We’ve all heard the saying “It’s just like riding a bike,” a phrase meant to reassure the listeners that the task before them — whatever it is — will come naturally and can’t be unlearned once mastered. There’s a reason the object in this old adage is a bike and not, say, a unicycle or a skateboard. Something about the bicycle causes us to tap into an innate sense of balance and motion with little conscious thought. Even if it’s been years since our last ride, we somehow remember the movements. (Ask me about the time I impulsively raced my first triathlon having not ridden a bike for the better part of a decade… I wouldn’t call it smooth sailing but my survival supports the theory!)
This universal quality of the bike, already so useful for outdoor recreation, transfers beautifully into an indoor setting. Inside we get the stationary bike, a familiar staple of gyms everywhere, and certainly a mainstay at UVAC. The stationary bike may be a part of your cardio routine or it may be a piece of equipment that for one reason or another, you don’t utilize as much as you could. Regardless, if you haven’t already, I’d like to challenge you to level up with the stationary bike and take a group cycling class for a spin.
First-time participants in a group cycling class can expect a welcoming environment, a highly flexible workout, and a whole lot of positive energy. UVAC’s group cycling studio is tucked away at the end of a corridor, lending it an air of seclusion from the rest of the facility. It’s a spacious room with fans to cool you down as you bike and a wall of windows to bring the outside indoors. The instructor bikes from a raised platform facing the class, making it easy for them to see and be seen. If you’re using one of UVAC’s Keiser stationary bikes for the first time, the instructor is always ready and eager to help you get oriented. The bikes are designed to fit all kinds of body types and sizes and are easily adjusted to suit you.
My favorite part about group cycling is how personalized the workout is. Of all the group exercise classes I’ve tried, cycling is the best in terms of how easy it is to tailor the instruction to my own abilities and goals. You’re in charge of your bike during a group cycling class, and you control how much resistance the pedals give you. This makes it possible for a serious cyclist and a beginner to take the same class and follow the same instructions without one feeling under- or over- challenged. Participants with widely varying abilities and levels of fitness can achieve a great workout side by side. It’s as simple as adjusting a knob on your bike as you pedal to increase or decrease resistance.
In addition to a welcoming and customizable workout experience, you can also expect energy and enthusiasm throughout your group cycling class. Using the studio speakers, instructors pump music through the room that they’ve selected to complement each segment of the ride. There are upbeat songs with driving rhythms for sprints, while slower, uplifting numbers accompany your downhills. Over the music, you can expect to hear clear directions and lots of encouragement from the instructor. If you’re the kind of person who likes a healthy dose of inspiration with your workouts, you’re almost guaranteed to find it in a group cycling class. The instructors are committed to a positive experience, and you’ll have opportunities throughout class to recognize your own strength and appreciate the journey you’re on.
Convinced that you’re going to give it a go? UVAC offers numerous group cycling classes throughout the week, including both early morning and evening options. Shop around, find a time and an instructor that really suit you, and make cycling a part of your fitness routine. I hope that you, like me, find it a spin worth taking!
Sunday, March 3 @ 9am NEW!
UVAC will now offer Monthly Cycling Orientations on the 1st Sunday of every month! This free class includes bike set-up, benefit explanation of a cycle program, and a short ride to get you comfortable on the bike and prepared for your first class. Cycling is for all ages and abilities. Nobody is left behind and everyone goes home satisfied with their ride. Sign up is requested by contacting [email protected]
By Caitlin Birch — UVAC member; Wilder, VT resident; Digital Collections and Oral History Archivist at Dartmouth College