Where my spinners at??
Indoor cycling isn’t easy, but there are only a few variables to tweak when you really break it down into the language of exercise science. Those variables are intensity and duration. Intensity in spinning is controlled by either resistance or cadence (RPM’S – Revolutions Per Minute). Duration is how long you sustain the workload at that intensity. It’s that simple. So why is my head spinning after my back-to-back rides at Flywheel and Soulcycle in Union Square?
Monday morning I attended class at Soulcycle’s bright and sexy new store front location in Flatiron and was greeted by the front desk with sneering attitude duly reserved for the door of the Boom Boom Room. “What size is your shoe?” barked the sporty blonde girl. A little too early for a confrontation, I humbly replied, “I have my own shoes.” Then the brunette next to her chimed in testing me “Well what kind of clips do you have?” “SPD’s!” I growled, slightly irritated by the provocation. “Alright, you’re ok.” the brunette assured me.
Happy to make it past the front desk and into class, I settled in for my Soulcycle experience along with a roomful of mostly women. The robust instructor mounted her bike at the bottom of the hour, and we began our journey together “out of the saddle” to an awesome Spice Girl Lady Gaga mash-up. The brunette from the front desk joined us for class, her cool demeanor disappearing a few songs in. We rode, we smiled, we let our coach entertain us with spastic dance moves and preachy exhortations on connection, love, desire, and ambition. One-third dance club, one-third church, and one-third sport makes for one powerful endorphin rush. There is definitely something behind the hype I thought, but I decided to withold my enthusiasm until I popped into Flywheel a couple blocks up.
A majority of my clients prefer Flywheel over it’s competitor, so I was somewhat informed on what to expect. The Flywheel website is a little more clunky and the transaction took more time, but being the grittier bunch, I wasn’t expecting any bells and whistles. This is where the real work is done, this is where we track performance, RPM’s, and torque. It’s not about sex and spirituality, it’s about cycling. It’s about the translation of a road ride to a stationary bike. We have hills, sprints, and those reciprocal criteria I mentioned earlier, duration and intensity.
The Flywheel studio at that particular location is extremely crowded. I didn’t like the close quarters and the acoustics were not very good as the instructor had to scream into the headset to be heard over the music. I pushed myself pretty hard, got a ranking on the board and tried to follow the numbers as best as I could, but I didn’t feel a vibe. It felt like work, and I want to forget about work when I’m riding. The music was fine and motivating enough with a little less dance and a little more rock/indie/old school.
A bike costs $2 more per class at Soulcyle, the equivilant of a cup of coffee. I’ll pay $2 for an extra shot of euphoria. Is it about love? Is it about torque? Is it about music? Is it about RPM’s? Is it about connection? You’re the rider, it’s your ride.
So what does the next generation of indoor cycling look like? Have we perfected the medium? As an avid cyclist and all around fitness junkie, I am anxiously awaiting the opening of HARDCORE cycling in Southhampton next month. They have the bikes that tilt, the Real Ryders. This technique involves much more core engagement than stationary bikes simulating actual terrain such as switchbacks and sharp turns. Add that to duration and intensity!!
Perhaps this is where we will find nirvana on wheels as well as our six-packs!
With love and sprints,