(A PEP TALK — because we all need some empowerment from time to time)

Although I thought I would be preaching to the choir on this topic, I believe we need to stay inspired as much as anyone. We are the ones using all of our energies to change the face of indoor cycling.  We want to change the image of indoor cycling from a fad, not based on training science nor cycling, into a well-respected and fun way of obtaining real fitness — fitness that can be taken on the road (sorry, just had to throw in the ol”™ Stage5 Cycling tagline).

Let”™s gleam some insight from...well...cycling.  Since the (chain-driven) bike was invented and the first documented bike race in the late 1800”™s, the sport has continued to evolve and has taken many shapes to fit into our lives.  The first Tour de France was held 18 years after the bike”™s invention and has continued to thrive and grow every year.  More and more bike manufacturers have come on the scene creating bikes for every style of riding from recreational to BMX to triathlon to mountain to road.  Advances in bike technology have escalated in the last 20 years with new designs, materials, computers and power meters.  Considering the momentum and excitement around cycling, this trend will continue with no end in sight.

I know we all LOVE indoor cycling, but let”™s take an honest look at our industry.  Indoor cycling is roughly 20 years old and compared to the outdoor cycling industry, has not advanced at the same rate.  The bikes haven”™t changed much, with still only a few manufacturers and less than a handful that have incorporated technology. Now this next “opinion” may be hard to believe or except because those of you reading this are the exception and the ones who still draw large groups of people to your classes. However, from what I”™ve seen, this is not the case industry-wide.  I”™ve gotten to travel a bit teaching cycling workshops and clinics over the last 8 years and have seen the popularity of indoor cycling decrease.  Classes that used to be almost impossible to get into are now seeing only half of the bikes being filled on a regular basis.  I”™ve noticed the size of the cycling studios themselves getting smaller. Tom, this is depressing. Please stop before I cancel my gym membership, delete my cycling music and put my indoor bike on the curb.  Don”™t panic - we are on the cusp of a revolution!  Revolutions don”™t start because someone gets mildly irritated.  They also don”™t start because we “wish” things would be different.  Revolutions start because we have a conviction that “Things MUST Change in order to SURVIVE!”

People aren”™t motivated to ride bikes outside because the equipment is cool.  The Tour de France isn”™t a mob scene every year because people come to see the latest equipment and technology. No, it is about the fun and adventure as we explore both the outside world and our physical ability and limits from the seat of a bike — a bike we control. OK Tom, bring it home. Where are you going with this?

If we want indoor cycling to be more than just a fad or a modality of fitness in our clubs, we need to Make it REAL to Make it LAST.  Think about this: who is the hardest group of people to get into an indoor cycling class?  The answer: CYCLISTS.  What da?!?!  Holy......!  How can that be?  They are blood of our blood. Our kindred spirits. Why? Because outdoor cyclists still view indoor cycling as non-cycling movements taught by people who know little about training and don”™t ride outdoors.  Remember, I”™m not taking about you. Regardless of who is to blame, this is our profession and passion and we must start and fuel the revolution if we want to save it.

My motto “Real Cycling. Real Training. Real Life.”

Take your riders beyond the walls of the indoor studio.  Introduce real training concepts in every class.  Provide real challenges and goals.  If you”™re not an outdoor rider, change that today.  Buy a bike, dust off a bike or borrow a bike and get out on the road and bring your experience and adventure back to your class. Then, get out and ride with your people.  They”™ll talk about it.  They”™ll tell their friends.  You will be their hero, motivator and coach.  And it will be FUN because, when I ride outside, I”™m having fun. So if you aren”™t having fun riding indoors — it ain”™t really cycling. Then it will cease to be called “Indoor Cycling” but rather “Cycling Indoors”.  Our brothers and sisters out on the roads and trails will flock to the clubs.  Our industry will be a fad no more.  We will have saved it.  This is why I joined Stage5 Cycling with Cycling Fusion. To build a bigger and stronger army. To start a revolution! So do what YOU need to do.  Make it Real.  Make it Last.  Make it Happen.

Ok, can someone get me a glass of water?

Originally posted 2011-08-31 05:00:30.

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