Spinny Gonzales

How to get your riders to slow down and heat up

I’m a fan of teaching Indoor Cycling with Watt meters. It’s human nature to convince yourself that you’re working a little harder than you really are. But when faced with a hard number that represents your work, it’s really tough to fool yourself.

Enter the Data Driven Studio. Whether you call it Power, Watts, Torque (or some misspelling thereof) offering power data is a great way to inspire peak performance, to measure training effect and to slow down Spinny Gonzales who didn’t get the memo that saddle bouncing went out of style with the turn of the century.

Spinny Gonzales

I know many studios don’t have Watt meters, and that for some, teaching with power is about as likely as taking the escalator at Machu Picchu. So when I teach in a studio that doesn’t have a watt display system, I geek out and use a $16 temperature gun like this one.

No matter the resistance type (friction or magnetic), work is dissipated as heat, which accumulates in the wheel. (For those who need to know, the Watt curve is the derivative of the heat curve, but either is an effective measure of work done on the bike for more than a few minutes.)

Just point and shoot 4” to 6” from the wheel to see the temperature. I announce the temperature of a bike with no rider as the control temp. Then I show each rider their “heat number” near the start of a long slow climb, and again at the end.

When the aforementioned Spinny Gonzalez realizes that they’ve only raised their temperature by a few degrees, they’ll quickly correlate higher resistance with higher temperatures. The universal result is that riders slow down and heat up. I don’t share readings of one rider with another, but those with a competitive nature will use the numbers to inspire/challenge each other.

This method is also effective for those with injuries or doing recovery rides by challenging the rider to stay at or below a specific temperature. It’s safe, fun, effective & cheap! What more can you ask for?