Diary of a Fit Patriot: How Do I Go To My First Cycle Class?

Posted: January 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm, Last Updated: February 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm

By: Alison M. Hall

I love indoor cycling. I love motivating others throughout their ride when I’m teaching it. I love to lose myself in the music when I’m a participant. However, I was terrified to try it for the first time. I had no idea what to wear, what to expect, what the bike would be like, or what we would do. My goal is to help you know what to expect so you can love indoor cycling too.

A Brief History

In the early 80s, Johnny “Johnny G” Goldberg wanted to train for his endurance bike rides even when the weather was bad. He set up his bike in his garage and developed a training plan that closely mirrored road cycling. After using this training plan, he set a record biking 544 miles across Arizona in 29 hours 46 minutes— without stopping. The next year he opened his first cycling studio in Southern California. In 1994 he and fellow cyclist John Baudhuin founded Mad Dogg Athletics, and Spinning took off. Spinning is a trademarked program, in which all the instructors are certified by Mad Dogg Athletics. The more generic Group Cycle or Indoor Cycle program means instructors are certified by any agency (Spinning, Schwinn, AFAA, etc.). No matter the name, the class is open to all, and is a great workout.

Your First Class

Now that you know the history, give the class a try. You don’t need fancy cycling clothes or shoes to start. Just wear comfortable workout clothes and sneakers. Ideally, you should wear shorts, capris, or tights instead of long flowy pants. That way you don’t risk your pants getting stuck in the pedal crank arms. Padded shorts aren’t necessary, but they are an option. The seat will be uncomfortable at first. You can wear padded bike shorts—or bring a padded seat cover—if you are concerned. After a few classes you’ll get used to the seat and you won’t even notice it. Cycling shoes aren’t necessary either, but once you become a cycling regular, you might want to get them.

When you come to the AFC, ask for a cycle class pass at the front desk. When you head downstairs to the cycle room, give that pass to the Fitness Attendant at the door or the instructor in the room. Tell the instructor it’s your first class. He or she will help you set your bike. This step is very important for you to have a safe ride. First you will set the seat height, then how far back the seat is from the handle bars. Finally you’ll set the handle bar height and pedal toe cages. Then you’re ready to go.

Classes begin with a warm up. Then the instructor will guide you through hills or flats, short intervals or long steady work efforts, and standing or seated work. You’ll be guided on how to adjust the resistance for each of the above. The music will motivate you to work through each part of the workout, but if you need to back off, it’s okay. You can adjust the resistance or speed until you are ready to push again. When it’s all over, the instructor will guide you through a cool down and stretch. While it’s tempting to skip this step, don’t. Your body works very hard on the bike. Let it enjoy the stretches!

Now that you know what to expect, check out our Indoor CyWatercling schedule. We can’t wait to see you in class!