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Welcome to The Pack

Prepare to experience our exhilarating new cycle concept “The Pack”, launching in May across selected clubs. 

29 April 2016
By: Andy Birch
In: Articles

"Group cycle classes only ever felt ‘group’ in name. Whilst it’s great that people want to come along and sweat it out to some music, we had to do something to bring that group element to life. The Pack puts the studio into three teams, gamifying the whole cycle component, with innovative lighting dividing the studio into three sections (pink, blue, yellow). Riding the very latest fully connected IC7 bikes, teams compete to win and travel the furthest distance in the class, tackling many high-intensity challenges along the way. Data from each team is displayed on the big screen in order to motivate the class and allow the riders to track their progress. Individuals can monitor their own progress on personal consoles displayed at the front of the bike. We want you to be the fastest and most motivated indoor cyclist that you can be. Working in a team to take on a series of challenges makes for a highly intense, immensely enjoyable cycle experience. Sure you can still hide at the back, but would you want to when the rest of your team is depending on you to give it your all? We think you’ll find our combination of innovative tech and fully integrated studios with spectacular light and sound to be a winning one" Andy Caddy (Group Chief Information Officer)

As cycling continues to grow in popularity in the aftermath of the London Olympics, our members are poised to get access to the best indoor cycling experience on the planet!

Week in, week out people flock in their thousands to their local indoor cycling class to get their sweat on, burn some calories and build their cardio-vascular fitness and endurance. But never before will they have experienced such an immersive, stimulating and challenging ride! From the 3rd May onwards, members in the London area can experience a ride like no other at one of 8 clubs launching this brand new and exclusive cycling experience.

“The Pack” was born out of a realisation that there is no “I” in team. Indoor cycling classes the world over have many variations, but the one common denominator across all types is that the group is only a group in name alone. Classes are typically focused on driving individuals through 45 minutes of varying terrains set to great music. “The Pack” is the result of in depth research and development based around what members and instructors fed back to us on their cycle experience. It is an evolution of Virgin Active’s indoor group cycle experience and programming, and introduces a number of world firsts.

Riders experience a fully ‘connected’ and competitive team-based experience, powered by the latest sophisticated technology. Instructors use a bespoke programming software platform and app to create Pack classes and add their own choice of music. It’s all based on real cycling profiles, staying true to what you would expect to experience on an outdoor bike. Working with leading indoor cycle manufacturers ICG (Indoor Cycling Group), we’ve created the world’s first connected IC6 and IC7 bike studios. This means that all the bikes are linked to software systems that allow us to collect team performance data to display on the big screen in the studio and drive the experience.

Participants are guided through bike setup on the big screen in the studio, with our expert Pack leaders on hand to help and advise. Everything is designed to feel fully inclusive so all members can feel comfortable joining in, whether they’re a first-timer or a seasoned cyclist. Interactive lighting sequences set the mood throughout, creating highs and lows, and taking riders on a rollercoaster of energy.

We level the playing field for our riders by calculating how hard they’re working relative to their weight. Clever algorithms in the bikes’ console determine each rider’s FTP (or Functional Threshold Power), ensuring a handicap system is applied. Smaller teams with less experienced riders can therefore rest assured that they are not at a disadvantage.

Participants are divided into 3 teams. They’ll compete to hammer out the greatest distance between them and win the class. Along the way, riders will experience a series of Pack challenges and goal sections. Four initial challenges will be launched from the outset, with more to follow:

Hold the Line challenges each team to achieve set RPM’s (revolutions per minute) in order to keep their team icon on the line and score points.

Sumo gets the teams competing to generate the highest average power (Watts) relative to their bodyweight in order to create the biggest bubble on screen.

Speed Freaks is an all-out track race where holding the highest speed is the name of the game.

Big Burnout pushes each team to power their way through a series of roadblocks to beat their team to the top.

The expert Pack leader conducts the show. They’re the DJ spinning your tunes and the instructor coaching and motivating you through the class. Team data from each challenge is displayed at the front of the class on a huge LED video screen. It’ll also display some basic coaching information to help riders understand the RPM range they should be cycling at. This can be used as a reference to help understand your own individual data, displayed on your personal console. It also details the effort level you should aim for, how much time you’ve got left overall and during each section, and even the name of the song that’s playing! Every challenge must have a winner, with the team going the furthest distance being crowned overall winners at the end of the class.

“The Pack” is a completely new type of indoor cycling class that is inclusive, sophisticated, social, clever, energising, challenging, and most of all fun. We can’t wait to see you in the studio. 


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