Fitness Firsts: Cycling at Flywheel Sports

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JCC_8076My fitness go-to’s lately include Frisbee, lifting weights and logging miles on the treadmill, but not cycling. (Yes, I know, who the heck likes to run on the treadmill?) I try to exercise at least five times each week, and some days, the treadmill or the weight machine just doesn’t cut it. On weekends, I’ll change things up: a bike ride, the driving range or something else. I’m more of a leisurely cyclist, and I prefer to keep my biking outdoors on the Lake Trail in Palm Beach.

But when I found out about Flywheel Sports in Boca, I decided to try an indoor cycling class—my first one ever. Most classes are between 45 and 60 minutes long, and there’s a few different instructors that teach throughout the week. Instructor Nicole Hoskens points out the tech pack on each Flywheel bike, which shows the rider the RPMs, resistance (torque), power and calories burned throughout the ride. Riders can also compare their stats to those of their peers on a screen in the cycling stadium.

I got there on time and found myself facing a crowded parking lot. Pro tip: arrive early just for parking’s sake. Flywheel is not in the biggest of spaces, but everything is compact and set up well. A small lounge area is directly across from a row of cubbyholes, and lockers and changing rooms are in the back. Oh, and there’s a Flywheel merch wall, if you’re so inclined.

I checked in, grabbed a towel and slipped into a pair of cycling shoes provided by Flywheel. Another pro tip: wear flip flops and bring socks, unless you own a pair of cycling shoes. Mine fit pretty well and felt comfortable during the ride.

Once in the stadium, I locked my feet into the pedals, set my towel on the handle bars and pedaled slowly. I looked around the room. About 50 or 60 stationary bikes were full of women (and about 10 men) between the ages of 25 and 50. The lights dimmed, and the instructor, Angela Lutin, appeared at the front of the room and got on her own bike.

Stadium Shot 4

Together, everyone warmed up while a remix with loud beats played in the background. We started the ride shortly after, and I could feel my legs starting to burn. I adjusted the resistance knob so that my torque was at about 15 or 16 initially. Lutin led the class through 30-second sprints with torque at 20 and RPMs of 90 or higher. I upped my torque to 17 and my RPMs between 70 and 75, at least the first half of class. Indoor cycling requires a rhythm, and I was finding mine.

I rode a few different hills, which required leaving the saddle, or bike seat. I could feel the burn in my thighs increase and the sweat glistening on my arms and face. About halfway through, Lutin said: “How you do anything is how you do everything.” I think it was her motivational mantra because she repeated it a few times more the second half of class.

“We want to empower members and clients,” Hoskens says.

I was pleasantly surprised when Lutin told us to reach for the weighted bars on the side of the bike. We used them for some light upper body strength conditioning, while continuing to pedal, albeit more slowly and with less torque. The class finished with another small hill, a couple more sprints, and then a strong finish.

The lights came on, and we all did a few minutes of stretching before leaving the stadium. I noticed little puddles on the floor around most of the bikes. Guess I wasn’t the only one who had been working up a sweat. I left the stadium, put on my flip flops, threw my shoes and towel into the bin for cleaning, and walked out exhausted but feeling stronger.