The cycling craze that has got us in a spin



Twice a week I go into battle with myself over whether I should hit the gym. Part of me tries to convince myself that I’d be happier perched on the sofa in front of Eastenders while the other argues that a workout will leave me energised and ready to tackle the week ahead. Thankfully, my legs defiantly march me in the direction of the nearest treadmill every time.

Brain Food personal trainer Dan Roberts points out that “switching around your routine is vital in order to make sure that you don’t get bored. A stale exercise regime becomes tiresome and makes it harder to follow through the longer you keep it the same”. Although cynical about exercise fads I decided to see whether attending a new class would settle the argument and signed up for Psycle, the latest fitness craze that has got Londoners in a spin.

Nestled behind the bustling streets of Oxford Circus you’d be forgiven for mistaking a Psycle class for a New York rave. No sooner had I strapped my feet into the cleated shoes (which help to increase the connection between your legs and the bike), it quickly became apparent, in more ways that one, that this was no ordinary spinning session.

Classes are held in a slick mirrored basement and house music blares while mutli-coloured strobe lights flash in a sea of darkness. Psycle’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that your state of mind is key to how often and how hard you exercise. Tapping into my feelings isn’t something I usually do during exercise so when the instructor asked that we all take five minutes to think about why we were there, it felt odd yet surprisingly good to reflect on how much fun I was having. Unlike my usual hour of solitary treadmill pounding there was a strong sense of camaraderie amongst everyone in the room. As if part of an Olympic squad you ride as a pack and there is a strong emphasis on teamwork and rhythm.

The playlist is tailored so that is was suitable for the time of day and week, and songs were chosen for their lyrical content rather than the amount of beats. A physical and mental journey, the routine itself embraced an exciting mix of dance and light hand weights and was as much about thoughtful meditative movements as it was core conditioning and balance training. It was tailored to everyone; veteran spinners could feel the burn, yet beginners (like me) didn’t cave in with exhaustion.

Surprisingly instead of clock-watching as usual, the cleverly calculated session meant I didn’t glance over once during the 45 minutes. This could certainly be the answer to my weekly battle.

£20 per class, Psycle London, 76 Mortimer Street, W1,