I first heard of VBike from a friend who I thought of as a very competent cyclist. He couldn’t praise VBike enough. I found this interesting as I have generally adhered to the specificity principle that states that the best way to get better at something is just to do it!
So I was surprised that my friend claimed to see so much value in indoor training as opposed to being out on the road. Because VBike is just a glorified spin class right?? Wrong!
My first experience of VBike was to complete a Functional Threshold Power test. FTP, roughly translated for the terminologically impaired such as myself, is basically the maximum power output (effort) you can sustain without fatiguing over a determined period of time – anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes.
This test consisted of a 30ish minute warmup followed by 20 minutes of cycling as hard as I could – while trying to pace myself. My FTP came out at 206. To be honest I still don’t really know what this means! But I know that the higher it is the better cyclist I will be. Anyway, the website will tell you everything you need to know about the technical stuff that happens at VBike – I’m going to attempt to give you an amateur’s experience.
Here's what I really like about VBike...
- That you bring your own bike and set it up on their trainers. It means you know your equipment and you are riding on the same equipment and in the same position as you would be in a race or training ride.
- The music is current and upbeat. I often find myself singing along as we are cycling – not during the hard bits of course – apologies to anyone cycling along beside me!
- There is always a video to watch while we are training – this helps with distraction and keeping you focused for the whole 60 minutes. They also put the specific session profile along the top so you know what to expect and can follow along.
- It’s warm in there!! Beats training outside in the elements over the winter period! No need to rug up.
- We often repeat workouts which is great to see the progress you have made.
- The sessions are always challenging and keep you honest and focused.
- As Cameron Brown states – “One hour at VBike is like two on the road”. Totally agree! They are really focused and intense workouts.
- I love being able to see all my data on the screen right there in front of me including cadence, speed, power output, gradient and even heart rate! The personalisation is what makes it so much better than an ordinary spin class.
- You just have to keep it in the green! Keep your cadence and your power in the green (not the red or the orange or the blue) and you will achieve the workout. Easy!
- There is always someone there to train with!
Here's what I don’t like quite so much about VBike…
- It’s hard! But afterwards it feels amazing.
- One of the shower doors opens the wrong way so that it hides my towel when I get out. Ok I’m clutching at straws. There’s not much I don’t like.
Whether you're a recreational or competitive cyclist, triathlete or mountain biker VBike can and will be of benefit to you. The sessions are much more focused than you could ever be out on the road, track or trails.