By Team ICG® Master Trainer Chuck Cali
Recently, I started a discussion over at Pedal-on.com, a forum for cyclists, many of whom are indoor cycle instructors. The discussion dealt with using current, high-quality, coached video as a substitute for the sub.
Additionally, here on ICI/PRO, Jim Karanas tossed out the possibility of video subs, and John Macgowan did some research on how safe indoor cycling really is. You can access and read these posts, if you haven”™t already.
The responses varied but were generally negative. Although many thought it OK to have video on hand “just in case” or “in a pinch”, none thought it a good idea as a general practice.
Much of the commentary included concerns for the safety of unsupervised riders (read John”™s post: “How Safe or Unsafe Are Indoor Cycling Classes?”). Others felt the nickel-and-dime approach that clubs have adopted has eroded the member experience, and video subs are just another way to save a buck at the members”™ expense. One particularly honest respondent just said, “Hopefully, this won”™t be the newest thing to happen. What would we all do?”
What would we all do? It seems to me that”™s not the question. The question is, rather, what are we doing to improve our craft?
Indoor cycling and instructors have been around for about 20 years. In that time, many changes have taken place. But the same old eight-hour certification is still the norm. And the same company from “back in the day” is still the leading provider, as well as the one most program directors recognize.
That is changing (maybe too slowly), and for indoor cycling, that”™s good.
By far, the most notable changes are in bike technology and design. Today there are far more indoor cycles to choose from, with option packages that parallel those with the purchase of a car. Keiser M3, Schwinn AC, Free Motion S11.9, and the ICG® LIVESTRONG® bike are the major competitors of you-know-who.
For those of us wishing to improve our craft, it”™s good news. With each new bike comes a college of education. And they”™re sharing with us right here.
Most of the education is centered on how to use the new bike and its unique qualities to teach indoor cycling. These talented people, many of whom I”™ve worked with closely, have done some remarkable work.
And it”™s not just bike companies. That there”™s an internet presence like ICI/PRO, dedicated to the sole purpose of helping us improve our craft, is a shining example of what I mean.
In just the past couple of years, Cycling Fusion® has blended the racing and certification arm of Stage5 Cycling with Sally Edwards Heart Zones Cycling to produce compelling education, especially around training indoors to ride outdoors. Sister company Global Ride® has been, and is, traveling around the world, filming video for DVDs that work equally well for live or virtual coaching.
FreeMotion”™s Stages, led by Cameron Chinatti, has shown how much fun it can be to train with power. Please read her stuff here on ICI/PRO. I particularly like the discussion of getting back to RPE. True RPE.
Enter Team ICG®. They own the market share of indoor cycles in Europe. Here in the US, led by Jim Karanas, they teamed with Virtual Active to create MyRide®+. A thousand minutes of stunning Hollywood-caliber HD video in one stand-alone unit are programmed to allow an almost infinite number of forward motion video experiences. All of that is coupled with LIVESTRONG bikes, from which a percentage of the proceeds goes to fund cancer research.
It is not just the Johnny and Jay show anymore.
All of those mentioned above have their own web presence. Most can be accessed from ICI/PRO. There”™s a ton of great free education, information and ideas with easy access that can rejuvenate your instruction. In my next post, I”™ll talk about how to use these resources to add new dimensions to your teaching.
Have we hit the ceiling as indoor cycle instructors? No way!
So why not improve your craft? Consider it a personal challenge. What”™s in it for you? How about renewed vigor for teaching? Or larger classes, more fun, meeting new people as word gets out about how great your classes are?
Will you make more money? Perhaps not right away, but you”™ll go a long way toward securing your place on the lead bike, rather than being replace-able by a virtual coach.
We don”™t sit up there on the lead bike just for the money. Affirmation from our riders is huge for us. Admit it.
What are you doing to improve your craft?
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Well said Chuck. It’s part of what motivated John and as we started into this industry full time within a few years of each other – there is so much more this industry can offer, and it’s the instructors who will lead the way.
The longer I study the industry, the people and the technology the more convinced I am that you are correct. It is all about the instructors. We have the attention of our riders, many of whom become regulars.
But what I have also learned is that there is a lethargy among many instructors. For some very good reasons they have chosen not to improve their craft. In many cases the people they teach resist change. Some studios (I teach in one) have not changed the bikes in 10 years.
What I see is an acceleration of Indoor Cycling 2.0 that has outpaced the where the industry is today. As corny as it sounds we are the few, the proud. Those brave enough to take something new to our riders. We are all working in emerging new companies committed to education, the perpetuation of fitness and the joy of riding for training as well as fun.