From obligation to (virtual) obsession!
“How did I get myself into this? It is 6.55am, and I am being encouraged to say “Hello legs” as the 45 minute Monday morning Burn ride ramps up at Ride Republic. The bigger questions are possibly why do I keep coming back? And (ask this in hushed tones), why do I enjoy it when it involves some intensive exertion?
To answer these questions we need to go back to April of last year when Ride Republic first opened its doors. I was looking to find something that would improve my fitness, particularly in the saddle. I had signed up to take part in the Prudential Ride 100 in the August. This is a 100 mile cycle event which is a distance that is well beyond my comfort zone. I thought I would give Ride Republic a go.
Ride Republic is all about putting the fun and the competitive edge in to spin classes. The equipment is top quality with the studio even supplying cycle shoes to make the most of the rides – I have my own! My previous experience of spin classes involved choosing a bike in the shadows, and hoping not to be caught about how little effort I was making. The results were inevitable. I got less out the experience than I should have done. Ride Republic is different. Firstly the bikes have electronic control panels. This means you can see how well you are performing whilst you ride. The bikes have gears. You have to follow the instructors lead on what gears you should be in at every stage of the ride. There is no hiding place when you are asked to “pick it oowupp!”
There is a “Burnboard” – a screen projecting everyone’s performance as the ride takes place. This makes it easy to monitor your performance, and also to see how you are performing in comparison to your neighbours. You can also track your performance over time on the “My Performance” page on the Ride Republic website.
The outcome of all this is inevitable – my performance has increased and my fitness levels have improved at a greater rate than if I had been attending traditional spin classes. What is also great is that if you don’t fancy competing on any particular ride, you don’t have to, you can let the team know and they will remove your name from the Burnboard, no questions asked! This has saved me on the occasional ride following a particularly late night. There is no question that my regular attendance at Ride Republic helped me get my fitness levels up to a point where I not only completed the Ride 100, but actually enjoyed it… well most of it anyway!
Ride 100 was in early August, and yet I still keep going to Ride Republic. The reason for this is not only driven by the fitness incentive but the enjoyment factor as well. The enjoyment can be put down to the service and the people. The service at Ride Republic is personal and friendly. The studio is modern, well ventilated, and clean. The music is designed to be invigorating, although there is still not enough South African music in the mix, despite having a South African instructor (NB – RR team). The staff will always comment if you have done well on a ride and are tactfully silent if you end up propping up the Burnboard at the end of a ride. I have experienced both in equal measure.
The service extends to bringing round ice cold flannels to every participant midway through a ride. Not a must-have but very much a nice-to-have service. They will help you set up the bike so it is exactly the right size to maximise your ride, they will advise on what weights to use for the upper body exercises during the ride and will even install a coat rack in the changing rooms if your ask them often enough! Now they have done that, I guess I will have to keep going for a little while longer.”
Keep an eye out for our Ride Reporter on the Burnboard – “RUPERTN”