How to Bike Right

It’s time to hop on that bike! Indoor cycling has spread like wildfire – and it’s easy to see why. It’s currently one of the most popular workouts around and cycling studios seem to be popping up on every corner. Riding a bike has come a long way from getting you to a friend’s house quickly when your Mom couldn’t drive you. It’s now a fast paced, competitive, high energy sport. It’s also a great way to get a low-impact workout that burns tons of calories, increases muscular endurance, and gives you a great big dose of heart and lung building cardio-vascular fitness. Once you experience riding a stationary bike in a darkly lit room with the music pumping and riders cheering you on, you’ll quickly fall in love!

At Urban Vybe, it’s extremely important to us that not only do you have a great time while burning off some of that fluffy stuff, but also that you are riding on the best equipment available. When shopping for bikes, we went with the top-quality, Keiser M3. This bike is rated 2017’s #1 indoor cycle bike by Top Fitness Magazine.  FitnessStep, and Optimum Fitness, who consider Keiser their top pick in their spin bike reviews. Not only is the equipment important, but variety is an important component to optimizing your workouts and to prevent plateauing. To help keep our members engaged, we offer a wide variety of innovative new cycle classes that incorporate strength training, yoga, and pilates core work after your ride, for a complete transformational experience. It’s also a great way to maximize your time by combining 2 classes in one!

With that being said, we know how intimidating it can be if you’ve never taken a spin class before. To make is easy for you, we have listed the following information and steps you need to know to get started.

Let’s Spin

Before you hop on your bike, there are 4 adjustments that you need to check before you ride. These settings are important for safety and essential to ensure that you receive the most benefits from the ride. The seat height, seat fore and aft positioning, handlebar height and hand positioning, and lastly, locking your shoes into the pedal cages or clips. These can all be personalized to your body proportions for a comfortable ride.

 

Take a Seat

Bike seats have had a bad rap of being notoriously uncomfortable often due to incorrectly positioning the saddle height. For proper bike set-up, loosen your adjustments, stand next to your bike and bring the top of the bike seat up to the height of your front hip bone. Lock in your adjustment and hop on your bike. Place your shoes in the shoe cages or clip in with the ball of your foot centered on the pedal and sit down squarely on the saddle. With one foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke and foot flat, your leg should be close to straight with a slight bend in the knee. If your knees are hyperextended or bent too much, the repetitive nature of cycling could possibly increase your risk for injury.

Seat Fore & Aft 

Directly under the bike seat is a small lever with adjustment numbers listed 1-8. Turn the handle to the left and you can now slide the seat forward and back to fit the length of your legs. The distance from your handle bars to your seat should be a little longer than the length of your fingers to your elbow. To double check, hop on your bike the ball of the foot centered on the pedals. Bring one foot to the very front of the pedal stroke and gaze down the tip of that bent knee. If your knee is behind the ball of your foot, move the seat forward, closer to the handle bars. If the knee is forward of the ball of the foot, move the seat position back. With the feet at a level position on the pedals, your front knee should be even with the ball of the foot. 

 

Get a Handle on Things

Handlebars can be moved up or down based on comfort and ease. Your handle bars should be set to the height of the saddle or a little higher. Make sure that you are not reaching too far forward to hold on, but perfectly able to hold on with a slight bend in the elbow to control your balance. 

 

Pedal to the Metal

No special shoes needed! Our Keiser M3’s have shoe cages to accommodate all athletic shoes. Place the ball of your foot centered on the pedal and tighten the straps to lock-in your shoes for greater stability & power. Try a few rotations to test the pedals and to make sure you’re set to jet! Once you get hooked on our indoor cycle classes, we recommend you invest in a good pair of your own cycling shoes. These will help enhance your experience by stabilizing your foot onto the bottom of the pedal. Our pedals have standard SPD clips which will fit most standard bike shoes. These can be found at any local bike shop.

 Let’s See That Technique

Riding a bike is pretty much just like “riding a bike”!  However, you can enhance your indoor biking experience using these highly recommended riding techniques. 

The Bee’s Knees

Your knee’s should be aligned with your feet and track directly forward of the toes as you ride. Don’t let your knees bow out wide to the side of the pedals, we are not riding a horse.

I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands

No matter where you need your hands at any point of the ride, make sure you have a relaxed grip for best ride results – using a white knuckle, death grip will not burn more calories. Keep in mind, if you need more stability, move your hands wider out to the outer sides of the handlebars. When riding out of the saddle, keep your hands wide as you reach them up toward toward the top of the handlebars.

  • Position 1: Hands on the front main bar, close to the center. (Don’t hunch over tho!)

  • Position 2: Hands on the outer bars by where the corners bend

  • Postion 3: Center bars, hands hold the aero bars

Gears

The best part of indoor biking is that you get to control the intensity at which you want to ride. You decide how hard to push yourself and when it’s time to ease up. The resistance or gear is controlled through the red lever located in the center of the handle bars. Push it up to increase the resistance on the pedals, or move it down to decrease the resistance. Take a peek on your bike monitor to see your gear number. It’s located on the lower left corner of the bike screen. The gears are numbered 1-24; 1 being the lightest resistance, and 24 being the most challenging. Much of a rider’s power (watts) is based on muscular strength and conditioning, as well as body weight. We always encourage riders to use the bike monitor to help track your progress. The more you ride, the more your body responds and you will soon see your numbers go up. These gains in strength and power can be incredibly motivating, along with the transformative affect on the shape of your body.

 

Posture

As you ride, keep your elbows slightly bent and chest and head lifted to keep the lungs open for deeper breathing (like your in yoga, ya know?). Engage your core muscles to keep your spine lifted decreasing compression on your spinal disks. When you engage your core muscles, you will not only strengthen your core muscles helping to narrow your waistline, but also you will find that you will be able to drive more power into the pedals. This helps to increase our work load & improve cardio-vascular conditioning.

 

Stand up or Sit Down

Should I stand or sit??? That is the question! You can sit in the saddle the entire class and get an amazing workout. What matters most is the intensity at which you ride. Often your body will tell you that you need posture break or reset. Coming out of the saddle will help. This is a great way to alleviate stress in the knees and back. It’s also a powerful way to drive more force into your pedals with the added weight of your body helping to push. When the teacher says “Come out of the saddle if you want”, add more resistance/gear (Red Lever), take a wider hand position on the handlebars, and step firmly on the pedals to lift your booty up off the seat. As you stand and pedal, keep your hips floating close to the saddle, being aware that you are not leaning too far forward or putting all your body weight into your arms. This will help you avoid strain on your neck and undue force on your hands or knees. 

 

What’s Your Status

The Kieser M3 is equipped with a bike computer screen complete with RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), Power (Watts), Heart Rate, Ride Timer, Gear, and Odometer (Trip Distance). You can view this information at all times during your ride to maximize your class experience. Check out the video below (Courtesy of Keiser)

 

What a Ride!

Now it’s time to get into a class and experience the thrill of the ride! Whether you’re taking our Zen Cycle and Yoga combo to add in some deep muscular stretches, attending our Cycle/Pilates combo to hit the core, or if you are ready to see more muscular conditioning in our 30/30 or 45/30 Cycle and Strength Training class, we know you’ll love indoor cycling as much as we do. Don’t let your doubts and fears limit you from reaching your fullest potential -there’s nothing to Fear!

We are here to help you Raise your Vybe one pedal stroke at a time!

 See you in class!

Stacy & Jo

Check out all our cycle classes here!