Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


An Ebay Mystery- the Bicycle Rollers of Ball State University

I've been thinking about my bike training options for this winter. Although I intend to ride outside as much as possible through the cold months, I know that I'll want to supplement that with some indoor training as well.  I have a fluid trainer that I used some last year, but a couple of nights in the basement led me to a couple of conclusions:

1. My saddle is poorly adjusted.
2. Riding a stationary trainer is really, really boring.
3. A combination of boredom and numbness is no way to go through the winter.

I think I solved the saddle problem with some careful adjustment last year, but the boredom problem is less easily fixed. I have been wanting to try out rollers, though. With rollers, both wheels of the bike are moving and you have to work to stay balanced on them. 

One problem: rollers are not cheap (in this, cycling is like boating: nothing is cheap).  With that in mind, I went looking on Ebay, followed a couple of auctions to get a feel for what prices were, and abandoned the whole idea for a lack of funds. Then this auction came along

A seller named gobybike has a lot of 18 or so sets of rollers up for sale, 99 bucks each and 20 bucks to ship.  A fair price, it seems, but "used" is a condition to be pondered when the item bearing that status has parts that can break down over time, moving parts like the rollers themselves,  and a rubber drive belt that can stretch out or become brittle.  There was precious little in the seller's description that indicated how much these rollers had been used.

A closer look at the photos in the listing revealed a scrawled inscription "PEFWL 1995 #10."  Hmm. I Googled the acronym and found the page for the Physical Education Fitness: Wellness program at Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana.  The seller is shipping from Marion, Indiana, not far away.  I've got a little more information now. I post a question on the Ebay page: "Hi, it looks like these rollers were originally purchased by Ball State University for the Physical Education program, in 1995.  Do you know how much use they got and if they were stored with the belts off of the rollers when not in use?"

I figured it was worth a shot. A week later, there was no answer.  I looked up the Ball State University cycling club to see if they had any idea. I dropped a question on their web form and got back a prompt response from John Callahan at the club:


The only rollers that the cycling club owns are Cyclops. These Giant brand rollers were owned by the university, and apparently they didn't think we as a club needed any. I have no idea what shape they're in, but thanks for letting me in on the sale.

I would assume that they weren't used much, if that helps.


Bummer for the club.  You'd think if the school was unloading a fleet of cycling equipment they might have offered it up to the cycling club first!  If I was John I'd probably get over the head office at PEFWL and make a stink! 

There's over a week left in this auction, but I'm still on the fence about these. The seller wants 120 bucks shipped for rollers that are 14 years old and have seen something between no use and daily use.  The seller has a "best offer" button set up, but neither of my offers were accepted.  The seller must want something pretty close to full price.

Meanwhile, new rollers from Nashbar or Performance can be had for about $150 shipped, if you hit the right sale day.  I'm not sure if they are as good as these were when they were new in 1995, but with the seller not taking lower offers and not answering questions, I'm inclined to pass on this auction for now.  If anybody sees this and bites on the auction, I'd love to hear how it goes.