Main Body

1. The History

In order to be a great athlete, one must be able to train and practice on a consistent basis. For outdoor cyclists, this used to be an issue. Prior to the invention of indoor cycling and bike trainers, an athlete’s ability to train was often determined by the weather. A little rain, sleet, snow, or freezing conditions could quickly create hazardous, unsafe conditions for road bikes. Additionally, it is often challenging to control the difficulty of an outdoor ride due to the variety of factors. The climate and terrain an athlete lives in will often determine the type of ride the rider experiences. For example: Illinois is extremely flat so it is difficult for a competitive cyclist to train for a race that includes hills. Additionally, winters are brutal in the Midwest, and temperatures often reach well below freezing, making it impossible to cycle outdoors. In the south, summers can get really hot. When the heat is combined with the humidity, it creates challenging conditions as well.

Competitive cyclist Johnny Goldberg (popularly known as Johnny G.) grew tired of cancelling his workouts. In the mid-80’s he began to put his time and energy into creating a machine that would allow him to cycle anywhere, regardless of the weather. This also allowed him to set specific training workouts that would replicate the terrain he would be racing in. Goldberg’s final prototype had one weighted flywheel suspended off the ground and remarkably mimicked the feel of riding outdoors. He benefited from using his stationary bicycle so much that he began integrating it into his clients’ personal training sessions. It was then that he realized the impact this machine could make on both highly competitive athletes and novice cyclists.

During the early 90’s, Goldberg partnered with Schwinnâ (known as Schwinn), a prominent American bicycle manufacturing company. In 1995, Goldberg and Schwinn would forever change the fitness industry by introducing the stationary bicycle and Goldberg’s spinning program to fitness clubs across the nation. Within one year, this fitness phenomenon had swept the nation and pushed both Keiser and Reebok (two other well-known fitness companies) to develop a cycling program and bike of their own.

Over the last 2 decades, the indoor cycling bike has dramatically evolved. Today, indoor cycling bikes come equipped with computer screens that measure heart rate, bike gear, revolutions per minute, wattage output, distance, and much more. The technology and bike design have advanced so significantly that a few bike companies have eliminated the bike chain and brake pads all together. On these bikes, a lever and a magnet that nearly duplicates an outdoor road bike experience control the resistance. It has also minimized the maintenance work needed. This saves health clubs, recreation centers and owners a lot of time, hassle, and money in maintenance fees.

Currently, indoor cycling is a popular group fitness class at any recreational, fitness, or health center. This fitness phenomenon is not only popular in America, but internationally as well. The impact of Goldberg’s invention has changed the fitness industry forever.

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Ch.1 - Indoor Cycling by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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