Indoor Cycling over the years…A DECADE IN THE SADDLE, still enjoying THE RIDE INSIDE!

This week is my 10th anniversary of being a certified Indoor Cycling Instructor (and blogger).  And WOW, what a ride it has been! Coincidentally, Monday is also 10/10…PERFECT!

My indoor cycling journey actually started a few months earlier than October 2012, while I was an adjunct finance professor at Davenport University.  The University purchased about a dozen SPINNERS® for staff and faculty to use at the DU student center.  Eventually another faculty member and I started leading informal “classes” for anyone interested in some fun group exercise!

This was the first time since my wife and I first discovered indoor cycling many years earlier, when Johnny G’s SPINNING program launched at fitness centers around the world.  At that time, Ramblewood Fitness Center started offering a pay-as-you-go punch card program to participate in this popular group exercise alternative (late 1990’s)…WE WERE IMMEDIATELY HOOKED and signed up for 2-3 classes a week, for many months.

For a variety of reasons, our membership at Ramblewood lapsed after a few years and our passion for Spin faded.

By Fall of 2012 (at the age of 50), my passion for fitness and Indoor Cycling reignited at the same time both daughters were out of the house and off to Oakland University, near Detroit, MI (about 2-3 hours away).  The informal cycling classes at Davenport only added fire to the flame. 

A few months later I learned that as a certified group fitness instructor at the local YMCA association, I could also enjoy the benefits of a free YMCA membership.  After further research, I took a full-day SPINNING certification class and within months I was certified and started leading classes at SNAP Fitness Centers in the Grand Rapids area, by January 2013, I was employed by the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids and on the schedule at the Spartan Stores Family YMCA branch…just in time for “busy season”!

All along the way I had been randomly posting my class playlists online via this blog.  I was inspired by others who were posting their class ride profiles and music playlists at the time…bloggers like ChrisSpins, The Bike Café (Spinning Music), The Dancing Runner, and many others.

These are some of the STUDIO CYCLING MILESTONES over the 10 years that followed:

December 2012 – Joined the SPOTIFY music-streaming community to discover new music and create my class SPINLists

March 2013 – My first Endurance (Virtual Cycle) Class at YMCA

April 2013 – Increased my class schedule at YMCA and left SNAP Fitness

June 2013 – Started leading classes at the downtown David D. Hunting YMCA branch

June 2013 – Volunteered at Grand Rapids’ inaugural GRAND FONDO event, a fundraising event for Skin Cancer research with the MSU School of Human Medicine

September 2013 – Updated blog format and content to include more information

January 2014 – My first TEST RIDE (First Ride) studio visits and reviews – Go Cycle (now CycleBar) in Royal Oak, MI and Flywheel (now closed) in Chicago, IL

April 2014 – SoulCycle wannabe Fzique Boutique Cycle Studio opened in GR, eventually relocated to the Midtown area and has since closed

September 2014 – CycleBar launches the first nationwide Indoor Cycling franchise, partnering with local entrepreneurs

May 2015 – First of many SoulCycle classes in Chicago…this one at the Old Town location with Brent Locey (still riding strong!)

December 2015 – The Greater GR YMCA opens the new Mary Free Bed YMCA…a state-of-the-art “universal design” facility, with an indoor cycle studio…of course!

April 2017 – SoulCycle craze continues and the launch of my favorite FIND IT promo (

October 2017 – Started a year of Guest Posts created by fellow indoor cycling instructors from around the world! 

October 2018 – Started a year of Guest Posts created by local class participants and across the United States

October 2018 – YMCA launches a new indoor cycling program by ICG/Life Fitness, COACH BY COLOR.  A metric-driven engaging experience that includes colorful bike-mounted monitors, a mobile app, and large screen monitors.  Now used at 3 YMCA locations in greater Grand Rapids.

February 2019 – My first Peloton ride!  Since it’s 2012 beginnings, Peloton bikes were popping up in homes, hotels, and retail stores around the world…well-positioned for the unforeseen events of March 2020!

March 2019 – My first opportunity to learn more about the evidence-based program to help people that have a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis:  Pedaling for Parkinson’s and sharing a guest post on this topic

September 2019 – I was asked to write a Guest post for a newly launched fitness and lifestyle blog The Wellness Grind

November 2019 – Two new boutique cycling studios announce plans to open in 2020:  Lunar Cycle and Spoke (both surviving the COVID-19 pandemic)

December 2019 – I decided to work with Lunar Cycle owners to open and led classes at their new Michigan St. studio, only subbing classes at the YMCA

December 2019 – Schwinn® Indoor Cycling certified (a one-time, lifetime certification)

January 2020 – Lunar Cycle opens GR’s largest boutique cycle studio

March 2020 – Covid-19 lock downs force cycle studios and group fitness facilities to close and re-think business models

September 2020 – Flywheel Sports files for bankruptcy and all locations eventually close

December 2020 – Lead a couple of Virtual Rides with GRYMCA adding to their library of classes for at-home workouts

January 2021 – Peloton shares reach a high of $165 per share after the 2019 $27 per share IPO

April 2021 – I decided to resume live / in-person classes at Mary Free Bed YMCA (with face masks and social distancing)

February 2022 – International fitness franchise CycleBar opens in SE Grand Rapids!

August 2022 – SoulCycle closes 25% of studios

September 2022 – FOR THE RIDE INSIDE hits 800,000+ clicks and 850+ followers…short of my goal, but COVID-19 had a huge impact on low traffic

October 2022 – After reaching an all-time high of $160+ per share, Peloton closes at under $10 per share

October 2022 – Ten years certified indoor cyclist!

With 2023 knocking at the door, who knows what’s next for this industry, this cycling blog, and my group fitness classes at the Y…but for now I’ll plan to ENJOY THE RIDE!

Thanks for joining me on this incredible journey.

Steve 🚴🎶😅

POSTSCRIPT: Adding a few other personal milestones over these past ten years…

Graduations and weddings for my two daughters, first granddaughter in 2020, first grandson in 2022, 40th wedding anniversary, lost my father-in-law in 2020, my mom and dad are in their 80’s and feeling it, sold our suburban home, purchased a new (downsized) fixer-upper in the city, left one non-profit after 9 years as Finance Director, accepted a CFO position with another non-profit (7+ years and counting while I continue to work from home!), quit alcohol…rediscovered cannabis after adult-use was legalized in Michigan, and survived a stroke scare in 2021. It has been a decade!

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