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Riding without a destination

John HartAt Club Sierra in June, Sera Schmitt (left), Dee Brown, Shari Williams, Angel Ramirez, Margie Blackston, Eva Lobsitz and Mike Smith burn fat and have fun.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

When Courthouse Athletic Club introduced its Spinning program to Nevada County in 1997, it knew what it was getting itself into.

“We knew (it was going to be really popular} because in 1995, we attended an international fitness convention that showcases all the latest and greatest equipment. While there, we saw Spinning and the huge crowd that had gathered around the demonstration,” said Wanda McIntosh, a Courthouse Athletic Club instructor.

Five years since its local debut, the idea has become a nationwide craze that has not left Nevada County behind. Classes are now offered in three area health clubs.



The Spinning regimen is a workout which features a stationary bike that allows its rider to adjust the level of difficulty to create a new form of cardiovascular exercise.

After seeing the program’s success in Oregon, South Yuba Club instructor Mike Carville added a similar workout program to the gym. Three months ago, Club Sierra offered its version of Spinning, “Indoor Cycling,” to members. The club now offers 22 classes a week and has “received a good response,” said instructor Margie Blackston.




All three clubs have been forced to increase the size and frequency of Spinning classes.

“We started with about 14 classes, and we now have 22 classes a week, nine instructors, 16 bikes, and the popularity is only increasing,” said McIntosh.

According to McIntosh and Carville, indoor cycling’s increasing popularity can be traced its broad appeal. “Our program can accommodate beginning to advanced people in the same class. They can adjust their own difficulty level. It’s fun having it that way because the beginners get inspired by the more advanced cyclists,” said McIntosh.

The clubs are planning to expand the cycling workouts.

“Right now we have a dedicated Spinning room, video projections and are soon getting heart-rate monitors to go with the bikes,” said Carville.

“Since our program is relatively young, we don’t have the huge video projections yet, but we do visualization, which makes it a lot of fun,” said Blackston.

Because the trademarked Spinning workout and programs like it have been so successful, clubs are seeing a sharp increase in the number of noncompetitive mountain bikers in classes.

“Currently, we have more ‘non-bikers’ than bikers. In the classes, there’s about one-third serious mountain bikers, and two-thirds non-bikers,” said Carville.

The following clubs offer Spinning:

South Yuba Club, Nevada City, 470-9100

Courthouse Athletic Club, Grass Valley, 274-3481

Club Sierra, Grass Valley, 477-880


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