It is no secret that indoor cycling is one of the hottest fitness trends in the industry today. But what happens if your facility does not have the space to dedicate to numerous stationary bikes?
Angie Parker, an instructor at Avenu Fitness and Lifestyle in Houston, Texas, was struggling with this issue. Various other facilities in the area offered traditional cycling classes, but the square footage at Avenu could not accommodate the additional equipment. She wondered if there was a way that Avenu Fitness could offer cycling, without having to purchase traditional indoor bikes.
Parker came up with the idea to purchase several stationary bike trainers, which allow users to hook their own bike in and add resistance via the bike’s gears. However, launching this new format did not come without obstacles.
“The hardest part was getting people to want to lug around their bike at work all day, then come to see me at night for class,” said Parker. “Then having to do all the set up. In a typical [cycling] class you walk in the door and the bike is there for you. Now I am asking them to bring their bike, their shoes and whatever else they need.”
While it might be more of a hassle for clients to bring in their own bikes, the end result is a more comfortable workout. “You are going to find that anyone who has their own bike has it fit to their specifications,” added Parker. “They are more comfortable within their own seat, their handle bars are set up in relation to the length of their torso, etc. From that perspective it is a much more comfortable ride.”
After teaching traditional indoor cycling for over 11 years, this new format required Parker to adapt her teaching style. “A lot changes when you go from a [cycling] bike class, where people just have to worry about a tension knob, to where they actually have to use their gears and stay at a certain RPM,” explained Parker. “Most people use power meters on their bikes so now I teach using verbiage like wattage and power. There are a lot of different elements added when they are on their own bike, compared to a flywheel [cycling] bike.”
While the class format has brought more athletes into the club, the program is welcoming to all fitness levels. The trainers accommodate all types of bikes, whether it is a mountain bike or a road bike. “We have a lot of people who might have never ridden outside, but will come and go through a class,” added Parker. “It is definitely for all fitness levels — for people who are completely novice to bikes, to people who have been riding for years.”
Parker launched the program seven years ago with only seven trainers. Today the class has blossomed and the club features 40 trainers. Once clients experienced the unique workout, they were hooked.
“They get off the bike after class and say they have never experienced anything like it,” explained Parker. “Typically when you are working by yourself, you are not going to push that hard. The response has been super positive and the word has spread around town.”