Bill Pryor has an interesting article in the latest addition of Club Industry's online magazine.
Indoor cycling isn't what it used to be, and for traditional health clubs, as well as the hundreds of brand new dedicated cycling studios popping up around the world, this is turning out to be a good thing. Technology and innovation, especially in electronics and fabrication, are revitalizing the venerable indoor cycling workout in dramatic ways while reducing the headaches and costs that club and studio owners dread.
Using Technology to Measure Performance and Motivate
Outdoor cyclists have long had access to tools such as Computrainers that allow them to measure and analyze their efforts. For indoor cyclists, these kinds of tools are a recent addition, and club and studio owners are finding them to be an effective way to build and grow attendance. Dozens of studios are using performance metrics technology in their group exercise cycling programs, and many more are coming online soon.
Performance Metrics for Cycling Classes
In just the past few years, most major bike manufacturers have started offering metrics capabilities or consoles as a built-in feature or as an add-on option in their top bikes. These systems provide the rider with some combination of performance-related metrics: pedal cadence, heart rate, power (watt) output, calories burned and estimated mileage. In some cases, this information also can be automatically transmitted and stored for later viewing. Several third-party suppliers and web developers have built systems to measure, present, store and track performance data. In essence, this information can now be viewed in several important ways:
- On each bike. With this, individual class visitors can view real-time data, and class instructors can coach to that data.
- In front of the class on a monitor. Classmates can see their own performance data as well as data on fellow class participants.
- After the class on the web (data tracking). Performance data can now be stored online so riders can view and compare historic performances.
In some cycling studios, the instructor uses this data as a primary tool for coaching and motivation. In others, the data is there purely for the user to review, and they often can choose the metric of their choice–heart rate, watts, calories burned, etc. In any case, just having this information available is a far cry from the traditional cycling class. Music and cult instructors remain the primary draw for most classes, but performance technology has added an appealing new dimension to the mix.
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