What you’ve always wanted to know about Flywheel!

I have been going to Flywheel once a week for about 8 months.  I always assumed my bike was setup properly… UNTIL one day a few weeks ago when instructor Tracy Chudnow noticed from her podium that something wasn’t right! She hopped on down and gave me a quick lesson on proper bike setup. I was not only grateful for her help, but also blown away by her passion for really helping her students. After class, I mentioned I had a lot of unanswered Flywheel questions. Well, I asked and Tracy answered!

Read below for the deets! 

tracy chudnow

Tracy Chudnow Photo from Flywheelsports.com

  1. How should ones bike be setup? Is it based on height? What about those that have a longer torso vs. longer legs?

At Flywheel, our friendly staff and instructors are always available to help riders with proper bike setup as well as to speak to the various positions and offer an overview of what the class will entail.  Don’t be shy about asking your instructor for help.

Think of the bike as your partner during the ride.  If your bike is setup even slightly off, your partner goes from being your best friend to an adversary.  We all have different body lengths so it is crucial that your bike is setup properly so that you can perform to your optimum level and avoid injuries.

Here are some tips when setting up your own bike:

–          Seat Height:  Make sure that your saddle is at height level with your hips – stand beside your bike and “measure” with your eyes. Seat height has a direct effect on the extension of your legs. If it’s to low it will cause pressure on your knees and not allow you to use your full power.  There should be a 5 to 10-degree bend in your knee-at most when one of your legs is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, or as I always says “at 6 o’clock”.  At Flywheel, when you adjust the saddle height you’ll notice numbers (where the saddle locks) making it easy to remember adjustments for your next ride.

–          Saddle Position:  The saddle at Flywheel moves forward and back.  Once again setting up your length is important to protect your knees and it also helps with producing more power in each peddle stroke.  If your knees are to far back or forward it will cause you to have a weaker downward driving force.   So, when having both peddles evenly across from one another, you should be able to see your knee in line with the ball of your foot.  If you are using our Flywheel shoes you should be able to see between the first two straps of that shoe.

–            Handlebar Height: The height of the handlebars is also crucial – they help engage the core as well as alleviate pressure on the shoulders and lowers back.

The handlebars should be at equal height with your saddle unless you have shoulder and/or lower back issues, then they should be adjusted to the highest level.

When riding out of the saddle try to loosen your grip and keep the weight of your body over pedals rather than your handlebars.

  1. Does improper bike setup lead to injuries?

Yes, that is why maintaining proper form and bike setup is critical.  Not only will proper bike setup help reduce the risk of injury, but it will also help build core strength and maximize efficiency during a Flywheel ride.

  1. Is it always about ‘beating your score’? I have taken class where I have done really well (close to 300) and than others where I haven’t done as well (around 250), but I always am trying my hardest. Some teachers have more speed work whereas others have more hills – do these factors impact my overall score?

No, first and foremost the Flywheel experience is about having fun throughout the ride.  It’s about leaving everything outside of the stadium, letting go and pushing yourself to the limit.

Every Flywheel bike is equipped with a small computer screen (or as we say “tech pack”), allowing riders to view and adjust their speed (RPM), resistance (Torq) and total energy exerted. This helps hold the rider accountable.  While our technology is there to enhance the overall experience, it’s not always about the numbers!

Showing up and pushing yourself is a feat and it’s important to remember that factors like sleep, eating patterns and stress can all affect your cardio performance.  If you had trouble sleeping the night before or your diet was off due to a work/friend dinner you may not perform up to the level which you are most capable of.

  1. How fast (rpm) and how hard (torq) should I be cycling during arms? I am always unsure if I should be paying more attention to the weights or my legs.

Arms are all about giving your upper body a workout while staying safe on the bike.  That requires you to keep a neutral spine, core engaged, back straight and having tension on the bike.  We ask that you keep your Torq between 20-25 and RPMs somewhere around 50.

  1. Do you recommend any specific workout gear for flywheel?

You’re going to SWEAT so look for items that fit tightly to your body and wick moisture. For men…light weight shorts and a dry fit shirt will get the job done. And for the girls, bring a headband to keep hair out of your face.

Lastly, WATER! Not exactly “gear” but it is one of the most important items to have on hand when FLYing.  Its key to hydrate before, throughout and after your ride.

  1. What is your best advice for students walking into a flywheel class?

The best advice I can give is to have fun!  We all walk into the Flywheel stadium with specific intentions and goals, and we work extremely hard at attaining them.  Keep smiling, enjoy the music, bop your head to the beat and remember that anything is possible.

  1. What made you want to become a flywheel instructor? 

The moment I walked through Flywheel Gold Coast’s door, I knew I was meant to be a Flywheel indoor cycling instructor.  There is a specific vibe you feel from the moment you enter, one like you just walked into a family member’s house. Prior to joining, I had always loved the #FlyFam dynamic, the support that you could trust and count on. I wanted to be a part of that.

Now let’s talk about my first ride at Flywheel.  I was sitting on the bike and becoming acclimated with the technology when the lights went down…I was hooked.

To be in my own zone, listening to amazing music, feeding off the energy of 40+ riders was quite a feeling. I knew I wanted to be up on that instructor podium.  I wanted to bring my energy, musicality, athletic ability and motivation to Gold Coast.

I had been teaching indoor cycling for years, but never at a boutique fitness studio.  Flywheel is unlike any other experience.   I tried out and the rest is history…


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