Health: Spinning your way to all-round bike fitness

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You may think of it as just indoor cycling but to the initiated spinning is far more than that.

In it’s most basic form, a spinning class involves a single instructor at the front of the gym who guides those taking part through a routine designed to simulate an outdoor cycle ride.

Depending on the level of fitness and motivation of the participants (and the instructor) it can include hill climbs, sprints and interval training.

However, the newly opened BPM Bike Lab in Leeds adds another dimension.

Set up by husband and wife team Jon and Jen Robinson, who have recently returned from running a spinning gym in China, it is equipped with some of the most advanced bikes on the market.

Jon says: “In essence, the lab is getting in early on how spinning is going to be in the future - with loads of technology.

“Virtual training allows you to cycle any route in the world following Google maps and every incline and decline is mapped exactly.

“So you might choose to do the famous Tour de France climbs or Hawaiian triathlon routes or just explore your own neighbourhood.

“The actual bike (CycleOps Phantom 5) rides like a real road bike, using the same tech that Team Sky use and is extremely accurate so you can read power, calories, heart rate, speed, cadence etc.

“This information can be paired up to whichever app you want to sync to. You can race virtual partners or just set your own pace.

“We’ve found that it either pushes you to train harder, if you’re so inclined, or makes training more interesting”

As well as the CycleOps Phantom 5 bikes, BPM has a selection of Wattbikes.

Jon says: These are generally considered to be the best you can get and are what the top riders use to perform tests and also for training.

“Although there are numerous tests you can do, probably the most widely used these days is the Functional Threshold Power test (FTP), but these can be can be used for a variety of others.”

Bike Lab is just one of four facets of John and Jen’s business, the others being Physio Lab, Zen Lab and Slim Lab.

Jon is a qualified sports scientist and can help with muscle-related pain, neck pain.

He intends to hold seminars on health and nutrition and call upon the expertise of psychologists to give presentations on all aspects of well-being.

Spinback Fitness, the Robinsons’ other gym in China was set up three years ago and recently won the TimeOut Shanghai, China gym of the year.

The couple met in Shanghai five years ago and decided to return to the UK when Jen discovered she was expecting their first child.

“Although we’re not from Leeds, we’ve always loved the city and decided it was the perfect place to come and live and to set up our business,” says Jon.


BPM Bike Lab: Under Leeds railway station, Arch 4, Sovereign Place, off Neville St, Leeds, LS1 4SP

07872 940 500

Cost per session is £8 but pre-paying for multiple classes can bring the cost down quite significantly.

Classes last 50 minutes although lunchtime classes are shorter with 35 and 40-minute classes offered.

Classes throughout the day with more being added - see the website.