Who says you actually need to ride somewhere to have fun?

14 Nov

Team FT at CyclebeatSometimes, pedalling your heart out while going absolutely nowhere is all you need.

So I discovered today when a team of five colleagues from the Financial Times took part in Cyclebeat’s City Bike Battle. This was a 40 minute spin class with a difference: firstly, it raised funds for the brilliant charity Hope HIV, which supports children in communities ground down by poverty and AIDS, and secondly, it was a competition. A giant leaderboard – The Beatboard – at the front of the class ranked each team throughout, calculating average energy output and speed. I’m not even sure what the prize was, but I damn well wanted to win it. Team FT hadn’t turned up looking resplendent in lycra for nothing.

If you’ve ever done a spin class you’ll know that cycling on a stationary bike in a dark, hot room while the trainer barks instructions to lead the peloton or sprint to the top of the mountain requires 1)  immense imagination and 2) serious determination to keep returning. But – having the ability to see just how far, fast and efficiently you’re cycling (while going Team FT at Cyclebeatnowhere) and how you rank against the other cyclists adds a whole new dimension. Discovery number two of the day: cycling stats are addictive. Not the distance and elevation kind, but the energy output and power kind. During the class you can see your individual stats on your bike screen and how you rank against others on The Beatboard. Afterwards you’re emailed full stats which of course you immediately share and compare. The result? Some healthy competition with yourself and other teams to get faster, stronger and more powerful. Ace.

Cyclebeat has a brilliant setup. We had to have two women on each team – ladies, good excuse to get involved! I had four rejections before finding another willing female for our team (thank you Hannah Bishop). You can hire cycle shoes with the right kind of cleats (SPD, not Shimano like mine) and the studio has lovely new bikes, great facilities and fun instructors. They’re currently running an intro
offer of £20 for 20 days and I for one will be giving it a go. Suddenly the fact that the imminent bracingly cold winter will require indoor Victorious Team FTcycling only, is somehow quite appealing.

Oh, and did Team FT win? Well yes, we were the top of our class. We’re not worrying about the two teams that were faster than us in the session before, because you can’t beat an invisible opponent and anyway, we’ve still got a spot on the podium… As Hannah said, “Putting the ‘I’ in ‘FT’ – F.I.T.”. Too damn right.

 

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