What is it?
It’s like RPM, or spinning, but so much cooler. Firstly, the music (which is tailor-mixed by a hotshot DJ from NYC) is loud and fast. Secondly, the studio is in total darkness, bar a spotlight on the instructor. Thirdly – and, I think, most importantly – it’s digital. Each bike has a ‘tech pack’ which shows your torque, or resistance (so no more lying about how far you turned your dial), your speed and your Power Number (your score).
Power Numbers are displayed on a screen at the front, so you can see how you are doing in comparison with the rest of the class. Amira Amro, one of the founding partners of FlyWheel Dubai, says, “It all works together to make people feel very motivated. It’s great for both sexes and for all fitness levels, from beginners up to Ironman level. Also, the tech pack scores are stored online, so after each session you can log in and see how far you’ve cycled, your speed and how many calories you burned.”
Five minutes in, I would gladly have left had I been able to get my cycling shoes (provided by them) out of the pedal clips. My lungs were screaming “Hot poker!”, my legs were on strike and Valeria – the tiny, toned instructor – looked like she was on a leisurely ride to her gran’s house. I said to the woman next to me, “I’m not sure I can do this.” She smiled like she thought I was right.
Strangely, though, I could do it. And I did quite well, finishing second. When my stamina waned, seeing my name slip down the Power Number ranks released another boost of enthusiasm to get me back to the number two position. In 45 minutes I covered 21 miles and burnt off more than 700 calories. Not only that but I really enjoyed it. So much so that I’m going back tomorrow.
Anna AbouZeid, 29, tries to fit three FlyWheel classes into her weekly routine. “It’s fast, tough, sweaty and exhilarating. And the instructors’ playlists change so it never gets old. Pure and simple, it’s addictive.”