When one of your riders sits up a lot during class it could be for a plethora of reasons: discomfort, poor set-up, disinterested, or that they are just being lazy. How should you address it? The technique for confronting this student issue can be employed for almost anything you have to address in your classes.I want to tell you about a student in my class the other day, Tom. It was a small group of 7 riders at the small, private facility where I work in the winter. This is a seasonal program, with no classes in summer and many of the members are only here part-time, as second-home owners at this ski resort of Beaver Creek, CO. I hadn’t seen Tom since last winter, and he isn’t one of my regulars and had only come a few times. This club has an older but pretty fit population, so I’d say Tom is in his late 60’s, early 70’s.
I noticed he was sitting upright a lot in the first twenty or so minutes of class. I didn’t want to address him unless it became a “chronic” issue – often at this club people will ride easy in the cycling classes either because they skied hard the day before or plan to ski hard that day, so I thought I’d give him some time to warm-up and see if he joined us. (This club is literally at the base of the ski hill).
The profile was three 10-12 minute climbs with 4-5 minute flats in between. He sat up much of the first 12 minutes while we progressively warmed up to the first climb. On the first climb, he put his hands on the bars for about half of it (and of course, always when we stood up) but was still “climbing” while sitting up.
While I was teaching, I was trying to come up with a diplomatic way to address it without singling him out. During the recovery flat after that first climb, I got off the bike, walked from left to right in the room (he was over near the right side, I didn’t go to him first) and answered someone else’s question, suggested one of my regulars relax her shoulders more, and then came to him. The following was our conversation: