I headed along to the newly opened Athlete Lab to see what if a training facility indoors can really simulate the experience you have on the road.
I hate to admit it, but I am not bike fit at the moment. Life just seems to keep getting in the way of long rides and working in a busy city doesn’t exactly lend itself to lunchtime/ post work rides. And while I see the benefits of a turbo trainer I seem to lack the motivation to ever really push myself when not in the company of others.
In a bid to keep a shred of my bike fitness through the winter I turned to spinning classes at my local gym. Not ideal but I come out a lot sweatier than I would if left to my own devices so it’s a good compromise.
Thankfully though, an even better solution has arrived in town in the form of the Athlete Lab which is a pretty unique indoor cycling offering.
Already a huge success in Singapore and Sydney, Athlete Lab has chosen London as its first European location. At the moment, it is the only place to offer studio training on a real bike. The idea is to replicate a training environment as close to the real thing as possible and I have to say Athlete Lab delivers this pretty well.
Walking into the venue can be a little intimidating at first. A screen displaying the class members’ names and a host of rider stats lay before us while motivational quotes lined the remainder of the walls.
Thankfully I was instantly put at ease by studio manager Anna McKay. “You’ll be absolutely fine,” she chirped as she helped me make some adjustments to the bike.
She gave me a quick run through of the figures on the board in front of me, which thankfully were not so daunting once they were explained.
Athlete Lab offers a wide range of sessions which can, if requested, be tailored to your needs/ goals. Our session involved a 5 minute warm up, 10 minutes at our Ironman pace, 6 x 3 minute sprints, with one minute recovery after each one, 10 minutes at our half Ironman pace and a 5 minute cool down. Throughout the session I could watch my distance, cadence, calories burned and a host of other stats.
Due to the fact there is no freewheeling or stopping at lights, I am told the one hour session is equivalent to a two hour session on the road, making it perfect for those time-poor individuals among us.
While this type of training is perfectly suited to athletes looking to compete and really lift their fitness and ability on the bike, it is also suited to newbies. In fact it’s a great way of getting a feel for the bike and clipping in before having to face the reality of traffic and other obstacles on the road.
As you would expect from this kind of facility in central London, it does not come cheap. A month’s unlimited access is £180 while a block of eight sessions costs £216 which works out at £27 a ride.
More information can be found here