9 Rules for Indoor Cycling Etiquette

The Keys to Avoiding Annoying or Horrifying Etiquette Gaffes in a Cycle Class


Have you ever been in a cycle class where some riders were chatting so loudly that you couldn’t hear what the instructor was saying? Or you sat next to someone whose cell phone rang and he or she actually took the call? If so, you’re familiar with group cycle etiquette gaffes. For the most part, bad indoor-cycling etiquette tends to be annoying more than anything else but sometimes it’s enough to ruin your workout or your mood, and in some cases, it could increase your risk of injury.

To make every rider’s experience safe and enjoyable, here are nine etiquette rules to follow in an indoor cycling class (along with the usual gym etiquette guidelines):

  1. Don’t rush into the studio before the previous class exits. You may want to stake your claim to your favorite bike or your preferred spot in the room but it’s not worth annoying members or creating a sweaty, uncomfortable traffic jam as people try to leave the room. You wouldn’t want incoming riders to do it after your class so hang tight and be patient. Also, remember that participants usually have equal rights to the equipment so try to be flexible, not possessive or territorial, about getting a certain bike. But do be on time for the class.
  2. Keep conversations to a minimum. While it’s fine to whisper an occasional comment to the rider next to you, save the catching up or gossip for after class. For one thing, it’s rude to the instructor and the other members of the class who are trying to get into the groove and ride their hearts out. Plus, if you’re yammering away to your neighbor, you’re not working hard enough to get what you should out of the class.
  1. Practice good hygiene. Think of the greater good, and wear fresh, clean clothes, not yesterday’s smelly workout attire, to class. Don’t douse yourself in heavy perfume or cologne to try to mask the scent of old sweat but do wear deodorant or antiperspirant to minimize B.O. Indoor-cycling sessions typically become a major sweat-fest, and you and your classmates are likely to be drenched and stinky by the end. An ounce of prevention can minimize the stench.
  1. Turn off your cell phone. Don’t make or take a call or send a text during the class. If you’re expecting an important call or you’re concerned about an emergency, set your phone on vibrate and if the call comes in, leave the room to answer it so you won’t disturb others.
  2. Avoid distractions. Don’t read the newspaper or a magazine while you’re riding—it’s disrespectful to the instructor and distracting to your fellow riders. Plus, it interferes with your ability to pay attention to what you should be doing. If you want to read while you ride, do it on a solo stationary book on the gym floor. Also, don’t wear your own headphones: If the music is too loud for you, wear earplugs; if you don’t like the instructor’s music, find another class; if you’d prefer to cycle to your own playlist, ride on your own. Heated standoffs between irritated instructors and participants who insist on listening to their own music are uncomfortable for everyone in the room.
  3. Leave your germs outside the studio. Indoor group cycling classes are meant to be a shared experience—but no one wants to share your germs. If you’re sick, stay home until you’ve recovered. If you’re getting over a cold or you have allergies, keep tissues handy. Don’t blow your nose on the towels that are provided by the club: This may sound obvious but it happens more often than you might think; it’s disgusting and no one wants to think about how well the club’s laundry service will kill those germs.
  1. Check yourself out in the mirror. It’s there to help you tune into and improve your own form and technique, not to give you the chance to check out your fellow riders or ogle the instructor’s butt in the mirror. If it’s excessive and/or obvious, this kind of visual invasion visual invasion of personal space can become uncomfortable for the person being admired and other people who notice.
  2. Wipe down your bike afterward. No one wants to climb onto a bike that’s dripping with your sweat—or to have to clean it themselves. Use a disinfecting wipe (most studios provide them) or your own towel to wipe down the bike’s handlebars, seat, and knobs after your ride. Besides being a matter of courtesy, the post-ride wipe-down is important for the bike’s maintenance and the safety of subsequent riders.
  3. Channel complaints the right way. If a particular instructor or the vibe or music in a class rubs you the wrong way or a fellow cyclist gets on your nerves, don’t vent your frustrations during the class. Doing so can ruin the experience for other participants and lead to tension or animosity, causing people to feel as though they need to take sides. A better approach: Talk to the instructor privately after the class or bring your complaint to the attention of the studio manager or the group exercise director.  

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