The big IHRSA convention starts tomorrow (can't wait) and as a follow up to my visit last year I wrote this article. If you visit that link and scroll down a bit, you'll see this image of a banner displayed at the entrance of the convention.
At the time I wrote:
This banner was the very first thing you saw walking into the LA convention center. My first impression was; “that’s dumb… who would ever want to ride a recumbent bicycle in an Indoor Cycling class?”
As I walked past this display I did a double take and then it hit me > there’s a huge population of people who are intimidated by the skinny, little seats on Indoor Cycles.
Obese/overweight people for starters and you can’t forget Seniors. Together they make up a sizable demographic that we are completely missing. They’re two groups who would really benefit from the comfort of riding on a recumbent, with its large seat and easy to step through design.
Despite all of the technological changes we've witnessed (Power Meters, Virtual Ride Videos & Display Training systems) + the massive increases in popularity (Thank You SoulCycle), Indoor Cycling is still failing to attract large segments of society who would really benefit from our classes.
I'll bet you can quickly describe the profiles of the typical people you do not see in your classes. They include:
- Obese people of either gender.
- Pregnant women.
- People with a physical impairment or limitation – I group all the folks with back injuries here.
- Seniors / Elderly living with everything negative that comes from aging.
- People recovering from an injury.
Why is that? What's preventing (or discouraging) all the people in these groups from experiencing your awesome class? That skinny saddle for one thing. In the mind of someone 100lbs over weight, it may as well have sharp spikes sticking out… what about the person with a bad back? No way they'll even consider bending forward to reach those handlebars, no matter how high you adjust them. A common scourge of aging is limited mobility; “there's no way I could ever climb on that bicycle. My hips and knees just don't flex like they used to.”
It's the design, stupid.
The riding position of Indoor and outdoor cycles, while perfect for you and me, just doesn't appeal to the populations listed above. In fact there are many who would be terrified at the thought of mounting and riding the Indoor Cycles in your studio.
However they might be willing to join your class, if you offered them a recumbent to ride…
Again from last year's article I added;
I talked at length with the representative from Cascade Health & Fitness about helping them establish a few beta recumbent cycling locations. They are very motivated to meet with anyone who’s interested.
As it turned out there were some Instructors who were interested to experiment with adding a few recumbent Indoor Cycles to their classes. John Kennedy with Cascade Health and Fitness provided three studios each with a pair of recumbents and now, after about six months of use, we're hearing some favorable responses 🙂
Marietta Colberg Roberts is the Fitness Director at Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs CO. Listen as she describes her experiences bringing people into her classes, who otherwise wouldn't attend.
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.