Being next to my office, I stepped into the newest sport and fitness addition to Berlin Mitte today – BeCycle at Brunnenstr. 24. I thought: about one week before London100, I should give myself some HIT (high intensity training).
Upfront I need to say, I had no experience with spinning at all (either in a gym nor at home with a cycletrainer). The only experience I got was some enormous, huge and ugly trainers placed at hotel gyms. Riding is kinda boring there, but if you’re in a foreign city with limited timeframes, you take what you get.
So, totally different here. The moment you step in, you immediately feel, they got some love for design. Everything feels really premium. The welcome area is spacey, displays show some cycling and Yoga love. The connected coffee bar delivers organic, self-made food to fuel your body. It has that lovely California kind of feel.
If you book a class at BeCycle, you get the full package. This means, shoes, towels, showers (including shampoo and body wash), and water (specially filtered water, bringing it to spring water quality). So basically you can show up just with your gym or cycling clothes – perfect if your life is in a rush.
The booking itself is done at their website. You choose a class from the schedule, pick your seat and pay. Very easy (I like processes being easy). In case your plans changed, you can cancel without penalty 24 hours before the class starts. But be on time – if you’re late, you’ll be considered “no show” and must to pay.
Ready to rumble
I was on time. My lesson was with Elle. The course was nearly fully booked. About 16 girls shared the space with 4 guys, ready to sweat. I put my water bottle on the holder, towel ready and started my Garmin vivoactive HR. Let’s get ready to rumble. After a short introduction to the trainer bike, you remember two simple basics: the display in front of you shows your cadence and watts. The lever right underneath your handlebar adjusts the drag. There are three settings (left, middle, right). Left means nice and easy, right means hard and hilly. A knob let’s you fine adjust the drag. Pull it full up, put the knob to the right and Mount Ventoux feels like Kindergarden against this.
Welcome to the club
If the welcome area was sunny L.A., this was Clubbing in Las Vegas. I mean this literally. The light system dips the room into dark blue and violett light, the sound system pumps beats into your body and the “DJ” asks “are you ready?”. Just except, you’re not there for dancing, the drinks don’t cost 20 bucks (beer, not cocktails my friend) and you don’t run into Busta Rhymes or Neyo (yet). During the session Elle asks you to go for certain cadence targets and drag. 130rpm for fast paces and drag on easy, 65 to 75 for hard drag and standing out of the saddle. It was highly motivative. Elle was totally pro on syncing music and workout. It pushes you to the max, if she countdowns to go for 130rpm and the music kicks in right at the moment. If you get this on tape while riding in southern France, you’ll beat 48:59 at Ventoux for sure. The music was present and pumping, but I never had the feeling, that it would be too loud. The sound system seems to be really solid, you can hear that. Just in case you can get Oropax at the reception desk if you’re sensible to loud music. Luckily the whole session was held in English. I don’t think that motivational approach would work in German (“Los Kinder, Ihr könnt das. Noch einen mehr.”). And it would destroy my “cycling in a Las Vegas club” feeling at all. So, thanks BeCycle, keep it English!
After feeling like in the last third of Velothon 120 I had a look at the timer (also on the display) and it showed 18:42 min. That’s the first time I looked on the timer. FFS, just a bit more than a quarter? 25 minutes to go? I’ll be dying! In that moment I heard the voice saying “go for 130, c’mon!”. So ok, shut up legs. Let’s go. Hell, I was sweating. I need another towel… I need to talk to the ladies at reception desk next time… . Wait, which next time?… “put it to right and find your 75. c’mon!“…
The following 25 minutes were followed by sprints and hills interchanging, leading to a cooldown phase, where you do basic torso strength training while riding easy. The barbells were attached right behind your seatpost so you could access from during riding. Some stretching at the end, session finished, one water bottle drained.
rpm. bpm. hf.
I had my Garmin chest heartrate sensor on, so I could I got some more exact self measurements, than with the wristband. As you can see on my Garmin activity, during the ride I was nearly constantly at 180bpm. Take 210bpm as my personal max heartrate, this means, I was kicking 40 minutes on 85% or heartrate zone 4 (depending which formula you use). It says about 570 calories were burned, but it was for sure more, given the fact, that there was no cadence and power recorded. During a chat after the session BeCycle mentioned, that they’ll get a future update, where you can get the data from the bikes after the session so you can monitor you workout more precisely.
The showers continue the premium approach. Nice details, rainshowers, shampoo and body wash, hairdryers and even q-tips. The lockers use a 4 digit code you can choose yourself (important: set the code, before you close it). Just one thing: there is no mirror (yet?)
Beside the cycling part (which they call “ride room”) you can also do Yoga classes there. They’re held in their spacey and separate “refine room”. Due I’m not a Yoga guy, I can’t tell anything about this. Just these photos:
I really enjoyed my session at BeCycle Berlin. It was highly motivative. I don’t think I would kick it that hard at home in front of my TV watching cycling-along-the-coast videos on YouTube, while thinking, why I don’t get into a plane to do this there, instead of sitting in my flat. If you’re looking for pulse pumping 60 minutes of high intensity workout, go for it.
Next time? For sure. I must agree cyclonica, with sun an 25°C, I would prefer to do e-bike races at Schäferberg or fly down the Havelradweg to Brandenburg. But winter is coming. And for sure, you’ll find me around here, for some cycle clubbing Vegas style.