Nicole Tsong decides to give indoor cycling another try when she finds a fun, high-energy option.
I AM A BIT reluctant about indoor cycling. I rarely go, so I know it likely will hurt. I sometimes find it tedious to ride up and down imaginary hills.
But when I heard about a new class dedicated to using music and endurance to spice it up, I decided to give it a chance.
I went to Flywheel, part of a national indoor cycling chain, for a class called FlyBeats. The class changes up Flywheel’s usual formula, eliminating the leaderboard, which shows how you rank against other riders during your hills and speed drills. Instead, it focuses on cranking the music, adding dance-like moves and going for straight endurance.
I joined a late-evening ride for a packed class with Mat Koelsch. My favorite part of Flywheel is the setup. They turn down the lights so you can concentrate on riding, which helps me focus.
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The energy for class is upbeat, and after a warm-up at a relatively low resistance, we were quickly up off our seats and timing our feet to the beat of the music.
Soon enough, Koelsch had us bopping from side to side to songs like “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap and “We Make It Bounce” (Mike Sylix & Gianni Marino Bootleg).
He added pulses, bending our elbows down toward our bike and back up to the beat. At first, it was hard for me to coordinate moving my upper body while pedaling, but I caught on. He mixed it up between elbows out and elbows in for more triceps work. The pulses soon became my favorite part of class.
I didn’t pay a lot of attention at first to my power rating, the system that monitors how hard you are cycling. At some point, I realized Koelsch wasn’t going to flash the leaderboard so we could see rankings. I glanced down at my power rating, then sneaked a glance at my neighbor on Bike 10. He was 30 points ahead. Huh.
I resolved to go harder.
The FlyBeats class still included a stretch where we took down the resistance and went as hard as possible, always one of my favorite sections of a Flywheel class. Koelsch turned down the lights. I closed my eyes and went for it.
But there was that dang rider next to me. I sneaked a look again. He was now 50 ahead.
I tried to pick up the pace so he wouldn’t gain more on me. I turned up my resistance and pushed harder. At one point, I thought I was keeping pace and felt triumphant.
In the meantime, Koelsch was shouting encouragement, telling us to leave behind negative thoughts and take the positive forward. Flywheel is part of the current school of soulful indoor cycling classes — the teachers tell you to go hard for yourself, not because of how hard the guy next to you is going.
I apply this approach to my daily life, but clearly my competitive side was getting the best of me. I didn’t want Bike 10 to gain any more.
I finally realized I was losing this invisible battle. I told myself he must be a regular, and to let it go.
At the end of class, I looked over one last time. He ended 80 points ahead of me. C’est la vie.
Don’t get me wrong; I liked a break from the competitive side of Flywheel. I had a ton of fun dancing on my bike. It’s as close to clubbing while working out as you can get.
If you’re willing to let go of your competitive mentality, want to dance a bit and get your sweat on, FlyBeats might be the perfect fit for you.