Friday, January 8, 2010

Let's Go Spinning!

“Do you want to go spinning?” my friend Dick asked. My first response was, “I do not do yarn”.

So what is spinning? For an outdoor enthusiast, spinning is a bicycle aerobic exercise that can either take place on a specially designed stationary bike-like device called (obviously enough) a spinning bike, or, you can put your own bicycle in a climbing block and stationary trainer, and pedal nowhere.

A perfect time for spinning is on a cold, windy, snowy night in the middle of a New Hampshire winter. What a great time to meet friends, get cardio exercise, learn the secrets of pedaling from experts, and adjust your bike’s hardware. I attend an evening one hour indoor cycling spinning class at Nault’s Cyclery in Manchester. (

First, let me stress this class is not for the novice bicyclist. The pace of the class is aimed at experienced bicyclists preparing for spring competition and long outdoor mileage. I use this class to be ready for my June triathlons (

The class is lead by Jack, a USAC Level III Coach ( As we pedal with motivating beat music in the background, Jack talks us through a visualization of an outdoor cycling workout: "You're going up a long hill now, you can't see the top yet.…"

During the class you vary your pace -- sometimes pedaling at a high cadence, other times cranking up the gear level, and even pedaling from a standing position. We do routines that are designed to simulate terrain and situations similar to riding a bike outdoors. Some of the movements and positions include hill climbs, sprints and interval training.

Nault’s bike shop provides space for our twice weekly “bike ride”. The staff even helps with minor equipment adjustments, such as helping me when my cadence meter was not registering and assisting me when my handlebars needed a more efficient alignment. Without Nault’s continued support this class would not be possible.

Jack hardily encourages us to drink plenty of water. Indoor cycling is very energetic and causes a lot of sweating, and a person can easily get dehydrated. Spinning burns serious calories and offers an awesome aerobic workout that makes your heart pump fast. It also tones your quadriceps and outer thigh muscles. Because you stay in one place with the same basic movement throughout, spinning makes it easier to concentrate on your form than in an outdoor environment.

We follow Jack’s encouragement and instruction: “pedal with only your left leg for one minute, one minute slow pedaling both legs, and then pedal with the left leg for one minute.”

To get more information on spinning go to and Indoor Cycling Tips and Training

What do I bring to the class?
• My bicycle and my bike shoes
• A water of bottle (I am definitely going to sweat.)
• Hat or sweat band
• Towel for wiping away sweat
• Power meters and heart rate monitors are encouraged
• Padded bicycle shorts

I now, never have to say, “I wish I had done winter spinning.”

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