Sample Class: The Perfect Party Ride

by Amy Dixon on Mar 20, 2014

Class Take-Out

Keep participants active and engaged with a segmented ride.

Where’s the party? In your cycling class! This segmented ride allows participants to discover their thresholds, stay fully engaged and leave feeling empowered. Ask three questions throughout class to ensure that participants know what’s expected at each stage and can therefore give their best effort:

  • What’s the goal?
  • How long is the drill?
  • How should it feel?

The Perfect Ride Details

Format: indoor cycling cross-training (mix of timed intervals, competitive racing, climbing and tempo riding)
Total Time: approximately 50 minutes
Equipment Needed: indoor bikes MUSic: suggestions offered (see chart)
Intensity Monitoring:
Easy: warm-up/cool-down; rating of perceived exertion: 0–5; heart rate reserve: 50%–65%
Moderate: aerobic activity; RPE 6–7; HRR 65%–80%
Hard: aerobic/anaerobic activity; RPE 7–8; HRR 80%–90%
Breathless: maximum effort; RPE 8–9; HRR 85%–95%

Source: Schwinn Cycling certification Manual.

Stage 1: Timed Stacked Intervals (22 minutes)

Start with a 4- to 5-minute warm-up, working toward the first classic climb as you introduce timed intervals. During this stage, cue riders to add gear and slowly increase intensity, allowing them to feel each zone. The stacked intervals are extensive and breathless, decreasing from set to set and varying in recovery time (see chart). Encourage participants to visualize that they are riding around a track while giving maximum effort in order to “earn” recovery.

Stage 2: Sprinting Flat/ Climb/Intervals (20 minutes)

A flat sprint requires a burst of power with a challenging resistance. While participants ride the flat road that leads into the next hill, you have a perfect opportunity to use a dissociative coaching cue that incorporates mental imagery. This engages participants and allows them to push harder for longer (see chart for more details).

Sample script. “You’re riding on a long stretch of flat road looking for your VIP riding partner, who’s at the top of the hill. Along the way are three riders you need to pass. As you encounter each rider, the terrain gets steeper, challenging your strength. You pass the first two riders, but the third is farther ahead so you have to sprint to pass him before you get to the top, where your VIP riding partner is waiting.

“You made it to the top of the hill! Over the next 5 minutes you’ll experience intense intervals. Each interval will have half the recovery time. Your goal is to be present and ‘drain the tank.’ Remember, you’ll get about 3 minutes of active recovery once you finish this stage.”

Note: The increasing gear allows participants to feel the intensity protocol needed for each set. Cadence control is crucial here.

Pefect Party Table

Stage 3: Tempo Ride/Cool-Down (10 minutes)

A tempo ride is an endurance drill that uses pace and gear to build strength during long-distance rides. The intensity is tough enough that participants are right on the edge of breathlessness during the entire stage. Finding the right gear is a process of trial and error. As a coach, you’ll indicate the cadence (80–100 revolutions per minute) and cue riders to find the perfect gearto settle into their rhythm and connect with the power and intensity of the “road.”

Associative coaching cues keep participants present and aware of their breathing, heart rate and muscular endurance during a tempo ride. Once riders reach the “finish line,” incorporate a 5-minute cool-down. Allow a few moments on the bike to slow down heart rates, and spend at least 3–5 minutes off the bike leading static stretches for the hamstrings, quadriceps, hips/gluteals, shoulders, chest and calves.

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About the Author

Amy Dixon

Amy Dixon IDEA Author/Presenter

Amy Dixon is one of the most dynamic fitness instructors and Master Trainers in the industry today. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Lifestyle Management with an emphasis in exercise physiology as well as many other fitness certifications. Amy is a contributing fitness expert for many major Lifestyle magazines, a master trainer for Schwinn, BOSU, and GRAVITY and stars in many critically acclaimed fitness DVD's. She is a former World competitive power tumbler and coach and uses that experience everyday in her classes. With over 15 years of teaching experience, she is best known for her energy and enthusiasm for fitness. Her energy is contagious. She delivers a fun, performance based class and works hard to educate and motivate her students to achieve extraordinary results. She has also been a part of the Nike Rockstar Fitness Academy in Los Angeles. Her talents have been featured on MSNBC, The Today Show, ABC News, Exercise TV, Your LA, Fox News, and MTV. Her classes and insights have been reported in Women's Health Magazine, Health Magazine, Self Magazine, Shape Magazine, Variety Magazine, In Touch, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Amy is the Group Fitness Manager for Equinox in Santa Monica. Check out her website at