollers it takes maybe a few revolutions before my wheels stop, and I need to balance or look for the wall. I added some Continental Home Trainer tires to a spare set of wheels to ease the transition from an inside ride to an outside ride. The yellow orange compound was specifically designed to resist the high heat build up from the aluminum drums of rollers and trainers, prevent tread seperation of conventional road tires, and offer consistent grip to the roller through all gear ranges. I shredded 2 Bontrager slicks last winter – I hope the trainer specific tire will last me a season or two.
Better than riding indoors most of the winter might be a job with UPS. Seven Days, our local news and arts weekly here in Burlington, Vt., is reporting that UPS is using mountain bikes and light weight trailers to deliver packages on some of its routes in Rutland, White River Junction, Barre and Burlington. UPS is even working with local Green Mountain Bikes to outfit its current fleet of thirteen bikes. The full story is here.