Winter is coming and usually not welcomed by most ‘mamills’, like middle-aged men in lycra. Many people can be seen in cycling gear all year round on their expensive road bikes, but some retreat indoors as winter approaches. As one of those people, this reporter now regularly turns to YouTube instead of braving the cold.
Sales of Peleton stationary bikes spiked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and like many others I was among those eager to buy one in the fall of 2020 – following the unfortunate passing of “Mr. . Big”. After a rough ride a year ago.
Living room to Road Ride
But then I discovered that I could put my already expensive road bike – yes, plural – on my ten-year-old turbo trainer in front of a flat-screen TV and take in the world quite literally. True, it lacks some features of more complex trainers, but the many YouTube channels I now have mean I can keep busy even when the weather is terrible outside.
Some of the more popular YouTube channels already among cyclists were “Indoor Cycling Videos” and “Bike the World,” and apparently I wasn’t the only cycling “road warrior” to discover these during the pandemic.
“We have been publishing videos of our cycling tours together with other YouTube channels since 2010,” explains Uwe Ricke, who lives in Switzerland and who runs the Indoor Cycling video channel with his wife Anna.
He said demand has increased significantly since the start of the pandemic. The pair currently cycle three days a week in the spring, summer and fall and are already planning their next cycling holiday.
“Our goal has always been to get you looking at nature and inspiring you to train longer on an indoor bike,” says Ricke, who has been an indoor bike trainer for over 25 years.
Heinrich N., who runs the Bike the World channel on YouTube. With Christiansen, the story is almost the same. He added that providing “beautiful views is an important part” of training, noting that the most famous race, the Tour de France, is popular for its great views.
“I tried Zwift a few times, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea,” said Christiansen. “I wanted to experience indoor cycling.”
He created his own indoor cycling app, Open Road, which allows cyclists to have the same variety of experiences they would have if they were cycling outdoors. But of course without the fear of being honked by cars!
All videos are mainly for the app, available as a subscription, but Christiansen still shares them on YouTube. His videos are now used by fitness chains in Europe for spin classes.
free spin class
For those who prefer a spin class to landscape, there are plenty of options. One of the most popular is Kaleigh Cohen Cycling, which now has 183,000 customers. It offers spin classes and other workouts for cyclists to keep fit all year round.
“YouTube is such a useful platform,” says Cohen, who has seen a steady increase in subscribers and now makes a living from her fitness videos. She said it allowed her to share her passion with others, and best of all, it’s free.
“It’s now very affordable to find an indoor bike or trainer for your road bike, so you don’t need an expensive bike subscription to reach your home fitness goals,” said Cohen.
productions take effort
Many cyclists at home may think that making videos is the easy part. In reality, there are many factors involved, including planning the ride from start to finish and then dealing with the weather. On a seven-day trip to Norway, Christiansen said, only one day was really ideal for cycling.
“But the footage that was filmed that day was amazing. So it was all worth it,” he says.
After the public road ride is filmed, there’s post-production, which can be more complicated than other how-to videos.
“There’s a lot of editing and rendering that goes into making these videos,” says Christiansen, who added that viewers/riders expect it to be a seamless experience, with no need to wait for red lights or deal with traffic to go. The longer the ride, the more editing is required, and video post-production can take a day or more.
Whether it’s an instructional spin class or on the open road, it seems many cyclists are turning to YouTube. To escape the winter months. Christian said, “Some people even wrote to me that the video helped them stay sane during those times of Covid.”