By Linda Freeman, STAR 3 Certified Spinning® Instructor | Vermont
A physical community, like a neighborhood, may be a group of houses and perhaps even an association that connects the properties and occupants. Here in Vermont, many communities have grown from rural beginnings in which the central village included the town office, general store, church, library, some form of postal service, perhaps a bank or two and, of course, a village green. Many of these villages, or centers, flourish today.
Cycling is an individual sport that can be enjoyed alone or in community. Like the homes and businesses that make up a community, every facility has the opportunity to create a cycling program, a Spinning community. And this is where Spinning is really set apart from others.
Who Is In Your Spinning® Community?
Then there is the definition of community that includes people who are joined by common interests, goals, expectations or purposes. How does any of this relate to the world of Spinning training and classes?
A Spinner® bike is, of course, a single, stationary bike that rides much like a traditional road bike. An exercise enthusiast, fitness buff or athlete wishing to cross-train for his or her sport of choice might choose to spend some time on a Spinner bike. A busy mom, a professional who works remotely, a Spinning instructor or even someone rehabbing an injury riding their Spinner bike at home, all are members of the Spinning community.
Riding and training in a group combines the personal with the dynamic. Each participant in a Spinning class is urged to ride within the parameters of the Spinning Instructor’s profile but at a cadence and intensity that appropriately address his or her daily expectations and condition. The key is that a class is made up of a group of individuals. Each has dreams and goals, strengths and challenges but all share some part of the class as an entity.
Perhaps students yearn to ride outdoors and are using their class work to prepare them to do so. Perhaps, knowing that a class provides structure and intention, some are taking a break from a hectic workday or some chaos in their lives. Simply walking through the studio door, setting up one’s bike and stepping onto the pedal act to unite single bodies into a cohesive group.
The Individuals and Elements of a Spinning® Community
Riders begin together, follow the Instructor’s coaching and end together. Elements of a Spinning class enable bonds of community to be established and maintained. Participants mount their bikes in common pursuits. All train for increased fitness and improved performance, whether ultimately of Spinner bike use or outdoors.
Spinning training and technique are clearly defined. All certified Spinning Instructors teach the same technique while, at the same time, adapting that training to their individual class composition and personal style. The skills needed (core positions, hand positions) draw students and Instructors alike into the same quest for endurance, strength and recovery. The Spinning Energy Zones™ comprise recognizable profiles. Familiarity builds confidence.
Playlists are powerful tools. Music underpins energy, focus and attitude. Each student may experience music differently, but all ride to the same music and are drawn into the vortex of the pedal stroke. Students who contribute to music selection enjoy a sense of ownership in their classes, membership to the community.
Sometimes in my class I will turn down the music and in the near silence ask my class: “Do you feel it? Do you feel the collective energy in this room? We are riding together, supporting each other.” That’s powerful.
The Power of the Spinning® Community
Opportunities abound for Instructors and their students, under the umbrella of their parent facility, to strengthen community ties. Doing so is good business and builds brand loyalty as well as recognition. More so, however, increasing the sense of community and sharing both the responsibilities and values, offers opportunities for Spinning classes to contribute to the larger community, or the world outside.
Hosting events that support worthy causes is not only a chance to raise awareness or funds for a pressing social need, it provides a platform for individual voices and contributions of talent and engagement.
My facility in Central Vermont, First in Fitness, participates in Pedal to End Cancer to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Many participants and their family and friends have been touched by cancer and simply want to DO something to show their caring concern. Each year we meet for weeks and months to prepare for this event. A group attends the Saturday morning Spinning class then meets at a local bakery for coffee to discuss our work.
This event draws Spinning class participants to the event itself and commits them to fund raising and training in preparation for the three hours. The local community participates by donating swag bag items, food, drink and door prizes. The energy of each class leading up to the event multiplies incrementally. Emails are exchanged, remarks on our Facebook page pop up regularly and the buzz in the locker room denotes increasing interest in what’s going on.
Just for fun, look up the word THRIVE. It’s a wonderful word. You, too, can help your Spinning community thrive.