EVERYONE SAYS “CYCLING IS MASSIVE”. WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THIS TREND TO GROW YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
YOU HAVE MEMBERS WHO ARE OUTDOOR CYCLIST WHO HAVEN'T TRIED INDOOR CYCLING... YET.
Do you know how many of your current members are cyclists or ride with local cycling clubs? Try to understand what percentage of your membership base are recreational cyclists, or may be getting ready for a race. Don’t forget, the general outdoor cyclist does not look like Chris Froome so don’t expect to spot a cyclist easily every time. Every facility is different so gauging an idea of what proportion of members are already out on bikes might need to be done in different ways depending on what back-end system you have. Still struggling? Drive an activity shouting out for those who want to come forward and identify themselves as a cyclist/competitor/part of a local club and use that to identify your group.
Once you have a number, try to establish roughly how many are already attending indoor cycling classes with you regularly and/or elsewhere (including at home on a Kickr or Computrainer). It’s not uncommon for outdoor cyclists to visit a gym for general gym use, the pool and the odd yoga class, but not always for its  indoor cycling offering. Which is odd, right? They’re cyclists. Now you can showcase your ability to deliver an effective, structured, indoor cycling session direct to your new group.
KEEP YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN
Once you've taken a look at who is part of your existing community try to find out who else is around you in your local community. Who is a member of a cycling club, but not yet part or your community at all right now? And since us cyclists stick together, who else do those people know? You can check out British Cycling’s online Club finder and find out the nearest clubs to you for free to get started.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
Frequently timetables can be a little one-size-fits-all. Normally, that puts cyclists off, as they typically have specific targets or search out cycling credibility. Not everyone is super focused like that of course - that’s not the majority. So if we’re looking to cater for all types of riders, this can present a bit of a challenge. We also know that most outdoor cyclists are going to want miles on their legs, and less rhythm in their ride too. Might some be turned off by a 45-minute class..? Not necessarily; it depends on the class. If you're doing heavy intervals, 45 minutes is more than enough. It’s only when you're trying to build on endurance that you'll need to do longer rides.
If you’re open to the idea of it, you can mix up your schedule to account for all of this and make your indoor cycling studio work for outdoor cyclists too and it need not affect your existing popular class times at all. Chances are, you will be able to get the outdoor group to come and ride at alternate times as well. Traditionally, outdoor riders are super committed, so you won't have to schedule a class for them at bang on 6.00pm. If you're offering the right equipment and coaches - who doesn't have to be a British Cycling triathlete to make this work - and deliver the right program in an inspiring / confident way, they’ll be there after 7pm or up with the birds.
If you can design a class with a goal, that takes your riders somewhere and explain that doing this today, will mean something specific later, these riders will be interested in your studio because it’s credible.
True or false?: “The problem is, they’re going to want specific coaching and my instructor team isn't ready/can’t answer all the questions they're going to face.” False. Do not fear. If you're offering good equipment, the programming makes sense and your coaches are motivating, then the coaches don’t have to be mega cycling geeks too.
And in any case, we all know to use: “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I can find out for you.” Same rules apply. Dayum, most often, these riders know where to find these answers out for themselves.
Got a question you can’t answer? Ask TEAM STAGES.
THEY CAN TRY BEFORE THEY BUY
Here's a great opener for you: “Have you started training with power yet? Do you want to test it out with us?”
Many cyclists have heard about power meters but not all have gotten on the wagon yet. Historically for outdoor riders, training with power was not always this affordable - a power meter was a fairly big financial commitment. Despite being much less expensive now and with research and comparison sites readily available, there’s still a risk-reward factor when it comes to sticking one in the shopping basket online.
Be the solution. Invite these riders to try training with power first with you, as part of their research - there’s much less commitment in that.
Promote an FTP test: “Come and find out how power works. Next Tuesday’s training session, we’re going to coach with power and we're going to do an FTP test.” Outdoor riders will pay to take part because: 1. They may not own the technology themselves and this gives them an opportunity to use yours to trial the ride data 2. They may not yet know how to follow the protocol and will be interested to learn how to get started 3. Who wants to go in to the dark black cave that is an FTP test on their own? Not us. Doing an FTP test as a group is way more enjoyable; the coach, the team inspiration… it’s way too easy to surrender when you’re doing that thing solo.
When you’ve ran an event like this once, schedule retests. Invite all your riders back every six weeks, minimum.
You might package this up for non-members with an interest in cycling and provide them with the opportunity to sign up for more with you after the six weeks is through.
Word will spread and before you know it, Dave who’s become a regular in your weekly Thursday morning climbing rides, will be bringing Anna with him. Then Andrew, then… You’re developing a committed group.
Start a regular race night on a Tuesday or Wednesday for visiting cycling clubs. If you have Stages Flight, brilliant, you can host any race from around the world live on screen and the group can test their results over time; both of you will prove that you're pretty serious about indoor cycling and that it can definitely help you be a better rider. Plus, the riders get to avoid the wind and the rain too.
You’ll start to see these riders come more regularly. Non-cyclists will start to love these events too because they’re given a real goal and a timeline. We’ve seen members competing for bike spaces to take part in these programs, even in the summer months, when outdoor cyclists are known to ride outside more often.
All of these ideas can be tiny steps. It doesn’t need to be all-in from the start. Once you’ve gotten started though, how do you keep it interesting and keep everyone - since you have a hybrid group riding with you frequently now - entertained and engaged? Refresh the programming, the routes. Create internal Teams, score points and challenge other clubs.
If you have Stages Flight, ask your riders to hit you with their bucket list: a list of all of the places where have they always wanted to go. Get designing rider profiles to Hawaii on Stages Flight and give them a flavour of new experiences. You can always borrow one of ours
Do all of this well, and your riders who only ever rode indoors before will start to ride outdoors as well.