WF’s Samera Kamaleddine takes a trip with the new Les Mills indoor cycling class.

“Warning: Some riders may experience altered spatial awareness”. That’s the message projected up on the cinema-sized screen as I strap into my bike. Freaking out? I should be, but instead I’m intrigued. I love a workout that’s full of surprises. Something you’ve never done before; something completely foreign with a bunch of unexpected twists. I get bored (easily). But the word ‘boring’ doesn’t even enter my vocab while I’m in the saddle trying out the new creation from Les Mills (the company behind the famous Bodypump and RPM classes)…

The Trip is… well, just that: a total trip. Mixing virtual reality with cycling, Les Mills is dubbing this immersive cycle class “exertainment” because the entertainment factor is as up there as the fitness factor is. Here’s the how: that aforementioned screen serves a purpose bigger than just projecting a safety disclaimer; it’s about to take me to new worlds.

I half expected a scenic ride alongside virtual oceans and down dirt trails, as that’s what I’ve previously experienced with the virtual cycling classes that already exist. This ride, however, was a little more trippy than that.

“Les Mills Junior, the creative director, really wanted to create an environment where you can explore many different worlds,” explains Marina Nola, business manager for immersive fitness, Les Mills. “Each release has a different look and feel, and there’s definitely a storyline and a narrative to each one. The idea is to create an engaging experience for the participants.”

While the latest release has riders cycling through rabbit holes to other worlds (fun!), I took a ride today through a space age city – one that I got weirdly engulfed by. I was reacting to what was on the screen, leaning into corners and ducking under bridges, although perfectly aware that my bike was stationery and the graphics were just that: not real! I was on a rollercoaster ride. I was dizzy. And I was working out hard without even realising it.

I’ll admit it, my legs and I gave up on spin a long time ago. But the adventurer in me feels that maybe, just maybe, this could spur my comeback. And according to Nola, this class is bringing more people into the studio who aren’t normally interested in cycling, “because it’s digital and a bit futuristic. It’s meant to not feel like a cycling class. It’s called The Trip for a reason.”

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