You want to Rock the Bike? At what price?

Yesterday saw Rock the Bike founder Keith Thompson‘s – now a celebrity in his own right – assault on London indoor cycling scene. Here is an example that I think EVERYONE has seen on FB over the last year or so but just in case you have been living under a rock …

I chose not to attend. Why? I have seen what he does on Youtube and I would never do these things on the bike. Off the bike? On the dance floor? Challenge me anytime! The man has moves!

Now let’s give credit where the credit is due. The guy used to be obese and through determination has transformed his life and as a consequence his body. Great achievement! His own indoor cycling instructor was so taken with his personality and how he managed to get her own class, where he was only a participant, into a full blast fun mood that she found a way to get a scholarship for him to qualify as a fitness instructor. That included indoor cycling qualification of some sort. He jumped on the opportunity and qualified. Another big brownie point goes to Keith.

Soon his classes became so popular that the gym increased their weekly number and still could not cope with the demand. However, alarm bells started ringing as his unconventional approach to indoor cycling, basically what he was doing on the bike, caused some serious concern (even though I haven’t found specific details) and Keith and the gym parted ways. I should think that nobody in that gym with any recognised cycling qualification could look at what was happening in these classes anymore and finally the management had to say enough is enough. People’s health and the high risk of long term serious injuries are more important than 45min fun here and now.

A few months ago on my FB page I wrote a review of a class that was taught at my local gym by an outside company. They were doing loads of similar moves to those Keith does. All of them considered as dangerous for your joints, not very effective and simply unsafe. Another thing they had in common with Rock the Bike was that they brought the “Party on the bike!!!” feel into the studio. I love me a party, why not? But I love my 2 knees and my back more and having had a serious surgery on my disk once, I am not willing to risk another.

I can hear you say: but people and this guy included have been taking these classes for years and they are fine! I say: give it time…

But there is also an immediate risk when doing dodgy moves on a bike. I found this review of Keith’s class online: “I am not a skilled Spin dancer. In fact, any newbies should probably learn their way around a Spin bike before taking a class with Thompson — I almost fell off and I’ve been riding for ten years!”

Taking the outdoors in and indoors out – what is this blog all about?

Hello and welcome to my blog. I have been toying with this idea for a while. Every time I have got some thoughts after an indoor cycling class I have just taught or a teaching experience I would love to share with my participants or fellow instructors, I find that FB is not always the best place to put anything too lengthy. Not to mention Twitter! Hence I decided to give blogging a go.

This blog will have two sides. First, my take on indoor cycling as an instructor – so advice for people taking the classes both from the technical point of view and more general stuff from the group exercise perspective. I will be reviewing cycling programmes, giving my opinion on indoor bike types etc. and talking about challenges I set in my classes from time to time.

The second part will document my journey as I venture into the world of outdoor cycling, carbon wheels, Vaseline, least damaging saddles, Garmins, Strava and battling the winds on the hills of Richmond Park or occasionally Westerham Hill or Crystal Palace. Or more recently in the Tour of Cambridgeshire. I am only at the start of it so it will be great to have you on the journey.

I will also be reporting from more leisurely trips here. The ones taken on my trusted Pinnacle hybrid bike that took me around Norfolk, Sussex and Holland so far. Plus tales from cycling holidays using locally rented bikes: Spain already in the past and South America coming next in November 2015.

I am ready. I usually start my classes like this:

I am Izabela. we have 45min workout to do so let’s do it! Relax your upper body, your neck, roll the shoulders back and down, lean from your hips forward and get your hands comfortably on the handlebars. Resistance nice and easy but make sure you stay in control of your bike. Take a deep breath in and let’s go!