Thursday, March 26, 2009

If You Can't Come to My Class, You Must Get This!

Weather, time restraints, and basically life often times gets in the way of training outdoors forcing you to spend those dreaded hours on the trainer. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to train indoors, but for the most serious cyclist, it has to be done.

I was recently introduced to some cool indoor cycling DVD’s by . I got an e-mail from them asking me to review their product and I immediately said, “You’ll have to go through my agent”. Right! Of course I said I would be glad to take a look at it and to be honest, was flattered by them asking. Who isn’t looking for a way to keep from going insane on their indoor trainer? There are three DVD’s in the set but I’m only writing about the Rolling Hills Ride. I’ll let you know about the other two when I get time to look at them.

I asked for volunteers to stay after class my Spin class this morning to participate in this virtual ride. Most people looked at me like I was crazy and suggested that I was lucky to get them for the first hour. I did, however, have two brave souls stay and do the ride with me. As a Spin instructor, I’m always trying to queue my class to help them visualize climbing or descending or going up and around a switchback, or cruising along on a flat with a strong headwind. This is one of the most challenging things for a coach. What are we doing at this particular time? How steep is the hill? Certain coaches are better than others at getting the class to visualize the ride. That’s why I think you’ll like this DVD set. It makes it easy for you to visualize riding in some of the most beautiful parts of the world.

This particular ride was a rolling hills ride in Maui, Hawaii. Here are some of the things I liked about this ride. The scenery is incredible. How cool would it be to go to Hawaii to ride your bike? Just looking at the views as you are riding is enough to make the time go by quickly. It was very easy for me to visualize me hammering over the beautiful countryside of the “Big Island”. You have the option to listen to a coach guide you through the ride or you can mute him if you want. The same goes for music, you can listen to music they provide or you can blast your iPod as usual. I really liked the music selection. The coach does a really good job of coaching you as you approach the rollers, helping you to feel like you are there. He also does a great job of motivating and encouraging you to stay on target. The goal of this particular ride is to sustain your target heart rate. I chose to keep mine around 75-80% of my max heart rate given the fact that I’d just completed a hard interval class in the previous hour. The coach also did a great job of reminding you to stay focused and to stay on target. I like that because, especially indoors, you can easily allow your HR to go too high or to drop down too low if you’re not paying close attention. He helps you stay focused. There’s not too much instruction, just enough to let you know what’s going on. Additionally, there is a bonus Yoga tract on this particular DVD. I have found this to be extremely beneficial. As a cyclist, I have neglected to stretch properly over the years and it has just recently started causing big problems for me. I am convinced that you have to stretch or else you are an injury waiting to happen. These bonus tracts are awesome.

Here are a few things that I would recommend adding or changing. One of the participants this morning was new to indoor cycling and cycling in general. After the class I asked him for some feedback and he said that he would have liked more instruction up front. There is not a lot of instruction or coaching during warm up and I think that’s a perfect opportunity to set the stage for the ride. It will be different if you purchase these DVD’s and are able to read the instructions and box they come in but for many people who don’t read the instructions, like ALL men, more guidance up front would be helpful. I also really liked when you could see another cyclist in the picture. In fact, I want to be that guy for the next DVD! ;) I liked it when you could see a rider in front of you or behind you. It helped to see his cadence, his speed, his body position on the bike. I liked that but think there should be a lot more. In fact, I think it would be good if you could see a rider or even a group of riders the entire ride. It made it feel a little more realistic, almost as if you were on a group ride or something. The last thing I’ll say that I would improve is the coach’s tone and voice inflection. Maybe it’s because I have some experience in announcing certain sporting events and love that stuff, but I feel like he could have been a little more enthusiastic in his voice. His voice was good, but could have articulated and annunciated and not been as monotone.

Overall, I liked this ride. I thought it was very professional and nicely done. You can tell the folks who produced this video knew what they were doing and aren’t just trying to sell you another gimmick. I don’t think they are going to throw in a set of ginsu knives for buying these DVD’s and that’s a good thing. They are practical and very realistic which makes for a great tool for indoor training. If you do any training indoors, I highly recommend you take a look at these DVD’s. Go check out their website. I think this is a great tool to help you endure those long hours on the trainer. Check it out!


  1. Hey Charles, I couldn't agree more with you about the video. I, too, looked at Maui Rollers first. I loooved the fact that Gene (the owner of Global Ride & the American Coach) could be seen behind and in front of you... what a motivation factor. (I also thought he was a bit monotone too, but I'm a rather exciting person haha)

    Great review! I agree- they are definitely a great assest to anyone's training!!!

  2. Hey Charles, I love it too. Call me sweetie!!

  3. I just found your blog. Cool site! I'll be checking in. Thanks!
    Jennifer :)