What is immersive indoor cycling?
'Immersive' fitness is becoming more of a thing. Most people are familiar with the traditional studio setup where there is a group of bikes in a studio space and riders follow directions from an instructor. The immersive element is the addition of more tech.
Some studios now have large screens which may feature CGI rides or cinematic rides and the class follows along - often with an instructor as well, but not always. Much progress has been made to make indoor cycling more effective and so modern studio bikes tend to be better equipped and have metrics such as heartrate and power on them, and by using a heartrate strap you can track the intensity of your ride.
Both the imagery and added metrics contribute to the indoor cycling experience being even more fun, and for the gyms themselves, they're able to cut instructor costs (once they've got their software installed) as not all programmes will need a physical instructor - expect this trend to increase, particularly with the increase in popularity of 24-hour gyms.
During an immersive class, you may increase (or decrease) the intensity by adding or removing resistance on your bike at particular points in order to match targets on screen. Not as scary as it sounds though because everyone is different; if you're going by heartrate, you'll be looking at a percentage of your max heartrate, and so you 80% will feel roughly the same to you as someone else's 80% feels to them. The same can be done with power by using a calculation known as 'functional threshold power'. Heartrate is still more common in modern studios though.
Some indoor cycling is more 'ride' based and some is more 'workout' based. For example, Globeracer has a beautiful cinematic quality, Zwift is something that's available at home, but offers more of a computer game type quality. On the other side of the spectrum, Intelligent Cycling offers a well-designed display for your workout and this has a commercial version for multiple riders in a studio as well as a free app for riding at home.
Immersive indoor cycling is just another stage in the evolution of this great activity - making it more fun, but also enabling riders to measure their results and therefore stay motivated far more easily. Not a confident rider? There's also the added benefit of having a strong focal point so you really can hide!