Friday 5 June 2015

Psycle Canary Wharf - spin class with a difference

This morning I was woken up by an almighty crash of thunder... closely followed by more very impressive thunder and lightning. At this point it wasn't actually raining and I was still planning on cycling to work however, just as I was digging out my cycling kit it started raining - biblical rain so I decided to have a shower and get the train into work (of course by the time I got out of my shower it stopped raining and cycling would have been fine). This presented a good opportunity to try a new spin class outfit that has just opened in Canary Wharf.

What I was hoping for was something similar to the class that DC Rainmaker covers in this post - a high tech class where power and cadence are measured and displayed on monitors at the front of the class and you can then take the data and add it to Strava / Garmin Connect or whatever.
I think I was hoping for a bit too much here as this isn't what I got. It's still worth a look though.

First off this is on exercise bike - not Wattbikes but normal spin bikes. They are pretty good but not Wattbikes. You can bring your own shoes along with SPDs or if you don't have any they supply shoes so everyone is clipped in. They also supply towels and have a very nice changing room with shaving foam, razors, nice shampoo ect ect.

I was immediately impressed when I went into the studio and found my bike. There was cool lighting and some really good high energy music playing loud enough but not too loud - although I did find it a bit hard to hear the instructor over the music occasionally despite the microphone she had strapped to her head.
The music really got me in the right mood and despite having a poor night's sleep (and this class starting at 7:30) I was wanting to get started and started pedaling before the class began - which I regretted later.

Laura was taking my class and was very welcoming and friendly - in fact all the staff were from the girl at reception to the girl that helped me find my bike. The class started and it was immediately out of the seat - in fact I don't think that Laura used her seat AT ALL!

I was probably a bit foolish to expect that I would be OK doing this class - I ride up to 180 miles a week and have fairly impressive power scores on my Strava Power curve but I REALLY struggled.
I think I went to hard too early, or rather was pedaling too fast too early. My heart rate was over 170 (I very rarely get over 170 at all) for about the first 10 minutes of the class. 10 minutes in I realised that I wouldn't be able to keep that up and sat down for a bit and took it easy until my heart rate recovered (but only slightly).

Looking around at the other people in the room I can pretty much guarantee that I would be able to get higher power outputs for longer than almost any of them - and they were faring much better than me!
I really struggled to keep my cadence low enough. I think initially I was probably around 100 or over most of the time. This is probably getting on for double what most other people were doing. We were also out of the saddle the WHOLE time which I am really not used to. My legs felt fine for the whole class when I was sat down. It was being out of the saddle for so long that killed me!

I don't think that the class is really aimed at cyclists. It does give you a whole body workout and you do press ups on the handlebars on the bike for example, you also have some little weights (2KG for me which was towards the heavier end) that you use at the end.

I had a really good workout - nearly 900 Kcal in 45 minutes. My upper body is feeling like it's had a workout as do my quads. My quads never feel tired after the gym normally!
I actually think that I probably burnt more calories than that. 900 Kcal is a fairly normal commute in or out of work for me and I worked a lot harder here. As there was no power meter though there is no way of actually knowing how much work I did.

So will I go again?

  • Great workout, exercising in a completely different way from on my bike
  • Very friendly & helpful staff
  • Great studio
  • Really good playlist
  • all over body workout
  • I was hoping to get a digital record of my workout. Power, cadence, speed ect. I got heart rate from my Garmin vivofit but that was it.
  • Some of the time when we were moving from side to side and front to back on the bike it didn't feel too stable. The bike was moving around. For most people I am sure this would be fine but as I am currently about 230lb the bike was moving more than I would have liked
  • The weights that we were given got in the way of the handlebars on the bike (you kept them in one of the bottle holders) and fell off a couple of times during the session so I had to get off and go and retrieve.
  • Pretty expensive - £20 for a single session but you can get this down to about £16 if you buy a lot at once.
  • Towels didn't work (OK, that was probably just because I didn't stop sweating profusely until about an hour after the session. Towel was actually very good).
Even though this isn't really targeted at cyclists I think it will massively improve my fitness if I go regularly. It's a great option if you don't want to cycle for some reason.

I think that I will probably go again. I might even try and swap a days cycling for this once a week for a while. It is a shame that it's so expensive though, particularly when I'll be spending more that day on public transport as I won't be cycling in.