I have a RealRyder in my basement. It’s too bad I don’t have any facilities near me where I could teach on these bikes because I would really enjoy it. I wrote a review of the RealRyders about a year and a half ago; you can read that review here.
This afternoon, I needed to get in some training and decided to try out one of the new EpicRides, so I rode to the Pensacola Stage Race. The race has three stages to it, a road race, a time trial, and a criterium. After the warm-up, this virtual ride begins with 10 minutes of the road race, then 10 minutes of the time trial, and finishes with 30 minutes of the criterium.
Let me tell you…if you have RealRyders, you want this DVD! In fact, even if you don’t have RealRyders, you’d have a lot of fun with this one, but the leaning aspect of these bikes will really come into play when you lead a virtual criterium with your classes. The first two segments, the road race and time trial, don’t have any turns (leaning) to them. It’s just fast flat riding.
But when it’s criterium time, it’s showtime! A criterium is a very fast and challenging race, usually held in a city center with many turns. The route is usually only about a mile in length with multiple laps. For this virtual ride, you’ve got 30 minutes of fast racing. Since it’s a short loop in a city, almost all the turns are in one direction; in this case it’s to the right. There is one left turn (lean left) and five right turns (lean right). I didn’t count the total number of laps, but it’s a lot. But I’ve found that when you lean on the RealRyder, you feel it in your entire core, not just one side, so to me it didn’t feel like one side was getting a greater workout than the other. However, if you’re the type to prefer things to be even, then you might want to throw in more leans to the left during the road race or even time trial just for kicks as you prepare them for the criterium.
I have to admit, there is one thing that takes a little getting used to with this DVD. Usually EpicRide DVDs are from the perspective of a car, either in the back or in front of a group of riders. With this one, there is a Go-Pro style camera mounted on the handlebars of one of the racers, so occasionally it gets a little bouncy. I found myself having to close my eyes a few times until I got used to it. But it does put you right in the center of the race.
I also found the music for this ride to be very motivating and energetic, especially for the criterium segment.
If you’ve never taught a virtual ride, this is one that will give you many opportunities to keep your class engaged. The rider with the camera on his bike is no slouch, so you can direct the class from his perspective. Sometimes he’s out in front attacking, and sometimes he’s right in the middle of the pack. On a couple occasions you see him overtaking a group of riders; this is a great time to get your class out of the saddle attacking. Another time to take a short, quick out-of-the saddle surge is after some of the turns, as you stand for 5–10 seconds to get back to speed. And of course, there is the sprint finish in the final bell lap.
Yes, this virtual ride will get your adrenaline running, and if you have RealRyders, it will be even more fun to simulate.
A word on leaning on these bikes. The beauty of these bikes is that it does engage the core when you lean. But I’ve often heard instructors ask students to “engage the abs” during the lean. This is unnecessary. Try it without actively contracting any muscles on a conscious level and you will see that it happens on its own, just like it’s supposed to do. On the other hand, if you coach them to “engage” more than is needed, most students will usually hold in the abs, which only serves to restrict their breathing. That’s too much. Just let it happen and you’ll feel the core working naturally.
Has anyone taught a virtual ride with the RealRyders?