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So summer is behind us and while autumn provides some opportunity to ride, decreasing temperatures and less hours of daylight make it a challenge to maintain fitness. Personally, I became an indoor cycling instructor to avoid picking up weight during the offseason. As one of the few indoor cycling instructors who ride outside, I'm sensitive to the needs of cyclists. "We don't just ride to ride," is one of my favorite motivational phrases.
Many cyclists frown at indoor cycling. Believing it's not rigorous enough or eschewing the upper-body movements endorsed by most studios. I find myself in the middle, appreciating both styles depending on my mood. But when it comes to training, I find there are a small group of instructors who really push me. I’ll share these with you in no particular order:
Becky Rockey -- FlyWheel DuPont
Becky is a task master. When in her class, you have no choice but to pedal, and pedal hard. Coupled with Flywheel's technology which quantifies resistance and gives you feedback on effort and cadence (how fast you're pedalling), you'll soon find your legs talking to you ... in a good way. I'm not sure if Becky still rides outside, but I can admit to being beaten by her both times we've been participants in a class. I am still trying to see you on the road though Becky!
Tammar Bergen -- Off Road DC
Off Road DC makes terrific use of licensed videos to really push you. Equipped with bikes that measure power and cadence, you get direct feedback on your effort. Tammar is a roadie (road cyclist) and her coaching will speak to you inner cyclist. It's not uncommon to find multiple irders in their team cycling kits or other jerseys. The commaraderie is real and suffering is a common ingredient in every class. I generally dislike Tammar's classes, until they're over. This is a good thing.
Leti Long -- Wired Cycling
A true roadie with many years riding with cycling teams, Leti brings the bike race element to class. She'll describe the course and then call for attacks, sprints, and hard uphill pushes, creating an immersive race experience. Wired Cycling boasts a leaderboard to guage your progress and each bkeshas RPM and power. This summer, two riders completed RAGBRAI, an annual bike ride across Iowa, while training at Wired Cycling.
Patrick Amuso – Flywheel
Pat has the energy and showmanship of two instructors! A former roadie, his choreography is rooted in cycling as you will be traversing rolling hills and actually doing *seated* climbs. When I want cardio with a touch of fun, I ride with Pat. Admittedly, you will do some upper body work here, but you can always sit in a corner and just grind it out. Just talk to Pat about it beforehand, us instructors like knowing these things. Zengo doesn't have technology on their bikes, but riding with Pat, you really don't need it.
Christine D'Ercole – Peloton (available on-demand or in studio in NYC)
Christine, in my opinion, is the best road ride instructor… PERIOD! Christine is a former US Cycling master’s track champion who trained indoors during the process. Peloton bikes (which you can buy and ride with Christine at home or use their iPad app to view rides sans the Peloton bike) provide a smooth pedal and their leaderboard and metrics (power and RPM) are second to none.
Christine will call you out on form, lack of resistance or standing up unnecessarily (I love it when she does that!). I rarely make a trip to NY sans visiting her at Peloton. You should do the same on your next excursion up north.
Chuck Harney -- MINT DC
Chuck is a beast on the road. A former racer and current owner of DC’s best bike shop The Bike Rack. Chuck isn’t actively teaching right now, but he makes a few appearances in the studio every now and then. When he does, just book your bike! His experience as a racer and ability to articulate cycling nuance to all levels of riders makes him a true diamond in the rough. I’m guilty of going to his shop just to pick his brain. If you’re impatient, you can typically find Chuck on the road on the Bike Rack’s weekend rides.
Again, these were in no particular order. If you ride outside and want a realistic indoor experience, these are the people to see.