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Welcome to the Bike Cafe!

The Bike Cafe is a new page at Spinning Music dedicated to helping you become the best indoor cycling instructor you can be.  There’s an amazing amount of experience, expertise, and enthusiasm among readers of this blog, but there was no page dedicated to sharing questions and ideas about indoor cycling… until now.

I flipped the sign on the door to read “open” and put on the coffee.  Come on in after your ride.  Ask a question.  Post an answer.  Share your knowledge with instructors from all over the world.  Pick up a few tips.

I can’t wait to hear your ideas and experiences.

A huge thank-you to reader Lisa, who inspired the idea of a Bike Cafe in one of her comments.

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22 Comments On “Welcome to the Bike Cafe!

  1. Sharon Reply

    Hi Cynthia, and fellow Spinning instructors and participants!

    I teach Cycle and Cycle ” fusion” classes (mix of time on the bike with floor work that involves weights and core strengthening exercises).

    I enjoy reading your blog, seeing your music selections and class formats. Since I began teaching, I have made a concerted effort to keep my music fresh from week to week for my spinning classes. I often have a music theme, (e.g. movie soundtrack songs, disco/funk, pop/top 40, even 80’s hair band songs). Once I create these playlists, I can update them by adding 1 or 2 new songs that fit the theme and I a good to go. I develop the class format after I gather the music into a playlist, and use lower tempo songs for climbs, etc…

    I will keep checking in for great ideas and inspiration!

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Sounds great, Sharon. I think it really shows when instructors put effort into song choice and organization. I know I appreciate it in others’ classes.

  2. yoly Reply

    hey girl how have you been??? you have written any post in so long… hope every thing going well :-)

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Hey Yoli, everything is great. I’m home with my daughter for the summer, just working nights and weekends, and really enjoying it. I promise a new playlist very soon!

  3. Kristina Reply

    Hey cyclers….I am an avid spin instructor that has recently developed a sore hip…it is not my hip flexor but the posterior upper hip….anybody had this problem and how to stretch it…it is a really weird spot to get at.

    thanks ahead of time

    Kristina in Minnesota

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Hi Kristina,

      So sorry to hear about your hip. I have no ideas myself – my background is in law, not the health professions. But I bet you’d get some good advice over at http://www.pedal-on.com. Some very experienced folks there, including many with health-related backgrounds. Cynthia

  4. Yoli Reply

    Hey Cynthia, you know I love your block, also I comment before that I love music and I think I have nice music that keep my classes motivated, but I need a suggestion, I teach at LA Fitness, and now they are don’t allow us to use our own music, they provided the cd’s with music, that is not even an original music, I can’t even prepared my class because I get the cd just when I come in to the gym like 15min before my class, all the teaches are pissed, in the beginning I kept using my I pod but las week I got a phone cal from my manager telling me that I have to use LA Fitness :-(
    I feel so unmotivated, I don’t know the music, I can’t prepared my class, and I feel my students also feel bored … any suggestion ????
    I keep reading your block is awesome even the comments… BTW TRACY keep going,I’m looking forward to hearing that you are teaching go girl

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Hi Yoli,

      This sounds similar to the Les Mills RPM program (where all of the music is provided) but with RPM, instructors can buy back-issued CDs and mix and match songs (though whenever there is a new release, they must use the new release for a few weeks first). I know LA Fitness isn’t a Les Mills gym, but it sounds similar. With Les Mills, the focus is on uniformity rather than originality – the company creates effective workouts and all instructors are expected to teach the same classes, the same way.

      I am wondering if the move to pre-prepared music is a copyright issue for LA Fitness? Commercial establishments have to pay a licence fee to use music. You might ask your manager some questions about the reason for the change.

      The first thing I’d do is go to the manager and tell her at minimum, you need the music at least a few days in advance in order to prepare an effective class. I think you need the music in advance whether you are expected to develop a routine to go with it or whether it comes with a pre-choreographed routine you have to learn.

      Tell her about the Les Mills program and ask if you can create classes from the music she’s previously given to you by mixing and matching songs. This will give you some flexibility and allow you to learn the music.

      If you anticipate that she’ll resist, consider having all (or most) of the cycling instructors go to her together to voice their concerns. There really is strength in numbers.

      Make sure you’re not confrontational – the change may not have been her decision – but instead approach it from the point of view that you’re all on the same side – wanting to deliver the best, most effective classes to your members and exploring how you will continue to do that.

      While I could do an improv class with music I’m not familiar with, I think I deliver a much better class by taking the time to become familiar with the music and planning a workout that uses the music to motivate my class.

      If your manager will not agree to let you have the music in advance you’ve got two options: find another gym to teach at (I’d lean towards this one, frankly) or continue to improvise. If you’re improvising, follow the music – use slow bits for recovery, sprint during the fast choruses, climb when there’s a slower steady beat, do a seated flat for a faster steady beat, move to jumps where you get a song that emphasizes every fourth or eighth beat.

      Good luck – let us know how it goes.

      Cynthia

  5. Tracy Reply

    This IS the year! :) I’ve already lost 16 pounds since the beginning of the year, and am doing spinning on my own or in a class 3x per week. Two other days I do vigorous cardio on several different machines, maintaining a high heart rate (157-170.)
    I talked to our health and wellness coordinator, who is also my favorite spin instructor, and I’m hoping to register for the 4/9 training!

    whoo hoo!!!!

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Tracy, that is fantastic! Keep us posted on how you’re doing and definitely let us know when you qualify so we can give you a huge cyber high-five.

  6. Ann Reply

    This is a great idea! I have been teaching spinning for about 6 years and am always looking for new ideas and music. I visit your site often for these things . . . I almost always come away with something new. Thanks so much for all you do : )

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Thanks Ann! I love this little blog almost as much as I love Spinning.

  7. Tracy Reply

    I’m not an instructor….yet. I have goals of becoming one after I shed a few more pounds and gain more control over my breathing (the two may be related?) Anyway, I often cannot make the organized classes offered at my gyms because I have two toddlers at home. I love your blog because it gives me ideas to incorporate into my own workout. Our gym doesn’t offer THAT many classes to begin with, so I look at your posts and the comments from other readers as a way for me to experience “classes” that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to!

    So, thank you!

    1. erin m. {{well in l.a.}} Reply

      Tracy – just wanted to say I’m inspired :) Go get ‘em!! If you’re thinking about, you’re already on the path to getting the goal! Cheers!

      1. Cynthia Reply

        Hi Tracy,

        Kids definitely make it harder to work out – but look at the great example you’re setting for them.

        When you can do four or five Spin classes a week (on your own or in a group setting) you’re ready to take the training to teach it. (I bet you’re closer than you think!) Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be a triathlete or marathoner or be crazy super-fit to teach. You just have to have huge enthusiasm for indoor cycling. Why not make 2011 the year?

  8. Lisa Reply

    Awesome! Thanks Cynthia! Can’t wait to see what develops. :-)

    P.S. That is the coolest cup of coffee ev-ah!

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Google images! I love it too.

    2. Kate Reply

      Love the coffee cup!

      1. Cynthia Reply

        Thanks Kate!

  9. Cynthia Reply

    Thanks Carol! Glad you like the blog and find it useful. I started including more detail in my playlists over the years because I think it’s easier to just print out a ride and go if everything’s already laid out, though I’m sure lots of people just take the songs and do their own thing with them.

    I suppose the rides posted here would be a way for new instructors to see what others are doing in their classes. When I was first teaching I obsessively went to other people’s classes – especially the wildly popular ones – and took notes afterward about what the instructors did that I liked and anything that didn’t work. I’m sure people thought I was nuts in the locker room scribbling away, but I found it really helpful.

    I have no plans to change the rest of the blog – the Bike Cafe is just an addition.

  10. Carol Reply

    Thank you for doing this. As a fairly new Spinning instructor I love this site. You’ve made me feel more confident as an instructor. I teach one Terrain per track (like a hill track, a speed track) and mix things up within each track) and I see you do too. I feel better about what I’m doing and it’s showing. Although my classes are small, our attitudes are big and so are those puddles under the bikes. One hour never felt so good! PLEASE don’t stop the song suggestions with the choreography notes. Maybe one day I can suggest a playlist too!

  11. Cynthia Reply

    Hey Brooke! Welcome to the blog. I love that we have so many Spinning moms and Dads around here.

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