Let It Rock Spin Mix

6 Jun

One of my iTunes Ping buddies asked me a very interesting question recently.  She wondered if all of my recent road riding has changed my style as a cycling instructor. I thought it was a great question and I have been thinking about it ever since.  I honestly still do not consider myself a ‘road biker’, but I did get a real feel for what road biking was all about  while I was training and riding in the 100 mile event in May. There are so many reasons I am grateful for the experience, and one of the perks was that it helped me to become a better cycling instructor.

I have quite a few road bikers that frequent my class, and although I feel like they were really enjoying the class to begin with, I think I am better able to coach them now that I can actually feel the difference between being on the road and being on a spin bike.

The big difference that I’ve noticed is that my cues and coaching points are more meaningful now for all of my riders.  I use more imagery to take them out on the road with me.  Getting to the top of a hill or ‘finishing strong’ on a flat really feels like we’re out on the open road.

I don’t know if my riders have noticed the difference.  I certainly think that I was a good instructor before I become a ‘road biker’ (again, in quotes), and I think that there are plenty of amazing instructors out there that don’t ride on the road. But I am always trying to improve, and I think this has been one step forward for me as an instructor.

So what do you think as instructors/participants?  Should your instructor be skilled as a road biker?  Are you fine with taking a class/teaching, never having experienced road biking? Does it really matter????  Leave a comment-I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s this week’s playlist:

Listen in iTunes!

I have also added:  Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now (Killed It Remix)

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6 Responses to “Let It Rock Spin Mix”

  1. Lisa Goldman June 6, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    I struggle with this. I am not a “road biker” either — but I do try to get outside and ride every so often. Maybe 1x a month I’ll go for a short ride (1-2 hrs) and I think it does help with the cueing and visualization I can bring into class. On the other hand, I really dislike the elitism I see some of the road bikers bring into class or hold against those of us who are not. You can get a great workout in a spin class without being a “real cyclist” and I think that’s terrific. I think it’s important to use safe methods in class, and I appreciate people like Jen Sage and the Cycling Fusion folks, but I think the “Keep it Real” mantra can be exclusionary. “Keep it Safe” works better for me — I don’t think an indoor cycle class need to strive to be totally “real” and replicate the outdoor riding experience. They’re related, but not identical, and IMHO that’s OK.

    • chrispins June 6, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Well said Lisa. I completely agree with you. I have had ‘cyclists’ in my class before that I think are going to have no problem and then completely struggle with their form. I’ve had them argue with me about using the ‘aero’ position on a spin bike as well. Some people just don’t want to listen, and I find that spinning is not really for them, while other cyclists really use the class to their advantage in their training and respect that spinning and outdoor cycling have their differences. Then there are the cyclist that won’t even give it a try. Honestly, after being on the road, I can tell you that a one hour spin class is way more work than any outdoor ride I’ve ever taken.

  2. Jessica @ Fit Talker June 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I agree with both of you.
    I’m definitely not an outdoor rider as i’m very much distrusting of cars (or rather, their drivers). I did do one actual ride which then inspired a spin ride and while the memory of it helps me visualize and cue, i’m not sure it seems any different to the riders.
    I used to feel insecure about being an instructor without a bike but over the years I’ve come to terms with it.
    On the flip side, I know some serious outdoor cyclists who are horrible instructors (which makes me feel better). 🙂 My favorite is the guy who spins in full cycling attire including a windbreaker. Really?

    • chrispins June 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      None of the instructors at my gym are outdoor cyclists, so I can only imagine how funny that is! I do wear my bike shoes, but never bike shorts or jerseys. Just my usual (sweat wicking) tanks and capris. But hey, you never know when a good headwind is going to come along so the windbreaker may just come in handy. 🙂
      I forgot to mention too that being a spin instructor made me a much better outdoor cyclists. Some of the ‘cyclists’ I saw out on the road had horrible form! Thanks for commenting Jessica!

      • giddyup June 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

        First let me say that you are a road rider. Anyone who rides 100 miles has earned that title. Own it sister. 🙂 I prefer to refer to myself as an outdoor rider. I consider everyone who takes my class as a “rider” but I have some that ride “outdoor” also.
        In my case, I honestly believe I am a better spin instructor because of my outdoor riding skills. However, I am very confident that you can be a great spinning instructor without the outside experience. So many factors go into making a great instructor, planned profiles, organized, good music, using music well, personality and the list goes on. So, in short, being an outdoor rider can help but it’s not necessary.

      • chrispins June 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

        Thanks for your comment, and I completely agree! 🙂

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