How to drive new business with local news coverage of your gym.

Hosting a charitable event for an important cause makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It also helps the bottom line at your fitness facility.

  1. Charitable events connect members socially and increase retention.
  2. Charitable events encourage members to recruit friends to help support the cause.
  3. Charitable events are a good reason for a featured story in the local news.

The fight against ALS is an important cause within the fitness industry. Augie’s Quest has done incredible work that has lead to major breakthroughs in treatment of the disease. ACAC in Charlottesville received some great local news coverage for riding in an Expresso challenge to support Augie’s Quest.


The ALS challenge was open to a handful of clubs with a tradition of supporting Augie’s Quest. In the past, the Expresso community has supported the Boys and Girls Club, the Alzheimer’s Association, Livestrong and many more important causes. In September we will be riding to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society in the third annual Pedal to End Cancer.

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For 100 years, The American Cancer Society has been leading the fight to end cancer. With your support, we can help usher in an era where more people survive cancer than ever before. Join us to help finish the fight. And don’t forget to tell your local TV stations about it!

How to use Expresso to train

We asked our Team Captains how they train for races, rides and life on the Expresso Bike. Here is what they had to say.

1. Chad Katter, Equinox Sports Club New York, “Become skilled at using different gear/cadence combinations. Try riding the same route at the same effort level in different gears. For example, ride Fruitdale once mostly in gear 10. Then ride Fruitdale again mostly in gear 15. Try to maintain the same average watts for both rides. Your cadence will need to be higher when riding in the lower gear. Using a higher gear requires more strength and will burn carbohydrates at a faster rate. Using a lower gear requires more aerobic capacity and will probably require a higher heart rate at cadences above 80-85 rpm.

  • For my training, I first do a tour that takes me close to an hour to finish to establish my baseline. For me, that is Savage Revenge, but for slower riders it may be another Extreme tour.
  • I then follow the advice given in Joe Friel’s “The Power Training Handbook: A User’s Guide for Cyclists and Triathletes” to establish 7 power training zones.
  • Finally, I try to ride close to a certain percentage of the time in each of these zones to focus on improving many of the skills required to race effectively. The percentages are also detailed in this book and will vary according which races have the highest priority.
  • I find that training in power zones is generally more effective than training in heart rate zones. However, understanding heart rate data is important to avoid overtraining.”

2. Bonnie Wilson, West Coast Fitness,Use the Chase games to break up your high interval time. When I really want to work on HIIT Training I will take one of the smaller traiditional rides as hard as I can handle, and then to give myself some active recovery, I will do a Chase in speed mode. It allows me to make it more an active recovery. I still go hard, but the speed allows me a chance to recover.

3. Michael Lewis, Gold’s Gym – Colonial Heights, “I check the elevation, RPMs and what gear I am in the most. Downhill I use the highest gear that I can use with comfort. Uphill I use the lower gears like 3 or 4. I like to ride every other day if possible. If I ride consecutive days, I try to ride an easier trail if I rode a hard trail the day before. And the reverse is true as well, for rides on consecutive days. To train to ride a 100-mile bike race outside, I would try riding a longer trail one day a week or several short trails on the same day one day a week the first week.”

4. Andrew Hall, Hobart Aquatic Centre, “I use gears between 16 and 22 to go uphill and 30 plus downhill.”

5. Caleb Cohen, YMCA – Scotch Plains, “I am just an average cyclist, love getting out, but won’t kill myself to do so… That said, this winter was the first I ever ‘trained’ at he gym during the off-season. I work up one heck of a sweat on the Expresso bikes, much more than on a real bike, but there is no wind in my face, so. I’ve finally been able to get out on the roads this past month. I am cycling at the beginning of the season better than I ever did at the end in previous years. My goal was never to use the Expresso to “train” but just for exercise. The end result is I feel much stronger on the roads, especially the hills and pushing myself on the flats (no gliding on the Expresso has taught me to always pedal hard, never relax). I’m sure my Expresso riding over the next few months will be much less, but it truly has helped my real-life riding.”

6. Cindy Schnee, YMCA – Calgary – Eau Claire, “…

  • tip #1 Every 3 weeks I do a Functional Threshold pace test to determine my zones for heart rate (I use my own hr monitor, not that on the bike) and power. The test is 30 min, so I do Fruitdale x2, my hubby does Coastal Run x3, etc… We then use this to determine how hard we should be riding on subsequent rides and to determine if we are improving.
  • tip #2 I like doing hill repeats on Temple Ridge. I can do 8 min or 12 min repeats and then recover on the 4 min flat part from the beginning to the other side of the bridge. I just hit leave route and start over again, trying to reach tthe required power and hr zones eac time.
  • tip#3 Bricks (bike to run, one right after the other) are easy to do in the winter; I just head upstairs at my YMCA to run on the track, since it’s too cold here to run outside. In the summer, I head outside!
  • tip#4 Intervals – pick a route that takes you your interval time to complete, not too hilly! Repeat, keeping in required hr and power zones.
  • tip #5 Pyramid intervals – From shortest to longest routes or vise versa, all out! I like Bent Spoke, Fruitdale, Rabbit Run, Evening Bliss, etc…Do an easy short one like Rolling Thunder, Redwood Dash, Expresso Speedway in between for recovery.
  • tip #6 I play around with my Ghost A LOT. At the beginning of the indoor riding season (October or November for me), I put my Ghost at the slowest time. I move it up as I improve.”

7. Scott Jordan, Liv Avenida, “I had to look up HIIT training and I have two degrees in this exercise stuff. HIIT training is “High Intensity Intervial Training”–a period of high instensity (HI) exercise followed by a recovery period of rest or low intensity exercise. More of an advanced training technique for both trainer and trainee, this kind of training will help racers with both speed and power. On an Expresso bike, you might use Expresso Speedway for such work. I’ve done my most serious sprints on this course as I am sure many others have. The track is mostly level and the 1/4 mile markings on the track would help with pacing and HI/LI intervals better than any other course. Plus, all Expresso stats will be kept and not just miles and calories if you would to do interval training outside of an Expresso course–like while watching TV. Search “interval training for bicycle” on the Web and you’ll find a wealth of info on interval training benefits, considerations, and modalites. On heart rates: As you all know, Expresso bikes provide real time heart rate feedback during a ride. And, captures and displays heart rate data for each ride, as well as graphs watts per heart beat as a measure of fitness over time. I use this data to get an idea of what my exercise heart rate should be for given workload. For myself and other riders, I also compare heart rates to general exercise heart rate guidelines for age and intensity–to get an initial idea if I or a rider is working too hard, too easy or just right. I also look for trends that indicate if I or a rider is getting in better shape or not. Heart rates should go down for the same amount of watts over time. You can do a run-to-run comparison as well as use the watts per heart beat graph to do this analysis. In this way, heart rate zones take shape and change according to the rider’s level of fitness. And huge kudos to Interactive Fitness for making this all possible for thousands and thousands around the globe!…”

Be a leader. Become an Expresso Team Captain. Train Now.

Pedal for Patriots

Christian Fitzgerald, from Atlanta, Georgia is inventor of the Orion convection cooker. He specializes in smoked and steamed meats like turkey and ribs and reduced the cook time with his design. He spends his days running his business and residing with his wife and two daughters. On October 24th, 2013, he plans to ride from Atlanta to coast-central Florida in six days.

In February of this year, Christian went on a business trip to Los Angeles. He extended his trip so he and his wife could visit a friend in San Diego while in Southern California. His friend [remains nameless due to privacy policies] serves in the Naval force and took them on a tour around the base in Coronado Island. They visited a room that had pictures covering a far wall of all the Navy SEALs whose lives have been lost since the beginning of the War on Terror. “It just struck me how there are these warriors putting themselves in harm’s way 24/7 so that we can sleep at night knowing that our country is safe,” he says on his website. “I decided that day that I would do what I could to give back to sailors and their families.”

Christian devised a plan to raise $25,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Rob Howells, Christian’s “bike sensei” and life-long friend, encouraged him to bike for the cause. He mapped out a 580-mile route of mostly flat land, crossing the border of Florida onto Highway 1A1. In hopes of a breeze off the Atlantic Ocean to his left, he’ll pedal all the way to his destination: the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce. He looks forward to the solace of the road, having never driven this avenue or walked reenactment battle grounds at the museum.

Christian's 580-mile route to the Navy SEAL museum in Ft. Pierce, FL.
Christian’s 580-mile route to the Navy SEAL museum in Ft. Pierce, FL.

After two years as a member at the Metro Atlanta YMCA, visiting only for a relaxing sweat in the steam room, Christian prepared to start a rigorous training schedule. On March 5th, he tried Fruitdale, the 4.42-mile route on flat virtual terrain on the Expresso bike. “I can’t afford [biking outside] every day of the week to go out so I’ve got to find an alternative,” he explains. “I found the Expresso bike and completely fell in love with it.”

Christian began a carefully scheduled routine: get as many miles as possible before launch day. On weekends if the weather permits, he’ll bike outside from morning until 5:45 p.m. and reach 120 miles a day on the paved Silver Comet Trail through dense trees, over bridges and farmland all the way to the Alabama border then return home. During the rest of the week, he bikes 50 miles a day on Expresso. He chooses routes like Ascension, a virtual galactic 18.2-mile climb to it’s peak at 1788 ft. He aims for 25 miles in the morning and 25 miles after work in the evening. “When I’m talking to my friends about it, I don’t call it a stationary bike,” he explains. “I just call it ‘the trainer’.”

Christian will not be pedaling alone on his expedition. Ken Guillory, a retired Army vet and friend, will be his following in a car as his support with water, food, innertubes and an extra bike. They’ve spent the last six months pouring over maps and finalizing the details. Ken is completely capable of fixing any bike mishaps, is what Christian calls “more than proactive”, and will also be driving along for mental support. Christian describes his friend’s reinforcement, “He told me, ‘Christian, I’ll be doing everything to make sure the ride is successful.’”

With the many hours that Christian spends in the Expresso virtual tours and outside on trails, he still makes time to spend with his two young daughters and wife. His goal is to reach the Navy SEAL museum by October 29th to be able to fly home in time to see his kids trick-or-treat. “I have a goal of finishing this ride, but my responsibility as a husband and father is first and foremost,” he says. “The Expresso allows me to do just that; I can ride ride while they’ll sleep early in the morning and ride after work and still have time to kick the soccer ball around with them.”


Christian enjoys tours on Expresso like Raven’s Roost and Ascension for the constant climb and strain on the legs. He explains the training he receives from it differs from biking outdoors because there’s no opportunity to coast. The rigorous routes command continuous leg motion. “I honestly like the elevation,” he says. “1700 feet in elevation and a ton of cardio. It’s a better workout because you’re constantly working your legs.”

To raise the money, he’s reached out to his local newspapers but with no luck yet. He mostly shares his hopes by word-of-mouth, his Facebook page, and website. Christian hopes to make it an annual event and looks forward to his first 100-mile-a-day trek at the end of October. “It’s going to be done. I’ve already made up my mind,” he says.

You can read more about his journey, track his progress, and donate on Christian’s website at: Or on his Facebook page