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Bicycle rollers are a type of exercise equipment used to turn an ordinary bike temporarily into a stationary bike. The bicycle is placed onto the rollers and lifted off the floor slightly so that when the wheels of the bicycle spin, the rollers spin as well and prevent the bicycle from moving forward. The entire contraption can be ready for a workout in seconds, just by placing the bike on top of the rollers, making it an easy solution that eliminates the need for a traditional stationary bike. Sometimes, bicycle rollers have a foldable frame for easy storage. This tends to take up much less space than a traditional stationary bike, and may be less expensive as well.
The most common design of bicycle rollers consists of three or four cylindrical rollers on a rectangular frame, positioned so that, typically, two rollers sit beneath the rear wheel of the bicycle and one or two rollers support the front wheel. These rollers are generally connected by a belt so that the front wheel of the bicycle is also turned during pedaling. Most bicycle rollers only consist of this frame on the floor, without any attachments or connections to hold the bicycle in place atop the rollers. The rider must pay attention and focus on balancing the bicycle to keep from falling off the rollers.
Bicycle rollers come in varying widths, with narrower widths being harder to balance on. Some riders prefer to focus on balancing like this, and enjoy the challenge and balance training provided by narrower rollers. Others may prefer wider rollers with more forgiveness for wobbling and slight turns of the wheel. For people concerned with balance issues, the front wheel of the bicycle can sometimes be removed and the bicycle frame mounted in a stand to make the bicycle more stable, although this eliminates the easy transition from regular bike to stationary bike and back that is one of the appealing features of bicycle rollers.
The rollers often come in different thicknesses as well. Thinner rollers force the rider to work harder, leading to a tougher workout. Thicker rollers, conversely, are not as resistant, and are typically easier to use. Additional resistance can be added with devices that slow the spin of the rollers. Often, a beginner will start out using thick bicycle rollers and then add resistance once he or she has gotten used to the rollers and needs more of a challenge.