Spinning on an Unstationary Bike

Think spinning classes are exhausting? Try this version.

By Michele Bender

I’m an exercise junkie and think few things rival the feeling of breaking a good sweat. But as someone who has self-diagnosed exercise ADD, I also like to change things up often.  So I was curious when I heard about a new spinning bike making its way into cycling classes across the country. Unlike a traditional spin bike, the RealRyder can actually turn and tilt 45-degrees to each side (which is why the company calls it an “unstationary bike”). This extra movement is said to work your whole body, especially your arms and core. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I headed to Ride the Zone, a new spinning-only studio in my neighborhood (with other locations around New York and Florida; www.Ridethezone.com). Once there, I entered a room full of RealRyders and the saying “Ride your a** off” painted above the mirror on the front wall. Over the years, I’ve taken lots of spinning classes and love those that leave me drenched in sweat and give me that I’m-going-to-throw-up feeling by the end. (What can I say? I like a challenge.) I wondered how this would measure up.
Once in class, I strapped on my rented cycling shoes ($3 a class) and went face to face with the RealRyder. At first glance, the only difference between it and a regular spin bike seemed to be that it has two sets of handlebars. That was until I climbed on and felt how unstationary it really was. It reminded me of the feeling you have on one of those springy, animal or car-shaped kids’ rides that sit outside barber shops and drugstores except the RealRyder isn’t child’s play. This ride could lean far over to the right or left and move backward and forward. In fact, it moved so much I thought I’d achieve that I’m-going-to-throw-up feeling before class even started. 

Luckily, my queasiness subsided after I added some resistance and the teacher turned up the music. Then, he lead us on a ride that not only went up and down hills, but included a lot of twists and turns. I wasn’t used to the types of movements this new ride entailed or the instability of the bike so even something simple – like riding while out of the saddle—was a challenge.  While my classmates seemed to maneuver their bikes with ease, I felt like a clumsy beginner who was just trying to hang on. And despite the fact that I was drenched mid-way through class and working harder than usual according to my heart rate monitor, I wasn’t convinced that I’d used my abs and arms much more than a regular class.

That changed the next morning when I felt soreness wrap around my core like a corset and felt a gentle throbbing along my triceps (in a good way). My favorite part was that the bike did a better job than a regular spin bike of simulating a real ride so it kept boredom at bay. (Hence, the name RealRyder). This three dimensional movement isn’t something I could handle for every workout, but I will definitely sprinkle some of these newfangled classes into my routine to keep it fresh, keep me focused and help me “ride my a** off” in more ways than one. To find a RealRyder class near you visit www.realryder.com.
 
 

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