London’s fitness scene is constantly evolving, with indoor cycling studios fast gaining momentum as the capital’s most popular form of group exercise. In the past year, we have seen the opening of Psycle, Boom, Cyclebeat and of course Cycle Rhythm.
I really enjoyed the fusion of cycling and strength-training, it definitely gives this studio a point of difference. At Cycle Rhythm, we have steered away from the use of weights in the cycle studio, instead we offer a dedicated strength training room for working out before or after class.
Edge Cycle, like us, have an emphasis on atmospheric lighting and motivational music to inspire and empower the workout. I loved the lighting design especially the neon cross-shaped LEDs along the perimeters of the room.
Creator and Instructor, Sarah-Jane Aboboto developed Groove Cycle through her love of music, dance and fitness. She worked as a professional choreographer for 13 years, and her passion for dance really comes through her in cycling classes.
The large 90 bike studio was surrounded by floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and mood lighting illuminated the room in hues of orange, red and blue. Sarah-Jane’s music choices were spot-on with powerful uplifting 80s and 90s track setting the beat for the class. Unfortunately there was no branding or graphics, to set Groove Cycle apart from the rest of the gym.
Much of the workout was taught standing up on the pedals with dance-moves in time to the music. The routine involved rhythmic dips, punches, claps, arm-waves, and push-ups on the handlebars, as well as the use of light hand-weights. The choreographed moves were in a similar vein to the teaching style at Psycle or Soul Cycle in the US.
In my opinion push-ups on the bike are not effective for core and upper-body strength, as there is no resistance created due to most of the body weight being supported by the legs. I also felt that the standing sections of the class were too prolonged and became uncomfortable.
Overall, a fun class with Sarah-Jane’s endless energy and enthusiasm creating a party-like atmosphere. I felt that the ‘dancey’ nature of the class made it appealing for women into aerobic Zumba-like workouts, but perhaps less so to males or more serious cyclists and athletes. I prefer an indoor cycling class to be a closer representation of road cycling, rather than a dance party on a bike, but I know this class format is becoming more and more popular.
For me, the equipment in an indoor cycling class makes a huge difference. Edge Cycle have opted to kit out their studios with Matrix IC3 bikes, whilst Groove Cycle use a Techno Gym model. On both bikes, resistance is controlled via a dial/knob turned clockwise/anti-clockwise. I’m never a fan of this type of control, as there is always an element of guesswork in knowing exactly what level you are training at. When the instructor gives the command to ‘add resistance’ how do you know how much you have added?
I personally prefer bikes controlled with a gear lever such at the Keiser M3i, as this is a sure-fire way to define your resistance level, and makes the difference between pedalling efficiently or just wasting energy.