By R. Scott Belzer
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Mike’s Hike and Bike is known for its daily deals on boating equipment, camping gear, cycling shop and general outdoor clothing. Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well as Saturday mornings, however, offer a haven for indoor cycling training.
Located at 206 N. Main Street in London, Mike’s Hike and Bike has been hosting indoor cycling classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. Participants bring their own bike and trainer, which is a stand that allows them to ride their own bikes and add adjustable resistance.
According to Owner Michael J. Hale, staying in shape is all the motivation he needs to host the classes.
“The primary idea is to stay in shape throughout the winter,” said Hale. “Most of these people are distance riders. We’re not racers, per se, but we all ride recreationally and ride fairly long distances – 50 to 100 miles.”
Tuesdays are geared towards strength and technique training. It’s in these classes that participants learn how to get the most out of the way they ride. Thursdays are focused more on aerobic training and breathing techniques. Saturday morning classes – offered only at the Richmond location – offer somewhat a departure, being more casual and conversational.
“We have a whole bunch of different training videos. Tuesdays are about increasing power output and our technical cycling abilities,” Hale said. “Thursdays generally focus more on cardio – just making ourselves sweat and breathe heavy.”
While the training is intense, the overall atmosphere of the evening classes is very welcoming and laid back. Participants heckle Hale, each other and even the training video, throwing witty comebacks at a television screen while simultaneously obeying it.
For days when group rides would be more torturous than constructive due to inclement weather, the three classes offer nothing short of an oasis for cycling enthusiasts. All that’s required is bringing your own bike and training stand – an unspoken courtesy sometimes broken by Hale.
“We have about three extra trainers for people to use,” he said. “And we have a whole shop full of bikes.”
Indoor training offers its own set of controllable challenges. Most training stands allow for the rider to remain focused on pedaling rather than balance. They prop the back wheel up a few inches while fitting the front wheel in a separate holder that ensures it will remain in place. Resistance can be added or riders can simply change gears.
Hale, however, will sometimes mount a training stand consisting of three rollers – two for the back wheel and one for the front wheel – which engages the balance portion of cycling. It essentially looks like a treadmill when fully functional, allowing both wheels to spin freely. This also makes it impractical for breaks during the workout.
“My heart rate is always faster on this thing,” Hale said. “It’ll never drop below 160.”
Dwight Broyles makes the trip from Corbin to participate in the London sessions. Broyles wants to be ready the moment warmer weather hits Laurel County. For him, training indoors is a great alternative to braving the frigid cold.
“I want to try to stay in shape for the upcoming cycling season,” Broyles said. “I’ve been cycling for a little over a year. I guess this kinda gives me motivation to get out there and ride a little earlier.”
Broyles is quick to mention how wearing more isn’t necessarily better when riding in freezing temperatures.
“No matter how much you put on, it’s still more of a struggle when it comes to the breathing,” he said. “We’ve been out riding a couple of times this year in the cold weather, and it’s definitely more of a challenge.”
For more information on Mike’s Hike and Bike, call (606) 862-0009 or (859) 626-9626. You can also visit the store’s website at www.mikeshikeandbike.com or its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/mikes-hike-and-bike.