There is an interesting cycling phenomenon going on in the UK. An advocacy group known as Cycling UK has been working behind the scenes to convince schools to add spinning classes to their curriculum. As the thinking goes, exposing more kids to the sport may convince them to continue pursuing it as adults.
Such a push is understandable in Europe where cycling is as much a commuting method as it is a sport. Things are different in this country. Not a lot of people commute via bicycle simply because there is no need to. Most of us own cars. So those who do ride bikes regularly usually do so for the exercise or because they enjoy the sport.
The question is whether or not schools should add indoor cycling classes to their PE programs. It is a more intriguing question when you consider the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic may forever change how kids are educated.
Social Distancing in Schools
Social distancing guidelines may force kids to stay away from one another even once school resumes. If so, PE class is going to have to change. You cannot practice social distancing and still play volleyball. Basketball is out of the question, as are square dancing, swimming, wrestling, and more.
Indoor cycling is an activity that can be conducted at a distance. Bikes can be spaced at 6-foot intervals across the gym floor. The PE teacher can position his or her bike at one end so that the entire class has a clear view. And with the right training, the PE teacher can put the kids through quite a workout in a 30-minute session.
Of course, such a program would require a significant investment in spinning bikes. That may not be a problem if school sports budgets are made redundant by social distancing. Then again, it is easy to see that money going toward other things – like teacher salaries and technology.
A Greater Appreciation for Cycling
Cycling UK has other reasons for pushing for spinning classes in school. Not only do they want to promote the sport of cycling among the younger set, they also see it as an opportunity to make the sport more diverse. According to their own research, UK cyclists are more white than black or Asian. More boys ride their bikes to school than girls.
Cycling enthusiasts in the UK want to encourage a greater appreciation for cycling. Moreover, they want that appreciation among all age groups, races, and sexes. Perhaps their goals are a bit too lofty; maybe not. At any rate, adding spinning classes to school PE programs would at least expose more kids to the idea of indoor cycling.
Great Cardio Workout
At Mcycle Studios in Salt Lake City Utah, they offer customers 45-minute indoor cycling classes with a heavy focus on cardio. The classes are oriented around the idea that a great cardio workout is the foundation of a successful exercise plan.
Few would argue that cycling qualifies as a cardio workout. The longer, harder, and faster you pedal, the more you work the heart. So if PE class is supposed to be about making sure kids get a good amount of exercise during the week, spinning classes would seem to fit the bill.
It will be interesting to see if Cycling UK achieves its goals. Getting indoor cycling into UK schools would be quite a victory. Here, there is no telling how well indoor cycling would be received. We are somewhat quirky about what we think qualifies as good PE material. Spinning classes might not fly in our schools.