Live your Tour de France dreams or high-five other riders in Germany – all without leaving your postcode.
If the idea of indoor cycling conjures up images reminiscent of the early ’90s, with a fitness seeker sweating it out in a headband and leotard and pounding the pedals while watching TV, then it’s time that image got an upgrade – because the tech certainly has.
Indeed, the new era of indoor cycling has pulled ahead of the pack, with cutting-edge technology making for a smarter, more individually tailored riding experience – whether you’re at home or at the gym.
Some classes are designed to replicate nightclubs, with flashing lights and the latest hit music. Others offer a fully immersive experience, with huge screens displaying scenic locations that make it feel as if you’re on the road – one day in the French Alps, the next in the deserts of Dubai.
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At Infinite Cycle, which has locations in Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT, you create your own personalized avatar (G-string leotard optional) that cycles along on the screen, so that it’s “just as close to riding on the road without actually being on the road,” Infinite Cycle master trainer Angharad Saynor tells Body+Soul.
Its state-of-the-art bikes are designed to tilt 22 degrees to each side, engaging more muscles through leaning and steering movements, making for an up to 20 per cent higher calorie burn than regular stationary bikes.
Saynor says it’s just like being on the road. So why not just go outside then?
For starters, safety. “I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but road cycling is dangerous,” Saynor says. “The other thing is I don’t think the technology is advanced enough for road cyclists at the moment.
With our bikes, you’re getting live stats – you can see whether you’re actually pushing a maximum output of pure hell or whether you’re taking it easy.”
Bikes with interactive screens provide up-to-the-minute stats and data on your watts, RPM, power output and heart rate, and you can compare each ride – something that Michaela Fellner, founder of Melbourne spin studio Bodhi & Ride says can be great for goal-setting.
“Even if you’re just competing against your own personal best, it’s going to make you push harder,” she tells Body+Soul.
While many of these brands were already developing their at-home tech, COVID lockdowns accelerated the process.
Some studios don’t require you to use a specialised bike at home, while others loan their bikes for an additional cost. And whether you prefer riding solo or socially, there are plenty of options.
It’s the next logical step, says Karen Lawson, country manager of at-home cycling platform Peloton Australia, which just launched here after taking the US and UK by storm.
She says that on-demand and live-streaming options give you “the comfort and convenience of fitness at home, without taking away the shared experience of exercising with a community.
The fact that digital classes allow you to be based in Australia while taking a live ride with one of our instructors based in the UK, while digitally high-fiving people in Germany taking the class alongside you, is pretty special.”
Feeling the burn?
Here are the areas that will reap the benefits of cycling:
The core is used to stabilize your body, and maintain good posture and overall balance on the bike – even more so if you avoid leaning on the handlebars.
Each pedal movement works your glutes, especially when you’re standing up out of your seat or increasing the resistance.
Cycling simultaneously strengthens and stretches your hamstrings, with each cycle of the pedal.
Quadriceps and calves
Builds strong, lean legs as your quads work on the downstroke and up hills, and your calves on the downstroke.