Did you enjoy riding your bike outside this summer and the current cool days of our Edmonton Fall have been cramping your style? Look no further than an indoor cycling class.

Indoor cycling or what can sometimes can be called SpinningTM, is an excellent way to keep riding during Edmonton’s cold months. Various facilities and clubs offer indoor cycling classes from non-profits like the YMCA, to Recreation Services at the University of Alberta to private clubs such as World Health. As well, Edmonton and its bedroom communities are keeping up with the Joneses where boutique-like indoor cycling studios (think yoga studio but for indoor cycling) are popping up just like in New York City. Such studios include Exist Cycle Studio and Soul Spin in Sherwood Park and Tru Ride Cycle on Merchant’s Row in Edmonton.

So, you’ve heard from friends and maybe family how great indoor cycling classes are but do you think you are up for a heart pounding, calories expending session or two?

Here are my top seven suggestions, as a veteran indoor cycling instructor and avid rider:

1. Arrive early
As with starting anything new, showing up early to chat with the instructor and getting settled is key to your success!

2. Bike set-up is crucial
The worst thing that can happen is if your bike is not set-up just for you! Take time to set your seat height first, then handle bar height and if possible the fore and aft position of your seat and handle bars.

3. Understand how to operate the bike (hint: it is different from your regular bike)
Indoor cycling bikes, no matter which brand, have a weighted fly wheel meaning the pedals will continue to move forward even if you don’t continue to pedal. You cannot coast on these bikes (like your outdoor contemporary) and you have to keep pedalling or run the risk of blowing out your knees.

4. Bring water and a towel/face cloth
It gets warm and some would say hot with twenty plus bodies pedaling hard. As with any exercise, hydration is essential and this mode is no exception. A towel can be helpful to wipe your sweat from your brow too.

5. Wear comfortable, form fitting clothes and hard soled shoes
A cycling jersey is not necessary but like any cyclist on the road, you want to reduce drag. Wearing as form fitting clothes that you are comfortable with will aid in your success and if you want to minimize bum pain, cycling shorts will be your best friend! Hard soled shoes help make your workout the most efficient and productive by allowing force to transfer to the pedal most effectively.

6. Pace yourself
Class times range from 30 to 90 minutes so it is essential to pace yourself using your cadence or speed and resistance on the fly wheel. Nothing is worse than watching the clock during a workout because you are exhausted after the first set of drills.

7. Smile. Have fun!
Exercise is work and an indoor cycling class holds that to be true. BUT keeping a positive attitude, enjoying the music, and channeling your inner child (hoot and holler and cheer! This is your play time!) can keep your workout enjoyable. And as a
veteran instructor, the best thing is to look at a group that is smiling through the discomfort!

Finding an alternative to your outdoor riding is quite simple in Edmonton and area with many indoor cycling classes being offered. Try something new this Fall and you might just get hooked. And improve your physical fitness for Spring just in time to explore the real hills and valleys in this beautiful city on your outdoor bike.

Lisa A. Workman M.A., B.P.E., CSEP-CEP, AFLCA Trainer