I recently picked up a new class at the YMCA. It’s at 9:15 am, which is a different time slot than I’m used to, allowing me to meet new members of our community. I started my class off as usual—introducing myself and asking if there were any new riders in the room. They quickly let me know they were all regulars, so I gave my typical spiel: “I don’t give gear numbers. Instead, I’m going to explain to you what the terrain feels like and it’s up to you to increase or decrease your resistance (gears) to get you there. Most of all, listen to your body—do what feels right for you and only you.” Then I rolled into the ride profile. It was a strength ride and we would be climbing. (Note: We have Keiser bikes with numbered gears.)
Halfway through class I saw a woman, Julie, grinding hard despite my asking for moderate intensity. I got off my bike, approached her, and asked her to ease up on the intensity and try to smooth out her pedal stroke.
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had riders show up in my class and tell me, “No, I’m all set…I’ve ridden before” then set their bikes to ridiculously low seat heights. Best tool to help “nudge” those folks (without embarrassing them) is to pull out my trusty $6 goniometer and asking them if they’d mind me taking a few scientific measurements to make sure that they can MAXIMIZE their workout. It’s hard to say no to that kind of logic…