Common Sense Rules for Indoor Cycling

Find out why it's a mistake to break these important rules

The trouble with common sense is that it’s not so common, these days. And this reality plays out in indoor cycling studios as much as anywhere else, sometimes disturbing other cyclists or the instructor in the process or compromising your own results. With that in mind, here are five do’s and don’ts to follow the next time you participate in an indoor cycling class:

Do: Check your bad mood and negativity at the door. Bad attitudes can drag down other people’s moods and dampen the enjoyment of your fellow riders, sucking the positive energy out of the studio.

Keep in mind that you’ll probably leave the workout in a much brighter mood so do your best to keep your bad thoughts to yourself in the meantime. If you don't like the music, the instructor, the bikes, or something else about the studio, you can privately mention it to the instructor after the class or find another cycling class (or studio) that appeals to you more. There are plenty to choose from, these days.

Don't: Wear headphones or use your phone during the class. You’ll miss important cues about what you should be doing. Plus, it’s distracting to your fellow riders, and it’s just plain rude to the instructor who spent time and energy developing your workout. If the volume of the music bothers you, wear earplugs. If you need to stay in close touch with someone by phone, do your own workout on the gym floor rather than joining a class. And if you prefer your own taste in music, make your own playlist and do a solo ride.

Do: Develop a go-with-the-flow pack mentality. Rationally, you know that an indoor cycling class is not a personal training session—so don’t act like it is! Remember that the 20-plus other people in the studio may have different tastes and preferences than you do. So if you’re often cold and other riders like to have an extra fan running during the class, don’t gripe about it; wear layers and choose a bike that’s a good distance away from the fan.

If the upbeat music is at a reasonable volume that other riders like but you’d prefer it quieter, simply wear ear plugs or sit away from the speakers. If the ride incorporates lots of hills and you don’t like them, instead of complaining, just tackle them.

Don’t: Go rogue. If you’re not inclined to follow the instructor’s cues, do your own thing on the cardio floor and leave the studio bike for someone who genuinely wants to participate in the group indoor cycling experience. If your instructor asks everyone to find a pace or cadence of 80 to 90 RPMs, don’t pedal at 120 or 60; do something that’s reasonably similar to what the instructor has everyone else doing. It’s a group experience—it’s not just about you—so try to stay in sync.

Do: Maintain a courteous sense of space. Don’t throw your gym bag and coat on the floor between the bikes so that your stuff encroaches on other riders’ space. If you need to leave the class early, before the post workout cool-down and stretching take place, don’t stand between the bikes to stretch while everyone else is still riding; go outside the studio and find a place to stretch.

It’s a matter of courtesy, plainly and simply. 

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