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Competitive Spinning: The Cyclebeat & SportPursuit Spin-Off!

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Posted by Cags R under Spinning on 16 September 2013 at 11:00 PM

Last week, Cyclebeat and SportPursuit threw an awesome event, asking bloggers and sports writers from across London to come and try out a spin class at Cyclebeat's studio by London Bridge.

Cyclebeat Studio

What makes a Cyclebeat class different to your average spin class?

Warm up at CyclebeatThe entire class is choreographed to music (thus putting the Beat in Cyclebeat) which helps you keep your RPM in time with the class. The instructor will guide you through a ride which will vary from speeding along the flat to mountain stages with powerful climbs as well as Time Trials where it's a max effort 3 minutes of spin - but the biggest difference at Cyclebeat is definitely the BEATBOARD.

"What is a Beatboard?" we hear you cry?! It's a leaderboard at the front of the class which tracks your RPM, Power and Energy generated through your spinning - these metrics then rank you on the scoreboard so you are essentially racing your fellow spinners!

Cags from the Tribesports office went to represent the team at the event, along with other bloggers brought together by SportPursuit to take part in a Spin-Off - to say the competition was fierce is an understatement (we're now pretty sure the SportPursuit team have spin bikes instead of office chairs!)

After an awesome workout and finishing mid-table on the Beatboard, Cags caught up with Cyclebeat's studio manager Gareth Turner (who had been the instructor for the class) to find out more:

Gareth Turner leading the session at Cyclebeat

How did you become a spin instructor?

I used to be quite a keen runner and I wanted to supplement my training, indoor cycling was perfect as it allows you to work at a high intensity in a very safe environment.  I have a background in personal training and after years of taking part in indoor cycling classes I was asked to cover at the last minute due to an instructor not turning up – I was hooked straight away! Now 8 years on and I still get the same euphoric feeling of combining music with endorphin fuelled training and having the whole group working together.  

Taking the role of coach and motivator in a group setting is extremely rewarding, you get to see your participants work towards their goals and see improvements over time.

Bike set up is an important part of enjoying spin - what are your top 3 tips for making sure you're riding with the right set up?  

  1. Saddle height is very important and a lot of people have the saddle too low, start off with the saddle at hip height then when seated in the saddle and the pedal is in the bottom position there should be a 5-10% bend in the knee.  

  2. When one pedal is all the way forward and the other is all the way back look down from the knee and have an imaginary line go straight down and hit the middle of the pedal, adjust the saddle forward and back until it’s in the right place.  

  3. Make sure that the handlebars make you comfortable on the bike, if it’s not comfortable then adjust them, ideally when holding the handlebars there should be a 90 degree bend at the shoulder.

BeatboardWhat's the best way to up your score on the Cyclebeat scoreboard? Is it better to go for high RPM or higher resistance? 

A lot of people when just starting wrongly assume that a high RPM is best and they have the gear too low. The Beatboard is all about power which is a combination of resistance and RPM so you do need to work with a higher resistance to increase your power output.  One of the scores that you will get with your performance data after a ride at Cyclebeat is your average power, if you are seeing a steady increase over time then you know that you have gained fitness and are moving in the right direction.

How do you feel the competitive edge at Cyclebeat affects people's performance?

It really does have a positive effect, our riders love that they can race against each other and it pushes them to achieve fantastic results.  It adds another dimension to indoor cycling and even if you are not towards the top of the Beatboard you find yourself competing against the riders around you. 

How much of a difference do you notice between riders with SPDs and toe straps?

You really can see a change in someone’s technique when clipping in, they can get much fuller pedal strokes so they output more power and they become more efficient.  We hire cycling shoes to our riders at Cyclebeat because we believe that it adds to the positive experience of our classes.

How do you manage to talk the whole way through a class and do you mix your own class soundtracks?

I think that an instructor does need a good level of fitness to be able to keep up with the rest of the class but also to remember we are a coach and not having a personal workout so I lower my own intensity slightly so I can talk and motivate, I do still work hard though when needed so that I feel what my participants feel.  

Gareth leading the Cyclebeat session

One of my passions is music so it makes it a pleasure to listen to and find new tracks, I create all of my own playlists and choreograph and plan each class so I know exactly what I want the class to do at each moment.  I have started to use Spotify and I find it to be a fantastic resource, as soon as my class is finished I tweet my playlist so that the participants can relive their experience through the music.

For cyclist and triathletes, how can spin classes help their performance out on the road?

We have a lot of cyclists and triathletes riding at Cyclebeat to help them train for upcoming events. The classes work because you can just focus on your effort and not have to worry about pot-holes, traffic and bike handling and is a lot more interesting than sitting on a turbo trainer.  Almost all indoor cycling classes include interval based training and this is often neglected in training programs but is very effective, the high intensity elements are great for improving their power output and gaining strength.

Which Cyclebeat class do you think is the toughest?

The toughest class at Cyclebeat is our Race Night which runs once a month, a lot of the top riders come to this and the competitive element is turned up a notch, this is when there are prizes on the line and the chance to win a Cyclebeat ‘Leader of the pack’ green jersey and champagne for the top male and female riders.  All our classes are very inclusive though and we are especially caring for our beginner riders and help to set up their bikes and make them as comfortable as possible.

A huge thank you goes to SportPursuit and Cyclebeat for running such a great evening! But what do you think: would the competitive edge make you work harder in your spin or other gym classes? Share what you think below:

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    Comments

    20130913102823-priyas

    Nice one @cags ! I've never been to a spin class this before, it seems a great way to workout so think I will give it a go! Do you know how much it costs for a session?

    Terri B encouraged this.

    20130718100342-jack

    This looks awesome - really like the live scoreboard idea!

    Terri B encouraged this.

    20140811112945-cags

    @jack - if you're too competitive though it can be a bit of a risk! I gave myself a massive calf cramp (which is really not ideal on a spin bike) about halfway through - dropped 3 places - I was totally gutted!

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