A 2 hour indoor cycling class is quite a challenge even for seasoned riders and instructors. Such ride can be done in the context of a fund raiser or simply to create a unique and demanding challenge. You may be wondering why 2 hours? If you have taken a 60 or 90minute class, you probably wondered ….how far can I push the limits and how much more can I endure? I was recently asked to deliver a 2 hour ride at three separate locations (on three separate dates for the same fitness chain) and I thought that I should finally formalize what I would consider to be the critical factors to ensure that you have a successful ride, and more importantly to inspire your riders to bring back the 2 hour ride again and again!!
Step 1: Why 2 hours?
When pitching the ride to your studio’s management or even your students, you have to be clear on the benefits of such a prolonged ride as well as its unique advantages. The most important selling point is the personal challenge such a ride can pose. Are you ready to see how far you can go? Are you ready to set new personal bests? Are you ready to overcome barriers and push through to new heights? These are some of the questions you can use on posters, social media or the studio’s website to elicit a direct, powerful and engaging response from indoor cycling riders who consider themselves to be the elite. Sure, some may have done two or even three classes in a day, but have they sustained a single ride for 2 hours?
Step 2: Clearly Identify The Benefits
It is not enough to ask the hard hitting questions. It is equally important to identify the target goals of the 2 hour ride. For example, with the help of HRM and Power metrics (e.g. Performance IQ or Polar devices), you can set specific and measurable deliverables such as power achieved, distance traveled, calories expended, heart rate thresholds, etc. For many tech-savvy riders, these metrics will appeal to them because they can see themselves reaching new heights and establishing new baselines for their desired personal workout goals. However, do not be exclusive. This ride should not specifically target just elite riders – it is open to any rider, regardless of age, gender or fitness abilities. This way, your message is inclusive and will appeal to a wider audience from which you can create a buzz for future rides.
Step 3: Promote The Event
Come up with a unique slogan for this event and ask your studio to promote it on social media and their website. Use your own social media outlets to invite riders and further promote the ride. A recent 120 minute ride I conducted had this as its slogan: CYCLE 4-3-2-1: 4 Instructors, 3 Zones, 2 Hours, 1 Epic Ride (yes, that was a multi-instructor event). Additionally:
- Communicate (through social media or other tools) to the riders about start time, location and the ride’s profile.
- Ask your riders for music suggestions. If they contribute, chances are they will show up.
Step 4: Come Prepared & Make Sure They Are Prepared
As an instructor, this special ride requires careful profile planning and music selection (more on that next). Here are some other items to pay attention to:
- Do not teach a regular class prior to the 120 minute class. Come well rested and hydrated. Eat a light meal an hour before the start of class.
- If budget allows it, bring a case of bottled water, energy bars and fresh fruit. Riders will appreciate that, especially those who did not prepare well.
- Bring an extra towel, extra batteries, a backup music source and wear your favorite outfit.
- If you feel your audience would be receptive, bring some affordable “dollar store” items such as noise makers, light sticks, etc.
- Bring your camera/mobile phone to take pictures for posting on social media.
- Bring an ice pack or two. Some riders will discover new pains as they ride for 2 hours. Having an ice pack or two will help alleviate the pains and prevent unnecessary cramping.
Step 5: Carefully Craft The Ride’s Profile & Music
I know you have been teaching for many years and you can instruct a 60 or 90 minutes class with little planning. On the other hand, a 120 minute ride requires careful scripting of routines and companion music for some very important reasons:
- Your profile should have a balance between prolonged climbs, seated drills and combinations. Do not focus on just one drill – keep it varied, keep them interested and keep it moving!!
- Your profile should have enough recovery times so that you do not burn the riders out.
- You must pace the class and be clear about effort/energy output. Set targets for every 30 minutes using your power meter (if available).
- Temper your own expectations: During my most recent 120 minute class, we started with 36 riders. After 60 minutes, 4 dropped off. After 75 minutes, 3 more dropped off. After 90 minutes, 27 riders remained. At the 120 minute mark, only 22 riders finished the class. The 120 minute ride is not for every rider. Some may try to see how far they can go. Some may try to complete it. Do not be alarmed if only a few riders remain for your first 120 minute ride.
- Brush up on cues and write them down so that you do not “sound like a broken record”. Since the riders will be hearing you for 120 minutes, consider the “less is more” approach when verbally engaging the room.
Step 6: Acknowledge The Accomplishment
Riding for a sustained 2 hours in a remarkable milestone, irrespective of your fitness levels. As you coach your riders into unchartered territory, you will find that some will develop a new found confidence in their abilities to meet the challenge and overcome it. Your job is not to please everybody, but to focus on those who are willing to advance beyond personal limitations. You must reward their accomplishment: door prizes (something affordable), a personal acknowledgement on the studio’s website or your social media feed, will go a long way towards earning the bragging rights for having completed 120 minutes of an indoor cycling ride.