Souplesse and Winter Training


Lead Photo by Sportgraf

A couple of years ago my wife bought me a set of Rollers for indoor training.  I fancied trying them as an alternative to the Turbo Trainer.

At first they are somewhat terrifying – you quickly find out why some people recommend you start by setting them up in a doorway!  Though you also discover that if (when!) you come off the rollers the bike stops – it does not shoot you off through the patio doors,  though at first they can feel like a short cut to A&E.

After 15 mins though I was up and running, so to speak, and after a few sessions managed to ride them Hands Free.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this article.

Riding Rollers I find that time passes quicker than on the Turbo Trainer as you do need to concentrate but given there is no resistance, unless you buy one of the newer models or have conductive rollers to be able to use induction resistance with magnets, what can you work on other than intervals?

Well I have found there are two benefits of Rollers:-

  1.  I have increased my cadence.  I used to be something of a grinder but after my first winter using Rollers my cadence increased significantly and I was much more comfortable spinning.
  2. My Souplesse is much improved.  When riding on them I focus on having a consistent sound as I pedal.  Rather than having Woosh – Whoosh – Whoosh etc I focus on using the sound of my pedalling to smooth out my pedal stroke.  To some extent it comes as a natural feedback from riding Rollers.  If your rhythm is chopped you tend to be much less stable on them, so there is some intrinsic feedback loop just from learning how to ride on them.  Adding focus on the sound adds an extrinsic feedback loop to the process.

The following two video clips try to illustrate this.  You may need to turn up the sound to hear the difference.  It’s not quite as clear as I hoped – I may try again.  Ha – forgot I’d put on those bibs!

First chopped rhythm or pedalling squares. (Click to see Video)


Second a smoother rhythm or pedalling circles.


Finally, a link that explains how to set up a DIY induction resistance on conductive rollers.  Unfortunately mine are plastic so I will have to wait till I wear them out.  Though I still have an old dumb Turbo for resistance sessions.

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December 31, 2019 8:25 pm

I have rollers but often opt for the trainer. I could (eventually) ride rollers no hands but could never ride out of the saddle which was, quite literally, a pain in the arse.

We just got a wee bit of snow here in SE Wisconsin so it’s a new year’s day fat bike ride for me!

All the best for 2020 to one and all.