The search for the perfect rollers

At events I have long been faced with a dilemma regarding warmups. On the indoor track, time on the boards is limited, so you can’t afford to spend half an hour warming your muscles up. The same applies before a time trial or race, where you are often denied access to the course until only a few minutes before the start.

As my coach keeps telling me, a good warm up is vital to get the blood flowing and move your body into a state where it can quickly absorb carbohydrates. Previously I have lugged around a “indirect”, “wheel on” turbo trainer, which weighed a ton and required the changing of the quick release to get it to function. Bad enough with two working arms, this task was often harder than the actually time trial with one functioning upper limb! As you may have guessed the end result was I did not bother and decided eating a packet of sweets was good enough preparation.

However, I have found a better alternative. The Sportscrafter Trike Trainer. I first saw multiple handcyclist athletes using these at the British Para Nationals in Rhyl. They struck me as the ideal solution.

Small enough to pack into a rucksack, these are th ulitmate in portable rollers!

Super light, they can fit into a rucksack. Mounting the trike could not be easier. Just put the trike on top of it! With my race trike, I also raise the front of my trike via a homemade block, just to avoid the wheel fairing hitting the roller, but this was not needed on my ICE VTX and other trikes. Some internet shopping is needed to buy some cheap wheel raisers for my specialist race trike.  Pull the brakes on with some velcro straps to avoid your trike moving and off you go. All in all, set up time was one minute max.

The sensation when riding is great. The Double OverDrive Trike Trainer model has two “modes”. Turn it one way and the braking is reduced to give a lighter resistance. Turn the other way and you get a lot of resistance! More than enough to give you an opportunity to do some good intervals. Quite remarkable in a unit so small.

In the easier progressive mode, I found that my top gear, which gives around 50kmh, required around 320W of effort to spin the wheel. This is actually very similar to the watts required at that speed on the wooden indoor velodrome. In the harder mode, resistance is a lot harder, allowing you to go way over threshold.

Power vs speed: The are few trikers out there who will reach the limit of the double overdrive rollers.

Once you are nice and warm, soaked in sweat and ready to race, simply lift the trike off the rollers, undo the velcro holding the brakes and off you go! No messing around changing quick releases while your muscles go cold, or pulling your back to get the old heavy trainer into the car.

You know you are warmed up when a small puddle of sweat forms underneath you

In conclusion a fantastic bit of kit. Light enough to simply stick into a rucksack, its ease of use could not be better. There are no complicated parts to go wrong and totally zero maintenance. Plus, you can also use it for interval training if you feel that way inclined. I will certainly be using this down the track and before races next year!

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