Spinning a tale of fitness

A view of indoor cycling studio, Pedal Beat at CP Ramaswamy Road Photo: V. Ganesan  

Studio cycling, or spinning as it is popularly known in the West, is finally here. Thanks to the efforts of Sowmya Arjun and three like-minded avid cycling enthusiasts — Atul Jagadish, Mukund Rangarajan and Pavithra Charan — the first exclusive and dedicated indoor cycling studio, PedalBeat, has just opened on C.P. Ramaswamy Road in Alwarpet.

“Weather notwithstanding, Chennai has become a great city for outdoor sporting activities,” says Sowmya Arjun, an active member of Chennai-based cycling group, Le Peloton. “But, for many cycling enthusiasts, several hurdles come in the way — unruly traffic, bad roads… Moreover, for many serious cyclists, there has never been a fully dedicated centre for training. I have seen many indoor cycling studios, specialising in Spinning, during my stay and visits abroad.”

Says Pavithra, “The indoor activity is an organised form of exercise that focuses on cycling techniques, stamina building, muscle strengthening and endurance development.

The activity is ideal for both serious cyclists who want to improve their skills and for those who want to keep in touch with the activity, when outdoor cycling cannot be done due to extraneous conditions. And, of course, for general fitness.”

One such enthusiast is 40-year-old Suneel Shankar, who works for an international firm. “I have travelled often to the U.S. and have noticed the popularity of spin cycling. Being an avid cyclist myself, I have always felt the dearth of proper training facilities in India. When PedalBeat was launched, I joined up. I do outdoor cycling thrice a week and train at PedalBeat three other days. My goal is to increase my endurance and speed levels to take part in events like the time trials organised by the Tamilnadu Cycling Club.

Presently, I do around 75 minutes of cycling for approximately 28 km and my speed is nearly 45 kmph, which I want to increase to more than 50. With the training sessions at PedalBeat, I am getting there,” says Suneel, who owns a Merida road bike.

Training is provided at a professional level by Atul Jagadish, who gave up his job to manage the studio full-time. “I trained abroad in studio cycling and we are now implementing all these modules in a structured way at PedalBeat.

There are courses of different duration, depending on what each individual wants to focus on, and we will be giving away certificates at the end of each course. All our cycles are imported and specifically programmed and equipped with gadgets, like meters to keep track of RPM, speed and other stats. Currently, we have 14 HMC Trainer model cycles, equipped with magnetic flywheels and speed settings to closely simulate sports bicycles. These are professional trainer versions, which facilitate four settings to suit each individual — handlebar, seat distance, height and resistance. As against a normal exercycle, which has a flywheel of 10 kg, the HMC comes with a 22 kg flywheel,” says Atul.

“It makes for a great, quick workout, and studio cycling in this format is known to be a great complimentary workout for those who are already into cycling, running, cross training, strength training or want a fun cardio workout. They are structured as instructor-led group classes that run twice or thrice a week as 45-minute sessions, set to curated playlists of high-energy music, with an inspiring/scenic video playing on the wall upfront,” informs Pavithra.

Fitness enthusiast Girija Venkatesh, 63, learnt cycling just a couple of years ago. “I love the outdoors and am into fitness in a big way. I am a member of the G3 group which does ECR runs quite frequently. PedalBeat gives me the thrill of cycling with endurance and muscle toning, all at one go, minus the risk of polluted air, bad roads and accident-prone stretches,” says Girija.

“Our current membership of 70 has users within the age group of 23 to 64,” says Mukund Rangarajan.

“In fact, abroad, such studio cycling centres offer specific training sessions for those with health conditions. And, as we go along, we plan to add many new features to the charm of studio cycling,” concludes Mukund.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 6:37:52 PM |

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