My coaching of indoor cycling classes started in 1997/98. The first place I worked at was AFC Sportz in Boston. Every health-club at the time had a tape and cd player. It wasn’t easy to burn cds at the time, so most group exercise instructors and coaches made mixed tapes. You put the little finger in the tape reel, turn, and cue it up. Then you put it in the dual deck recorder and push “pause/Record.” You had to make sure the music source was cued right, and you were ready to start making a mix.

Too many tapes got worn out, gnarly, or crushed.  It was very sad when one died because you had to re-record the entire thing.

First listen, I wasn’t big on R.E.M. However, I was on the fence with U2 when I heard Boy and Joshua Tree. Funny how taste can change.
Some mini-disc with cheat sheets on side.
Homemade DJ slip mat.
Cueing Up


Getting in the Groove

I started bringing two portable cd players into class with a small Behringer mixer. This way I could fade one cd track into the next. This allowed for seamless song changes and kept listeners channeled from track to track; “Don’t stop sweating!”

I could change cds according to the class and the kind of energy I was getting back, which was great. I wasn’t musically locked anymore like I was using a cassette tape. However, cds scratched too easily when transported 40+ times a week. Not to mention easily stolen when you accidentally left them at the club.

I started getting more and more into house and electronic music. I quickly discovered that some of the best tracks could only be purchased on vinyl. A lot of a great copyright infringed vinyl had to be bought overseas. Leave it to the UK! A friend of mine had two turntables. I got some vinyl and was instantly hooked on beat matching and spinning, real “spinning!”

There is nothing like touching the music and making your own slip mats for your decks. What else am I going to do with a t-shirt I never wore? (see pic to left)

Birth of a DJ

Track Changes
This was a clutch period for me musically. I switched back from a PC to a Mac. I don’t even remember why I went away from using a Mac in college. Regardless, the Mac is back and it rocks. 

iTunes was happening and MP3’s took over. I started coaching all my classes off of the computer to keep tracks overlapping and seamless. I spun using iTunes but dabbled with other software programs for music production and mixing purposes. 

Then I finally found the right software and “BAM” the connection was made. If I wanted to stay digital and dj a class live I simply had to use a side midi-mixer hooked up to the computer software and it was great mixing. Pretty straight forward and very fun.
Cued up...

In my quest of listening to great DJ’s and their music I used to spend some time in smoky dance clubs. The smell of smoke vanished, with the ban on public smoking, and a perfect place to have an indoor cycling class was now a possibility, Avalon of Boston!

With the stage set, lights flashing, music pumping, and 100+ cyclists per class, aRide 2006 was born.  For those hours Avalon became a place where fitness enthusiasts could have a musically driving/inspiring atmosphere and a great workout. aRide ’06 was a great fundraising event that completely changed how I viewed group fitness and its future.  

The first domino was pushed with aRide, and I can’t wait to see where it goes! The future of spinning, health-clubs, adventure sports ... is gonna rock!

A Mixer.
Nicest Mac yet.

The History of Training Mixes