Special family fitness events are a great way to bring people together and model healthy habits. Indoor cycling is a perfect option to offer to members who’d like to bring their family members. Even those with sensitive knees or bad backs can get a great sweat without aggravating their injuries. Like any special program, a Family Cycle class takes a little planning, but the payoff is huge. Try this family-friendly indoor cycling class and help riders of all levels feel comfortable, confident and welcome.

On Family Cycle day, you are guaranteed a mix of hardcore cyclists and timid beginners. You’ll please everyone with this workout, which features tough intervals for “old pros” and softer options for first-time riders.

Family Fitness Cycle: Setup and Warmup (1–2 songs)

Explain what base gear is and how riders can find one that’s right for them. Instruct the class to ride at moderate tension, keeping a “quick but comfortable” pace.

Notes: Circulate around the room, help with setup and check in with all visitors. Once you get on the bike, give everyone an overview of what to expect.

Practice Drills

Get your family fitness visitors comfortable working in different paces. Rehearse a short hill, practicing good form standing or seated against tension. Run through a couple of short flat sprints. Add tension and ride in an upper-moderate or hard level for brief bursts.

Note: Explain how these sprints will be used for longer durations during the class.

Hill Drill

This section alternates between tough climbs and sprint intervals for a challenging four-song set.

CLIMB #1

Guests start climbing from flat. Increase tension with small additions every 45 to 60 seconds.

Notes: Remind participants that it is their option to add. It is fine to add every other time, or to back down if they end up with too much tension.

HEAVY SPRINT INTERVALS #1

Do 3 or 4 sprints lasting 30 seconds each, with 30 seconds of recovery between.

Notes: Encourage newcomers to reduce tension if they need to during recovery and use the sprint interval to pedal a little faster, but not go all-out. Experienced riders can go all-out against the tension they built in Climb #1.

CLIMB #2 AND HEAVY SPRINT INTERVALS #2

Guests start climbing from flat. Experienced riders continue to add from the last climb. For the second “heavy sprint,” follow the instructions above, urging veteran members to keep the tension they’ve built and encouraging new participants to adjust tension and speed as needed. Remind everyone that there is still a lot of class to come!

Recovery

Offer a reprieve, allowing riders to come back down to flat and prepare to finish strong in the next tough section. This is a great time for photos, introductions and class bonding.

Speed Drill

This section alternates between fast flat work and sprint intervals.

FAST FLAT #1

On flat ground, bring revolutions per minute up to 100 or above.

Notes: Ask members to adjust tension to a level that challenges them, working in a sustainable upper-moderate pace that they can maintain for the entire song. Newbies can ride at a comfortable pace.

SPRINT INTERVALS #1

Do 3 or 4 sprints lasting 40 seconds each, with 20 seconds of recovery between.

Notes: Encourage experienced riders to recover in an upper-moderate zone and push to all-out in the interval. Guide new riders to push in the interval and let their speed drop as low as they want during recovery.

Variation: This is a great place for a sprint game. Have the loved ones cheer on the sprinting regulars, or divide the room into teams.

FAST FLAT #2 AND SPRINT INTERVALS #2

Ask your pros to add a very small amount of tension and repeat the two drills as directed above. Allow new riders to keep flat ground tension.

Cooldown

EASY HILL

Add enough tension to support knees while standing. Ride a victory lap, letting heart rates slow.

FLAT COOLDOWN AND STRETCH

Finish with a light ride on flat ground followed by a thorough stretch. Give all of your participants a solid round of applause for completing a great ride together.

Some of your regulars may have been biking next to one another for years, exchanging nothing but chitchat. Once they get a chance to meet one another’s families, those regulars might discover they have interests in common, creating a stronger community within your class.

See also: Cycling + Off-Bike Strength: Combo Class