Do your bikes have consoles? No? You aren’t alone. While the wave of technology certainly is prevalent in many studios and gyms around the world, it’s not yet ubiquitous. I asked this question in a couple of Facebook forums and was astounded at how many instructors are working at facilities without any kind of meter on their bikes. One instructor told me, “We are a small community facility. They got 15 new bikes without consoles about two years ago, and I can tell you they plan to have these for the next ten years, so no consoles for me for a long time!”
Another instructor in Europe told me, “It’s still very common for gyms in small towns in Europe to not have consoles. I don’t know when or if we’ll ever get them.”
Counting pedal revolutions or using a metronome to set cadence are options—I used them for years. However, they are a pain and can disrupt the flow of your class. Yes, using music to help guide cadence is something I recommend, but it doesn’t give your riders a visual display of what their cadence is.
There’s an app for that!
Now there’s an app called Motosumo that will measure and display cadence. It simply requires your smartphone (either iPhone or Android).
It’s not only a measurement tool, but also a team display system. It’s all there on your smartphone screen. You can use it to coach, motivate, and create a fun team experience—no matter what bikes your facility has.
I first learned of this app when I was in Denmark in January. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit of a skeptic when I heard it simply detects the motion from the movement in the handlebars, but I am blown away at how accurate it actually is. The science behind it is astounding (you can read about that below). I asked Kresten Juel Jensen, the founder and CEO of Motosumo, to tell you more about it. He provided me the information below.
As a bonus, you can earn a little extra money by referring your club to this app if they start using it. In fact, we’ve arranged for ICA members to get an even bigger bonus (up to $199) for referring your club! (See more about this below, but remember, you’ll need your code before registering.)
Want to try? It couldn’t be easier!
- Download the Motosumo app for iOS or Android.
- Place the phone in a stable position on your bike handlebars.
- Press play and enjoy your workout.
Here is a video of various methods for attaching the phone to the handlebars:
How do I use the team feature in my club?
Fill in this form. As an ICA member, make sure to type your promotion code to earn your bonus of up to $199 (see below on how to get your member code). Within 24 hours, your club’s address will be activated. The next time you launch the app, the phone detects your team based on your location and everyone in the class will be able to see themselves, the instructor, and the whole class on their screen graph. Your members don’t have to do anything but download the app and show up to your class!
Each rider will need to be able to attach their phone to the handlebars. You can sell them or provide them for use in your classes.
What the app shows
Cadence is the primary number in top of the screen. Heart rate (or % max heart rate) is visible in smaller text below to the left, and time is to the right.
In the graph in the bottom half of the screen, you can see your personal cadence as well as the team cadence. With enough participants, the team will be shown as a band, indicating how well the team works together. It’s important that instructors encourage members to ride at same cadence, making the team band as narrow as possible. Be a team! If people drift away from the prescribed cadence, the band will expand—get them back on track!
The color of the screen will change as cadence increases, from blue (<70 rpm), green (70–90 rpm), orange (90–110 rpm), and red (>110 rpm). This is great for beginners to see that they are getting the basics—it’s a cadence version of “coach by color.” All four zones have been named: strength, endurance, cardio, and sprint. However, the names are not essential and only indicative of what the purpose of riding in this zone could be. Use it to motivate and start a conversation with your participants about WHY you have created a profile like you have. Of course, you won’t achieve the same physiological effect from riding at high intensity at a cadence of 60 rpm as you might at 100 rpm. Your class should know this and appreciate the work you have done creating variation in your workouts. You have taught them that there is always a purpose—the Motosumo app can help you create your purpose!
There is a history view in the app that will give you cadence distribution, heart rate statistics, and calories. You will be able to view your latest session and compare current rides with previous rides. Again, this is a great chance to talk to both newbies and experienced riders alike about the reasons for riding at certain cadences.
You can view an example of a class here:
All your riders will learn from riding at specific cadences, but over time they will want to add the understanding and measurement of intensity. The Motosumo app will read a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. It will display either actual heart rate, or, if you coach by percent of max heart rate, it allows you to set your maximum heart rate.
There are rumors from the Copenhagen-based company that an intensity measurement will be available at some point in the future…think watts, but measured with your smartphone sensors only! They have also launched their first big-screen solution. You can check it out here. (Simply log in with app credentials.)
Nerdy stuff: How does it work?
For the tech nerds among you, here is some insight on how it all works. It is the first technology breakthrough of this kind, which makes it a little complex…but I will try my best to explain. The motion sensors in your phone pick up even the smallest vibrations in the handlebars at an astounding rate of 100 times per second. These sensitive accelerometers built into your phone are the same sensors which turn your screen from portrait to landscape mode. All these measurements are sent to a server with advanced algorithms (calculations and biomechanical model). Instantly, your cadence is returned. If other people are riding at the same location, it will return your team values and display it on your screen.
A few more important points to remember:
- Don’t put your phone in airplane mode—data connection is required to display results.
- Instructors who use their phone for other apps (music, profile) can toggle between the apps. Or, if you have a second device (iPad), have one app open on each device.
- You need a good stable fixture for your handlebars. It must measure the movement of handlebars in order to be accurate. A few examples are shown in this video:
Special Referral Bonus for Everyone (But ESPECIALLY for ICA members!)
It is rare that a company will reward you for bringing their product to your facility…. Motosumo wants to reward you! Simply use the promotion code below when you register your facility. This will not only get you a free trial of Motosumo, but if your gym eventually decides to purchase a license to use Motosumo, allowing all members in your classes to ride unlimited, and you were the first to sign up this particular address of your gym, you will receive 50% to 100% of the first month fee paid directly to your PayPal account.
How much is that? The monthly license for your gym ranges from $139 to $199, depending on the size of the facility. When they sign up, you can earn the following:
- Any instructor referral: 50% of first month fee ($69 or $99). USE THE CODE: Motosumo2017
- ICA Members*: 100% of first month fee ($139 or $199). Click here to get your code (you must be logged in). Even better, if your club maintains its license for up to three years, you will get this amount as a referral fee every single year! That means up to $597 in bonuses! It’s a great incentive to keep your club engaged and using the Motosumo RPM app!
It’s really easy. Just use the special codes above and get your gym ready for a free trial of Motosumo. Remember, the referral bonus goes to the first person who registers a facility, so go ahead and register all the facilities where you teach. Then discover the amazing benefits of teaching to cadence and having all your riders on the same rpm page!
*Note: You must be a current ICA member in good standing when the facility purchases a license. Otherwise, you will receive the standard referral fee. All payments are in $USD and are made via PayPal.
Your feedback and ideas shape the future!
Now, go try out the app and let me and the developers of Motosumo know what YOU think. I know that instructor input is often considered in new versions, so please don’t hold back. You can give your feedback in the Motosumo FB forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/motosumo/ (request to join).