As the snow begins to fall and we retreat into garages, basements, and to indoor cycling studios, it’s probably a good time to catch up on indoor cycling etiquette. Even as Zwift takes over the world, you may be tempted to take a class at a local studio or even an elite training facility to take your fitness to a new level. The change from training in your own pain cave to riding stationarily with others can be a great change of pace, bringing about a fun, social aspect to training, and help you stave off the seasonal affect disorder that makes you curl into a ball and sob when the sun goes down at 4pm. But there’s a huge difference between training in your own home and riding with others. Here’s an etiquette refresher and a little incentive to give riding nowhere with other people a try.

  1. Keep Your Shirt On: For real. Dudes, when you’re riding with others at a studio, keep your righteous chizzled six-pack in the cooler. Yeah, it’s warm and you’re sweaty. Sure, some dudes might go shirtless in the hot yoga studio. But that’s yoga. They have their chakras lined up and you just have shaved legs. In cycling, no one wants to see a pale, hairy, heaving midsection in the classroom mirror for an hour. Keep your shirt on for the entire duration of the class.
  2. No Perfume or Cologne, YES Deodorant: This is one that can be tough since many folks are coming to the studio after work. But to the best of your ability, try to not wear fragrance to your cycling class. When they’re breathing hard and their heart rate is super high, the last thing an athlete wants to inhale is the intense, pungent aroma of the latest Chanel perfume or Axe body spray. It goes without saying that you certainly shouldn’t apply a fragrance before going into class. But don’t skip deodorant. BO can have the same impact as a fragrance, so keep those pits topped up with Old Spice.
  3. Keep Your Phone in Your Locker: You’re taking an hour out of your day to focus on your fitness and becoming a healthier person. But it’s really difficult to focus on those things if you’re checking Facebook every few minutes. If you’re on-call for work, sure. Bring your phone in. But watching Murder, She Wrote on Netflix is distracting to other people in the class and takes away from your focus for what you came in for and what you’re working on; yourself.
  4. Don’t Distract Others: Some people take indoor cycling more seriously than others. At Yen, we have a really laid back atmosphere with people from every point on the fitness scale, and a plethora of different fitness goals. Which, to be honest, is really cool and refreshing. But just because someone is chatty before class doesn’t mean they’re not there to empty their proverbial tank when the lights go down and the latest Cardi B track gets turned up. When the class gets going, try to keep the chatting to a few wisecracks and maybe some words of encouragement to your neighbor. Catching up with Susie about her new pool boy is best saved for Happy Hour after class, not when you’re wrapping up a tough interval.
  5. Don’t Judge: We’re all at a different part of our journey, man. For some, just getting the gumption to show up to an indoor cycling class with a group of fit, spandex-clad strangers is a huge, intimidating step. Hell, just sitting on a bicycle seat for the first time in a decade and being able to stay on there for an hour is an accomplishment in and of itself. So, sure. You race Iceman every year and have like six whole KOMs around northern Michigan. But the new guy/gal is going to push themselves just as hard as you do for the full 60 minutes of class, and everyone is going to walk out the same level of tired. And no one gets dropped. Indoor cycling is unique that no matter what; fast or slow, fit or less fit, everyone leaves class as equals in pretty much every way since everyone is pretty much completely toast. And that’s pretty damn cool.

Make sure you mix things up this winter and give indoor cycling a try. It’s a pretty refreshing experience for even the most experienced veteran. Just do everyone a favor and keep your shirt on.

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