Music & programming, Rockstar instructors
What’s your cycling background?
I was a professional cyclist when I was younger, in the German national youth team from the age of 16, competing on the road, in the velodrome, on mountain bikes.
I also embraced indoor cycling, starting out as a participant in 2011 before becoming an instructor in 2017. Then something happened that made indoor cycling even more important to me. In 2018, I had a serious bike accident outdoors, breaking my arms and my knee and only surviving because I was wearing a helmet. I lost the confidence to cycle outside.
Indoor cycling became my go-to workout. It’s the time when I switch off and forget about the world. There’s nothing I enjoy more, and it really doesn’t take much effort to get on the bike once you have one at home. I aim to share that passion with everyone who cycles with me.
“Even if you’ve never done indoor cycling, don’t ever worry that you won’t be good enough to do my classes”
At the moment I’m not teaching live, in-person classes – we moved house recently and there aren’t any cycling studios nearby – but I’d like to in the future. For now, alongside my main job as a teacher, I pour my passion into Cycling Sophie – my online platform.
What inspired Cycling Sophie?
In the pandemic, people who had previously done my live, in-club classes were writing to me and asking for help in staying active during lockdown.
We, my business partner Jan and I, looked at the existing online cycling content and didn’t find anything that inspired us. We had a vision of free-to-use indoor cycling workouts that would cater for all different levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced – with workouts ranging from 15 to 90 minutes, and where my passion would really come across.
“Indoor cycling is my go-to workout. There’s nothing I enjoy more, and I aim to share that passion with everyone who cycles with me.”
We uploaded our first piece of content to YouTube in January 2021, with a goal of changing how people feel about indoor cycling. Certainly in Germany, it’s always been seen as a tough workout where the room is full of men in lycra. I wanted to change that and spread my love of indoor cycling to new and younger audiences.
What do you offer?
We offer rhythm and performance-based cycling, but music is key to every class so it never feels like a chore. Once I’ve decided what I want to achieve with each class, who my participants will be, what they need and what techniques will support them, I move straight on to music. I always have a good mix of genres – hip hop, rock, Latin, K-Pop and so on – as well as different beats and cadences.
We also train using Myzone heart rate zones in every class, so it really is just about you and your body. Even if you’ve never done indoor cycling before, you don’t ever need to worry that you won’t be good enough to do my classes.
We upload two new workouts a month to YouTube, mostly in German. Although we started out producing English language content for a global audience, now only one class in every four is in English. That’s one of our biggest USPs: our production quality stands out, as does the quality of the workouts, but it was when we started focusing on German language content that our YouTube user numbers soared. There just wasn’t anyone else doing this for indoor cycling in Germany, and the demand was high.
All our content is currently free, although you can support us financially if you’d like to.
You’ve partnered with Wexer…
Core Health & Fitness got in touch to say they were interested in working with me. Core owns Schwinn, but it also owns digital fitness brand Wexer, and I’m delighted to say that Cycling Sophie is now live on Wexer Virtual – the in-club system – and Wexer Mobile.
It’s really exciting, because it gives us a chance to reach people who cycle in clubs and who might not have come across Cycling Sophie yet. We’ve started with 30 workouts on the Wexer platform and will regularly add new content.
What are you most proud of?
Cycling Sophie is about to reach 1 million YouTube clicks and we have around 11,000 subscribers to our channel – men and women from Germany but also around the world, from the UK to the US, Australia to Russia to Mexico. We also have 2,300+ followers on Instagram. I’m hugely proud of how many people we’ve reached already.
“Focusing on German language content made our user numbers soar. There wasn’t anyone else doing this for indoor cycling.”
I’m also proud of how many lives we’ve changed. I get messages on a daily basis – and I try to reply to them all – thanking me for providing such good content for free. It’s what inspires me and the team to keep going.
We’ll continue to offer free content, so everyone has a chance to access indoor cycling and feel the passion I feel for this beautiful sport.
What next for Cycling Sophie?
We’ve just moved up to a new level with YouTube, so we can now also offer a paid-for membership. We’re aiming to launch this by the end of this year or early next, and it will unlock another two pieces of content each month. There may even be different levels of membership if you also want tutorials, nutritional advice and so on, and potentially resistance workouts too.
Because I believe that’s key to the future of indoor cycling: we need to focus on fusion workouts, combining indoor cycling with resistance training. You simply won’t get results through cardiovascular workouts alone.
We also need to support people in adopting a more rounded approach to health generally. I have a Masters in PE and English philology and I want to draw on all of this, as well as my own experience as a cyclist, to communicate – in a way that’s really easy to understand – how you can combine nutrition and different exercise disciplines.
“Cycling Sophie is now live on Wexer – a chance to reach people who cycle in clubs, who might not have come across us yet”
Longer term, I also dream of having my own indoor cycling studio, but for now I’ll focus on channelling my passion and expertise to the people on the other side of the camera – whether they’re at home or using my content in the gym – to bring them the positive energy of indoor cycling.
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