Indoor cycle instructors as everyday heroes.
“All you've got, all your brand has got, all any of us have are the memories and expectations and changes we've left with others. It's so easy to get hung up on the itinerary, the features and the specs, but that's not real, it's actually pretty fuzzy stuff. The concrete impact of our lives and our work is the mark you make on other people. It might be a product you make or the way you look someone in the eye. It might be a powerful experience you have on a trip with your dad, or the way you keep a promise. The experiences you create are the moments that define you. We'll miss you when you're gone, because we will always remember the mark you made on us. There's a sign on most squash courts encouraging players to wear only sneakers with non-marking soles. I'm not sure there's such a thing. If you're going to do anything worthy, you're going to leave a mark.” - Seth Godin
The spin bike becomes your carbon fibre machine, the participants around you become your "pack". Imagine riding in a single pace line towards a steep ascent, a deep pulsing rhythm surrounds you, the driving beat becomes your road. You're on Jeannette and Vic's wheel, he's the captain she's the stoker. They're on a red tandem. Pedal strokes fully synchronized to the rhythm, fluid and powerful, two cyclists as one in a coordinated effort to conquer this climb. You hear Jeannette's breathless encouragement in Vic's ear. "Faster, pedal faster, we can do this."
Jeannette and Vic Geiger, a couple in their early 50's, overweight and ready for a change embark on their first spin class. They fall in love with it. They never miss a class and the weight drops off as their self esteem flourishes. Their love of the ride prompts their instructor to ask, "have you ever thought you might like riding outside?" "Not a chance", was the reply. Jeannette was born with a genetic condition, Stargardt's. She has no central vision, she can only see peripherally. Riding a bike outdoors is an impossibility for her. Their instructor, suggests a tandem (a bicycle built for two), Vic can be her eyes. Months later, on a red tandem, Vic and Jeannette Geiger train for and complete a 140 kilometer ride raising funds for Cycle for Sight. The sense of accomplishment is palpable as Jeannette talks about "the freedom of movement and the wind in her face", something she could never have accomplished without her captain and without the seed of possibility planted by her instructor.
Lisa Didus of Active Journeys heard a voice in her ears during a 7 kilometer climb on the way to Ravello in southern Italy. "I could hear a voice in my head, 'smooth out your cadence, drop your shoulders and relax, loosen your grip on the handlebars', these weren't my words, but the words of my favorite spinning instructor. She was in my head, encouraging me forward, telling me how awesome I am and somewhere in my mind, I believed it too."
The impact we have as indoor cycling instructors is vast. Every day, in every class we have the opportunity to truly touch someone. To really make a difference. To connect. An ordinary spin class is a great way to workout. An extraordinary spin class creates opportunities that define us as instructors, as coaches. An ordinary spin class leaves a temporary puddle of sweat on the floor. An extraordinary spin class leaves a mark on your soul.