The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Indoor Cycling

Swift Setup Basics 

A proper fit is crucial to an efficient workout (and a more comfortable ride!). Here’s how to maximize pedal power.

Foot position: If your bike has toe cages and straps, make sure the ball of your foot is aligned over the center of the pedal. This is the firmest, widest part of your foot and the most efficient and comfortable position. If you’re clipping in with bike shoes, make sure that the cleats are positioned so the ball of your foot is on the center of the pedal.

Saddle height: You can eyeball the saddle so it comes to about hip height, but a better way to tell if you’re at the right position is to get on the bike and rotate the pedals until one leg reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke. That leg should have about a 25- to 35-degree bend at the knee.

Saddle fore/Aft position: Sitting on the saddle, place your hands on the front handlebars; keep the pedals level. Look down: Your kneecap should be directly above the center of the pedal; adjust saddle accordingly to get there.

Handlebar height: Align handlebars close to seat height to limit the strain on your neck and back.

SEE ALSO: Peloton Offers New Spin On Indoor Cycling With A Production Studio To Stream Live Classes

The Evolution of Cycling

Early cycling classes meant being packed into a windowless room staring at the sweaty back of the person in front of you. Today’s classes offer a dramatically elevated indoor experience.

More Feedback

Most new indoor bicycles now come with a power meter that displays your speed, RPM (rotations per minute), and, most important, wattage—or how much power you’re putting out. This helps keep you from spinning mindlessly.

Better Entertainment

At high-end clubs like Equinox Fitness, riders can take part in classes like The Pursuit, which puts your performance stats into virtual in-studio gaming, displaying graphics that allow you to compete with others or take part in team challenges.

Home Improvement

New technologies from companies like Peloton give you the feeling of a group class without leaving your living room. Connect (and compete) with fellow cyclists from anywhere in the world and follow along with live instructors who help keep you motivated no matter where you ride.


Leg Day On Wheels

Use enough resistance on the bike and you’ll work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core. Felicia Walker, an instructor at New York Health & Racquet Club, recommends these stretches to your routine to help keep you limber.

Pigeon (stretches hips): Lie facedown on floor with one knee bent under body, opposite leg extended behind you; hold 30 seconds per side.

Seated twist (stretches lower back): Sit on floor with right leg crossed over left thigh. Twist torso to right, pushing against thigh for added leverage; hold 30 seconds per side.

Cross stretch (stretches hamstrings, lower back): Stand with right leg crossed over left. Reach both hands toward floor; hold 30 seconds per side.

SEE ALSO: Calorie-Blasting Cycling Workout

The Results 

15–20 miles is the approximate distance you can cover in a 45-minute cycling class.

501 is the number of calories burned in a one-hour indoor cycling (based on 130- pound women).