Next is Synchronising. This is the most fun, as it involves rocking the handle bars from side to side in time with the music. Being able to swing the bars freely makes it feel as if I’m on an actual bike; this sway motion means that I no longer have to imagine quite so forcefully that I am really cycling, which in turn tricks my body into moving as if I really were thundering around a velodrome. The rhythm and the music also make it seem a bit like I’m dancing, as my outstretched bottom sways from side to side. This technique is all about finding your inner beat, so if you can’t cut it on the dance floor you may struggle a bit in the beginning here. Thankfully, the BF and I are dab hands, and we feel like we’re back at Le Baron – which handily we visited just the night before (a nicely timed pre-workout workout). If my Saturday Night Fever had been lacking, James tells me he can help me find it; and in actual fact, a lack of natural rhythm will increase the intensity of the workout, as the body needs to go the extra mile – work harder – to find its groove. This position is perfect for building balance and strengthening the thighs and core.
Next it’s Turning. Seated now, and keeping up our speed, we lean and steer to the right as if we are taking a bend. The handlebars are heavy and the turn requires strength in our arms to push and hold while our legs spin against the high gear. This sounds much easier than it is, and within 30 seconds I, and my oblique muscles, are longing to return to centre. My arms ache and my stomach muscles are completely tensed while my legs continue sprinting. I feel like my whole body is working in this one pose – my quads, calves, core and triceps are intensely engaged. When I think I can’t take another second we correct to the centre for a moment, before we start over again on the left. I glance up at James, who is sweating as much as the BF and I are. At least we’re all in this together.
Finally, the fourth one: Stabilising. We’re up off our seats and pedalling hard, but this time we must keep the bars still and centred in order to work on our balance and core. It takes supreme concentration to keep the bike from swaying at all. Without being able to use the handlebars to counter the movement of my legs, I feel like I am on a workout tightrope. Absolute focus, while my legs, glutes and arms feel the burn.
We continue switching from technique to technique in circuit style, with short pedal breaks in-between to swig our water and calm our twitching muscles. This is serious total-body conditioning: cardio, core, upper body, endurance and, of course, legs. When James eventually calls time, I have never felt a stronger post-workout euphoria.