indoor riding on rollers, myth or fact?

Has anybody tried to ride indoors on the bike type rollers? Is this possible and if so do need to have a much greater skill level than a casual road rider. Also if you have done it, what tire size works best. I live in MA, the roads are covered with ice and it is 32 degrees today at noon. I have been eating since Thanksgiving and really need to start training or something. Thanks Tom

Proper traditional rollers, with two rollers for the back wheel (of a bicycle) and one for the front, all connected by a belt?

I’ve ridden a bicycle on those. It requires huge concentration, or you hit the ground running…

I’d be surprised if it could be done on a unicycle, because there is no facility for moving the contact patch (centre of support) forwards and backwards relative to the centre of mass. On the other hand, most things in unicycling suprise me.

When we were doing demos at the Australian Bike Show, Dan Cowling tried this…there was nowhere near enough resistance to give even your well above average rider enough control forwards and backwards.


Even with plenty of resistance, you still don’t have anyplace for the wheel to go, so balance will remain a problem. What you need is a powered treadmill. :slight_smile:

yeah, without a moving center of balance, it’d be slightly easier (i think) than doing a still stand.good luck. if you try, post videos.

It would be the same as a stillstand in terms of front-back balance, but alot easier for side to side balance due to the gyroscopic effect of the spinning wheel. Unfortunately, for-aft blance is what is difficult about unicycling, so it’s going to be pretty tough if not impossible, unless you have an amazing stillstand.

Actually I think it would be quite a bit harder than a stillstand, due to the pedaling motion screwing up your fine balance. This is where resistance might come in; using the resistance of some heavily counterweighted rollers as something to push against. But it still wouldn’t be easy.

Side to side balance is not an issue because you can roll from side to side to correct. But that leads toward the other problem of a uni on rollers. A bike tends to track straight. A unicycle tends to wobble unless you’re going really slow. Wobble too much and your wheel will slip down between the rollers! :astonished:

I tried to ride rollers last Winter in preperation for a distance ride I did last Spring. John your correct. The downward gravitational force tends to force the wheel to turn one way or the other and fall between the two rollers. No matter how hard you try to keep the wheel straight once it starts to turn your fighting a losing battle to correct the turn and continue to ride.

When riding rollers with a bicycle it’s the front wheel which is perched dead center atop of the one roller that allows you to turn easily and control the bicycle. If unicycle roller riding were possible I think it would have to be done in similar fashion to the front wheel of a bicycle and…well…if you know anyone that can ride their unicycle perched atop on one roller, I would sure like to see it.

If a unicyclist on a flat road begins to fall to the front, he (she) applies more force to the front pedal. Traditionally this is thought of as having the objective to put the wheel back under the centre of mass, thereby restoring balance. There is a second effect however: the wheel resists acceleration (rotational inertia, but also mass intertia because the unicycle + rider has to be accelerated). That means that the unicyclist pushes himself upright by exerting force on the front pedal. In normal riding the two effects work together.

The first effect (wheel moving forward) is not present when riding on rollers, but the second (pushing upright) still is. Even when the rollers would have no resistance (which is theoretically impossible), there would still be the rotational inertia of the wheel.

All this means that riding a unicycle on (two) rollers is possible, at least theoretically.


I guess the question still is has anybody done it and also can you ride on a treadmill? I just booked a trip to CA, so I will pack my uni and get some riding in. I will be in LA 1/10 thru 1/14 or longer for work.

I’ve tried riding on a powered treadmill…its very hard. I think its because when you’re riding forward on a unicycle normally, you’re falling forwards and pedalling to keep your lower body up with your upper body. but since you’re not actually moving while you’re on a treadmill, if you try to balance normally, you will fall forwards. so its like doing a stillstand while pedalling…its very weird.

I don’t understand what this thread is about. What are these rollers, like horizontal escalators (since someone mentioned treadmills…)?

Try typing “cycling on rollers” or similar into Google. You’ll be amazed at the detailed answers you can get that way, without having to wait, rather than someone who never used them (like most of us here) giving you a rough and possibly inaccurate description.

Compared to rollers, a powered treadmill should be a piece of cake. I’ve done it before, but it was very briefly as I was prepared to be kicked out at any second. It’s not particularly difficult once you get going, but there is the constant danger of rolling off the back or sides. Ouch!

During the Winter months I cycle (bicycle) an average of 500 miles on rollers. It’s much more stimulating than riding a trainer or exer-cycle due to the fact that you have to balance yourself as you ride. My brother, who has been riding a unicycle for about 35 years an is now addicted to cycling, probably averages 40 - 50 miles per day on rollers during the Winter months.

I wouldn’t say that riding a unicycle on rollers is impossible. I’ve tried to ride my unicycle on rollers and I was unable to sustain myself on them for any length of time. I could continue to try but while I think it would be a cool thing to do I don’t care enough about it to commit to practicing it. However, there are guys and gals doing things on unicycles today that I would never thought possible several years ago. What I’m trying to say is that if someone out there practices rideing their unicycle on rollers long enough, I’m sure they’ll someday be able to do it.

All I’ll ask is to please post the video!