When I moved to New York City for the first time in early 2016, everything I knew about indoor cycling came from a series of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt . In the scene, Kimmy is bound by a mysterious teacher in a place reminiscent of a classy city studio. It's basically a cult where the instructor emits a self-help tab that helps drivers find their "zen" and encourages them to scream for the coveted bikes in the front row. As a pious indoor cyclist and instructor, I can tell you that this interpretation of an indoor cycling class is only half true. Teaching can sometimes be cultish and overly competitive ̵
Here's the story: I was virtually without friends, struggling from a recent breakup over long stretches, trying to find my place when I moved to New York City, Arizona at the age of 26. On a particularly lonesome day, I participated in an indoor cycling class in a neighborhood studio. From the throbbing bass of the music, to the flashing flashlights, to the pseudo-spiritual mood that was conjured with candles, I was in love. From that day on I was a regular guest. And for the first time since I moved across the country, I was part of a community. Instructors and riders knew my name and expected to see me. Not only that, but for the first time in my life I began to really enjoy .
But by the end of 2018, and about two years after my love relationship with indoor cycling, I noticed what felt like a big change happening in the industry: the cycling phenomenon at home. Of course, stationary bikes are nothing new – my own mother owned one in the 1980s. However, companies like Peloton, Flywheel and even SoulCycle are trying to offer stationary bikes equipped with technology that allows them to virtually participate in live and on-demand classes with other drivers, instructor-curated playlists and the opportunity to progress to track over time – right down to individual drivers in their own home.
Of course, I was (and is) quite skeptical of the cycling trend at home. If you take away the surround music and pedal faster than the driver who is literally standing next to you, what's left in an indoor cycling class? I fell in love with indoor cycling mainly because of these characteristics, so teaching on an area of 350 square meters did not seem very appealing.
Nevertheless, I was curious. Curious enough to say yes when Flywheel offered me access to the Flywheel Home Bike for free with live and on-demand lessons for a month. Would they be as entertaining and challenging as personal lessons? I tried to find out. Here are my big revelations after trying indoor cycling classes at home for a month.
First things first: The bike is definitely an investment, and the on-call service costs extra. The Home Bike by Flywheel is a fully functional (and huge) indoor bike that you can see in every studio. For a bike with a built-in TV that the class like me can stream, the cost was $ 2,287, including delivery and installation, and a one-year limited warranty. For the same services but no screen, the total is $ 1,987 (in which case you can stream your workouts from a handheld device, such as an Android or iPhone device, or transfer them to an Apple TV or Chromecast device nearby). ,
Note that the bike does not contain two key components that you need to use / participate in the classes: the 128-dollar clip-in shoes (though all shoes work with LOOK Delta cleats) and the actual one Subscription for classes that costs $ 39 per person per month. The initial fee you pay includes the first month of membership. After that you will have to pay monthly, unless you want to spend the full 468 USD (for an annual membership) in advance.
Although prices vary by city (Flywheel is currently available in 19 regions and cities). Personal membership packages in New York City range from $ 36 for a single class to $ 175 for a five-pack class to $ 660 for a 20-pack class. If you spend the money on an unlimited monthly membership (which is between $ 300 and $ 595 per month in New York City, depending on how many studios you want to have access to), you will also have access to their on-demand Service (which is not the case). It does not include the purchase of the bike itself.
You can choose to travel either on live or on-demand 5 to 60 minute courses. And like the personal flywheel classes, they are divided into three categories: method (intensive interval training with an arm sequence), strength (a more intense version of the method with elevated slopes and sprints), and tempo (a class that includes sprints and climbs) But it's also based on a rhythm-based style with tapbacks and push-ups.
There's also a pretty extensive offer – there are thousands of classes that you can adopt against any given week, with a selection of new live songs that
The competitive spirit that makes the training so intense is still very present, and of all the indoor cycling classes I have completed in New York City, flywheels are the largest Challenge for me, as the instructors recommended resistance and speed ranges as well as your power score (an algorithm based on speed and resistance Power is displayed on a large screen in the TorqBoard class (but you can disable it if you prefer). On the home bike pretty much the same system applies. The bike records your power score and the scores of all other riders participating in the class and displays those numbers on the dashboard on your screen. For live classes, the instructor can see your name, a small photograph of you and your score in real time. You can even name your name at regular intervals (if you're lucky).
Since nobody knows that I would actually watch driving IRL, I would have expected that I would ease with the home bike. But if you use the home bike, you can see the nicknames and a small profile picture of the other people in the class as well as their position and score on the dashboard that faces you. That was impossible for me to feel at least no momentary motivation boost. This has definitely sparked a competitive spirit, even if you can not see it.
However, if you live exclusively for indoor cycling classes because you feel like you're at a concert, I have bad news. Even if I had the music at full speed, the beat was sometimes barely recognizable. And although you can adjust the volume of both the voice of the teacher and the music separately, I could never find the optimal mix. Most of the time the teacher's voice was too loud. So this was an area where the experience at home was not quite the energy of a live class.
The Convenience Factor
The thing "I just can not make it to the gym today" is pretty much a non-starter.
Part of the fight for many people (including myself) to go to the gym is just that: muster motivation, lace up the sneakers, fight against rush hour traffic and only ] to one place which you can train. And after a long day at work, I often do not want to work with someone to change space in the locker room.
When a home bicycle eliminates all these obstacles. Even on days when I was exhausted when I came home from work, I felt compelled to start a class where the Ferris Wheel stared at me. I would have reason to believe that I would only have to drive for ten minutes with insufficient effort. Who would watch anyway?
Every time this happens, however, I would periodically find myself completing the entire class. I also cycled at times when you would not have been able to pay me for the training. After 7 o'clock or before 6 o'clock in the morning. This was particularly helpful when my work load increased significantly during my work, which may have affected my ability to find time to exercise without having the bike.
At the end of my 30-day bike ride, I never felt so strong sprinting, climbing and pushing. My power score average has also increased, which is the actual proof of my perceived power increase.
The Final Result
So, will I forever swap my IRL classes for home against classes? The fact that I completed one-to-one workouts at the same level of difficulty and the ease of playing cardio made the Flywheel Home Bike addictive. When I returned to private lessons with the bike after my trial, I achieved my highest score so far. While this may be due to the instructor hovering over my dashboard throughout the ride, I would like to believe that the strength I gained from driving home everyday contributed to the score.
Regardless of Reason When I gained strength in this class, I never got used to indoor cycling because I wanted to be stronger or faster. I enrolled for my first grade because I wanted to be part of a community when I was lonely and depressed – to have someone, even if it was just the instructor, who recognized me by name. While there is no doubt, I continue to ride the home bike on days when I can not muster the motivation to leave my flat (or where I have only dirty, smelly leggings to choose from, if I'm too lazy to wash) ), my preference for personal indoor cycling classes meanwhile lets me mainly go to studios.