The Flexible Solo Ride

Here is a hardcore, versatile ride you can do three different ways

The flexible solo ride is great when you want to ride hard while listening to tunes that inspire you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It offers the full package—some hill climbs (to help you build strength), speed work (to enhance your pace and stamina), cadence challenges (to help your muscles become more adaptable), and more. You’ll be able get your groove on—and a serious sweat on—while cranking up your fitness level!

Best of all, this ride takes a flexible approach, meaning that you can do it one of two ways: Either as a beat-based ride where you match your pace to the beats in each song; or as a traditional ride where you aim for a recommended cadence at different stages. A third option: You can alternate between the two approaches as it suits you. (If you choose to ride to the beat, simply ignore the RPM guidelines that follow.)

Whichever route you choose, the first steps are to put together your playlist, fill a large water bottle to keep you well hydrated during the ride, and grab a towel. Then, climb onto the saddle and get ready to rev up your pedal strokes and emerge from the workout feeling fab!

Song: Blame It On the Boogie, The Jacksons

What to Do: Warm up. Sit and pedal with light-to-moderate resistance at a steady pace for 1½ minutes; focus on creating big smooth pedal strokes, hitting every point on the circle with each leg all the way.

Add a little resistance then transfer the work to your right leg for 30 seconds; next, switch the work to your left leg for 30 seconds. Add a little more resistance and engage both legs for the rest of the song.

Duration: 3½ minutes           Speed (RPM): 80-100            Difficulty (RPE):  4-5

Song: This Is What You Came For, Calvin Harris (featuring Rihanna)

What to Do: With moderately challenging resistance on the bike, stand up (hands in position 2) and find and maintain a loose, easy jog at a pace between 60 and 80 RPMs. When the tempo of the music picks up, bring your hands out to position 3, shift your hips back, and pick up your pace (90 to 100 RPMs). When it slows down, return to the upright standing jog. Repeat the pattern ‘til the end of the song.

Duration: 3¾ minutes           Speed (RPM):  60/100           Difficulty (RPE):  6-8

Song: Family Affair, Mary J. Blige

What to Do: Have a seat, add moderately heavy resistance and do a seated climb, maintaining a pace above 50 RPMs for 1 minute. Add a bit more resistance, stand up with your hands in position 3, and pedal steadily for 30 seconds. Have a seat and repeat the pattern until the end of the song.

Duration: 4½ minutes             Speed (RPM):  50+                         Difficulty (RPE):  7-9

Song: Lean On, Major Lazer

What to Do: Drop some resistance from the bike so that it feels like you’re just above a flat road.

Find a quick pace between 80 and 90 RPMs and pedal at a strong, consistent pace all the way through the song.

Duration: 3 minutes              Speed (RPM):  80-90            Difficulty (RPE):  6-7

Song: L.E.S. Artistes, Santigold   

What to Do: Add enough resistance to support you in a standing position but continue pedaling in a seated position for 30 seconds. Stand up, shift your hips back, place your hands in position 3 and run it out for 30 seconds. Bring yourself to an upright standing jog (hands in position 2) and pedal for 30 seconds. Have a seat and repeat this pattern, continuing to hit all three positions, until the end of the song. 

Duration: 3½ minutes           Speed (RPM):  60/80       Difficulty (RPE):  6-8

Song: Can’t Stop the Feeling, Justin Timberlake

What to Do: Have a seat, add moderately heavy resistance and do a seated climb, maintaining a pace above 50 RPMs for 1 minute. Add a bit more resistance, stand with your hands in position 3, and pedal for 30 seconds. Have a seat, add a little resistance, and repeat the pattern all the way through the song.

Duration: 4 minutes              Speed (RPM):  50+               Difficulty (RPE):  7-9

Song: I’m a Freak, Enrique Iglesias

What to Do: Drop resistance from the bike until it feels like you’re just above a flat road. Find a moderately quick pace (70-80 RPMs) and pedal steadily for 30 seconds. Then, push your pace to 110 RPMs for 25 seconds. Return to the moderately quick pace (70-80) for 30 seconds; then, push your pace to 110 RPMs for 30 seconds. Repeat the sequence all the way through the song.

Duration: 3¾ minutes         Speed (RPM):  70-110                 Difficulty (RPE):  6-9

Song: Runaway, Galantis

What to Do: Add medium-heavy resistance, and stand and pedal with your hands in position 3. Add a little more resistance every 30 seconds, and pick up your pace during each chorus before slowing to your baseline pace again. Stay out of the saddle and maintain this pace-and-resistance-adding pattern all the way through the song.

Duration: 3¾ minutes           Speed (RPM):  50+               Difficulty (RPE):  8-10

Song: Bailando, Enrique Iglesias

What to Do: Drop resistance from the bike until it feels like you’re just above a flat road. Stay seated, find a moderately quick pace (70-80 RPMs) and pedal steadily for 20 seconds. Then, push your pace to 100 RPMs for 20 seconds. Return to the moderately quick pace (70-80 RPMs) and repeat the pattern all the way through the song.

Duration: 4 minutes         Speed (RPM):  70-100         Difficulty (RPE):  6-9

Song: Send My Love, Adele    

What to Do: With moderately heavy resistance on the bike, find and maintain a quick pace (between 70 and 80 RPMs) for 45 seconds. Stay seated, add a little resistance and push your pace for 30 seconds when the tempo of the music picks up. Slow it down, add a little more resistance, and pedal steadily for 35 seconds. Then, add a little resistance and push your pace when the tempo of the music picks up and hold this new pace for 40 seconds. Slow it down, add a bit more resistance, and pedal steadily for 20 seconds. When the tempo picks up, push your pace for 40 seconds. Ride out the rest of the song at a comfortable pace. (Note: Stay seated the whole time.)

Duration: 3¾ minutes              Speed (RPM):  70/90               Difficulty (RPE):  7-9

Song: Bang Bang, Jessie J., Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

What to Do: Drop some resistance from the bike so that it feels like you’re just above a flat road. Find a moderately quick pace (70-80 RPMs) and pedal steadily for 20 seconds. Then, push your pace to 100 RPMs for 20 seconds. Return to the moderately quick pace (70-80 RPMs) and repeat the pattern all the way through the song. Rider’s choice—if you’d prefer to ride this song in a standing position, you’re welcome to—just be sure to place your hands in position 3 and add enough resistance to provide ample support.  

Duration: 3¼ minutes        Speed (RPM):  70-100       Difficulty (RPE):  6-9

Song: Water, Galantis

What to Do: Time to cool down. Drop your resistance to a flat road and pedal slowly but steadily for 1 minute. While keeping your legs moving, sit up tall in the saddle. Take some big, deep breaths, and do a series of upper body stretches. Climb off the bike and follow with a series of lower body stretches while standing on the floor. If time allows, do some stretches for your back, too.

Duration:  3¾ minutes              Speed (RPM):  50+                 Difficulty (RPE):  3-4

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