Don’t call it a spin class: Indoor cycling at Sweet Pete’s

Don’t call it a spin class: Indoor cycling at Sweet Pete’s

Story and photos by Jeff Carson

 It’s easy to let your fitness slip during the winter months, but Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop on Bloor Street West has started an indoor cycling class to keep you in race shape for the spring.

The biweekly class allows riders to bring their own bikes and pedal in the warmth of the shop while engaging in a directed workout. The cycling specific workout combined with a Tacx trainer, which connects to a smartphone through a dedicated app, allows cyclists of any level to keep track of their progress while refining their riding mechanics.

The class is led by Rob West, who has 25 years of experience as a triathlete and four years of experience running indoor cycling classes. West gives instruction throughout the class and calls out exercises to help riders make their pedal stroke smoother and boost their endurance. The hour-long class moves at a brisk pace, with short drills breaking up the time.

But it’s not a spin class. The Tacx Satori smart trainer allows people to bring their own bike and even allows for gear changes to get a very realistic riding experience. Bringing a bike that will get lots of outdoor use in more favourable weather allows cyclists to get comfortable on their frame before hitting the streets. And when it comes time to hit the streets, Jill Allen of Sweet Pete’s says riders will be in much better shape than if they relied solely on riding around the city. “An hour on the trainer is that of an hour-and-a-half outdoors,” says Allen. “When you go back on the road in March, April, May, instead of taking a month, you’ll be taking a couple weeks to get used to being on the road.”

Aside from a bike to bring, the only piece of specialized equipment needed is trainer tire for your back wheel. A regular road tire on the trainer will melt, ruining the tire and gumming up the trainer in the process.

Allen says the turnout, in this first year of indoor cycling classes at Sweet Pete’s, has been excellent, with most classes full. “It’s been really well received. It’s been different people each time, I’ve got certain people who can only come Wednesdays, I’ve got certain people who can only come Sundays and others that come all the way through,” says Allen.

Classes will run from now until April 29 on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

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