Indoor Cycling—Pedaling your way to fitness

November 2013 View more

Group of People Cycling at GymIndoor cycling has pedaled its way to the top of the activities list. From the very first Schwinn stationary bike (yes, I had one), to the debut of spinning bikes in the late ‘80s, indoor cycling continues to evolve. Thanks to the latest technology, indoor cycling is becoming more interesting, challenging, and motivating than ever.

As winter approaches, avid cyclists no longer have to worry about losing headway during the cold months. There are plenty of indoor options for elite cyclists as well as the novice cyclist. Though spinning still holds its own at the top of the popularity list, there are other alternatives you may want to check out.

Computerized Cycling

Brant Speed, general manager and coach of Pedal Hard Training in Austin, Texas knows the importance of personalizing cycling for participants. “At Pedal Hard, we use Computrainers to control the resistance during workouts. Each Computrainer has a power meter and a cadence sensor. This allows users to ride their own bikes with their specific fit.”  All riders are given specific workouts, including goals for both power and cadence. Workouts are designed with each rider’s current fitness goals in mind.

 Simulated Bike Rides

Another new and exciting kid on the block is RealRyder.® Developed by avid cyclist Colin Irving, in Santa Monica, California, RealRyder takes the moves and feel of outdoor cycling and brings it indoors. What separates this bike from the rest is that the rider has the ability to turn, lean, steer, race and climb. According to their website, “Whether you’re a cycling nut or a functional training junkie, the RealRyder Bike offers superior biomechanical, physiological and emotional benefits over your everyday stationary bike.” Currently, the only place to find RealRyder classes is in Chicago. However, check with your local fitness center.

I recently attended a fitness conference and came across another indoor cycling trend with bikes designed by Matrix. These indoor cycling bikes are pretty incredible. When you hop on the bike, you can make a selection on where you’d like your scenic ride to take you. You can select riding around the historic Grand Canyon or along the beautiful, scenic routes in Hawaii, or other locations. You can take advantage of these Virtual Active bikes via group training class, or a bike can be purchased for personal use. Scenic bike rides can be as long as 90 minutes. For information on where to find a class, visit,

 Whole Body Workouts

Hard core cyclists may not love the idea of adding in different types of exercise while cycling, but for time management purposes, it is certainly worth a try. SoulCycle® was created by Elizabeth Outler and Julie Rice. Both avid fitness enthusiasts, they thought there was something missing with traditional cycling classes. Through research and creativity, they developed the SoulCycle Method.

Combining inspirational coaching and high energy music, each SoulCycle ride delivers an intense full-body workout with a fun and energizing atmosphere. According to the website, not only do riders burn calories and get their hearts pumping, but using the SoulCycle Method, riders also work their core and use hand weights to tone their upper bodies. Typical classes are 60 minutes.

There are also classes combining yoga with cycling as well as high intensity training. Technology is ever changing which means indoor cycling innovations will continue to evolve. Making simulation more life-like and bikes more accommodating for different sizes, shapes, and fitness levels means that cycling will grow to new levels, perhaps bringing in those riders who might have shied away from cycling deeming it one dimensional.

Check with your local fitness facility about what cycling classes are available. Here’s to a great ride.