Tag: Uffe A Olesen

Notes from a trade show

For me, a few key themes emerged. The first was notable interest in what I’m going to call body sculpting: not bodybuilding, but a definite quest for muscular definition among men and women alike, with long queues at the body composition stands.

Of course, developing a strong body is a good thing, but I do wonder if this risks becoming an aesthetic trend among the Insta generation. I would hate to see cardio and mobility slip down the priority list for the younger generations, just as holistic wellness moves into the mainstream for other sections of society.

With this in mind, I’m delighted to showcase Gundula Cöllen-Sorger in this edition of RIDE HIGH. The founder of BECYCLE and BEYOND, her rounded approach to fitness not only benefits members’ health but, she says, also saw the business through the pandemic.

Technology was another key theme at FIBO, with tracking and metrics now seemingly possible on almost every piece of kit. This is a topic we’ve given a lot of thought to at BODY BIKE, and I urge you to read our Mobile vs Console feature – a thought-provoking exploration of the future of onboard technology in indoor cycling.

For indoor cycling more generally, it was a story of two halves from FIBO attendees: boom markets characterised by innovation; other markets slowed by a lack of qualified, passionate instructors.

“Innovation is needed within the delivery of indoor cycling, and I’m very excited to see what AI brings to the table”

I certainly came away from the show enthused by delegates’ response to our sustainable vision and Smart+ Forest Green launch, but equally convinced that innovation is needed within the delivery of indoor cycling.

The Les Mills article shares six science-backed reasons why cycling deserves its place on the timetable. Yet for me, the continued relevance of this discipline will rely on there being some kind of fuel injection, and I’m personally very excited to see what AI brings to the table. Computer-generated programmes, animations, landscapes and avatars… all of this is unquestionably on the way, and soon. I’m excited to see what FIBO 2024 brings!

A new era of working out

For the Chinese, the number two is considered harmonious and lucky. The superstitious among us might therefore have hoped for better things in 2022, but in the end, it proved to be another hugely challenging year.

As Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine rumbles on – see our interview with Mariia Brezytska, general manager of Formula Wellness & Spa in Odessa – our continued reliance on fossil fuels leaves us vulnerable, exposed to astronomical price hikes for the electricity, gas and oil we need to power our businesses and our lives. 

Indoor cycling may not be power-consuming; it can even be energy-generating, as we discover in this issue’s must-read supplement, A Global Crisis? But beyond the bikes, ours is an energy-hungry sector. 

So, what do we do? From smart facility management to embracing renewables, our experts share their short- and long-term advice in A Global Crisis? This is compulsory reading for us all.

One thing is for sure: we must not give up. What our sector brings to society – each and every club, gym and studio – is an essential health service. This is just one more crisis we must navigate, and navigate it we will.

In the meantime, I’d like to see us focus on providing fun in a world where there’s currently little fun to be had. After all, this crisis isn’t only affecting businesses. Individuals and families are overwhelmed by their own financial worries, and they are looking for release.

We can provide it. During the pandemic, we spoke to operators who had asked their trainers to recognise the stress everyone was feeling and not push too hard – to focus on making every workout fun and social. Let’s do similar now. Let’s put ourselves out there as places where people can escape and forget their worries for a while. This would be my vision now and, indeed, moving forward. We need to make fitness more fun.

That’s why I’m delighted that BODY BIKE is partnering with House of Workouts, as preferred supplier for its wonderful new SclptCycle programme. Targeting women in particular, SclptCycle is about happiness, and it has all the ingredients to be the next global fitness phenomenon. I hope it heralds a new era of working out for fun – one in which indoor cycling leads the way.

My very best wishes for the festive season and a prosperous 2023.

Uffe A. Olsesen

CEO, BODY BIKE® International

Yellow Fever

As I write this letter, it is the day after the thrilling final leg of the Tour de France 2022. My overriding sentiment: one of sheer awe at the power of teamwork and what can be achieved when individuals come together with a shared dream.

For me, it began with the Danish population. This was the first time the Tour had started in Denmark and, as my good friend Jesper ‘JAS’ Sørensen explains on page 52, “there was a massive focus on making it one big party, with armies of volunteers coming together to make it a success.” Support for the race itself was also huge, with around a third of the Danish population turning out to watch the race go past. And what a race they saw, not only in the three Danish stages but throughout the 21 stages of this epic race – a Tour in which a small, slender boy from the pancake fl at country of Denmark blew past all the experienced mountain climbers to claim not only the polka dot jersey but also overall Tour victory. Watching Jonas Vingegaard arrive in Paris wearing the yellow jersey is something I will never forget. Let’s not forget that only five years ago, he was working at a fish factory in the morning before training in the afternoon. It just goes to show that nothing is impossible if you set a goal, manage your training, develop the mental strength you need to win and have the right team around you. And Vingegaard certainly had that, from the support of his girlfriend and management who worked to steady his famously edgy nerves to the logistics and service personnel who kept his wheels turning smoothly, to his fellow riders in the Jumbo-Visma team who protected him throughout, making personal sacrifices for the greater good of the team and the yellow jersey. Everyone played their role in the final result. And this, for me, is the real lesson: that however strong the individual, teamwork is always stronger – something that’s as true in business as it is in sport. To echo the thoughts of Zack Schares in or fascinating look at the future of indoor cycling education, its on every business leader to set their team up for success and help their stars to shine.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO, BODY BIKE International A/S

A celebration of teamwork

So here we are, in 2022, celebrating 25 years of BODY BIKE: 25 years in which our bikes have fuelled a passion for indoor cycling across more than 35 countries.

The image opposite gives a feel for our evolution over the years, yet our story isn’t limited to our indoor bikes. From becoming a tech company and a magazine publisher to launching a category-defining eCargo bike under new sister brand BBCARGO, the last 25 years have been characterised by boundary-pushing.

They have also been characterised by teamwork, both within BODY BIKE – with a number of us here from the very beginning – and with our fantastic partners around the world.

Teamwork emerges as a theme throughout this edition of RIDE HIGH, too, from the sibling partnership behind CRU, Singapore’s ‘O.G. of indoor cycling’ to the co-founders of UK-based boutique supergroup United Fitness Brands, to the Herculean effort of the Australian team who recently reclaimed the World Record for longest static cycling class.

Reading all their stories, it feels like good news is finally dominating the headlines.

Yet there’s still so much uncertainty in the world, which is why we made the difficult decision not to exhibit at FIBO last month. We always pride ourselves on our show-stopping stands, from New York apartments to spaceship and everything between, and it simply wasn’t feasible to confidently plan something like that this year.

We’ll be back with a bang at FIBO 2023, but in the meantime, we’ve donated some of this year’s budget to Danish Red Cross in support of Ukraine. I feel passionately that in times like these, we are defined by our willingness to stand together.

In fact, I believe a willingness to stand together is a big part what defines us generally, in life and in work. So I end with a thank you – because as BODY BIKE celebrates its big birthday, we do so knowing we couldn’t have done it alone. To all of you who love the ride as much as we do, thank you.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO, BODY BIKE International A/S

It’s time to unite & inspire

Over the last few months, the famous phrase ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ has been going round and round in my head. No sooner do we begin to put one major challenge behind us, but another quickly appears on the horizon.

We’re seeing pressures on global supply chains cause consumer prices to head for the sky. We’re seeing worldwide logistics havoc and a major increase in energy costs. And of course, there’s always the spectre of one more dance with COVID.

It’s enough to leave even the most ‘glass half full’ among us filled with frustration, fear, anger, bewildermentand negativity, sapping us of our spirit and our creativity.

Back to square one.

After such an extended period of uncertainty, it’s hard for this personal response not to impact our professional mindset, too. Yet we have a place in the world, this wonderful sector of ours.

Consumers are proving this in their buoyant return to our facilities: evidence that the in-person experience, the social connection, will always have a role to play. And within this, indoor cycling goes from strength to strength, rising to the #2 spot globally in terms of most popular in-club class format; in the US, UK and China it’s #1

All of which gives us very real reasons to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ as we head into the new year. To force out our negative thoughts and choose positivity. Of course, we must all adapt. We must reinvest in our products and experiences. But my personal belief is that – particularly when each of us feels so personally battered by the last couple of years – we should start with ourselves. We can decide to be positive, kind and caring. We can task ourselves with bringing hope, motivation and a much-needed feelgood factor to our members, then gather our teams and inspire them to do the same. We can, as we discuss in the feature The making of a rockstar, give our instructors license to truly connect and entertain.Everything we do must be more consumercentric than ever, more focused on the human touch – on what we bring mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

So my advice? Scrap the normal rules, get all stakeholders involved and embrace their ideas to bring in the change that’s needed. It’s time to unite and inspire. Let’s make this our New Year’s Resolution, so 2022 is the year we truly become people’s ‘happy place’. Season’s greetings to you all.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO, Body Bike International A/S

A Common Purpose

As we put the finishing touches on this edition of RIDE HIGH, I find myself reflecting on the recent UEFA EURO 2020 football championships. What a competition it was!

After a prolonged period of on-off lockdown, the sheer presence of crowds in the stadia was enough to lift the spirits – a coming together of people and passion that was made even more special by the fact it had been so long coming. But being a Dane, this tournament was a particularly emotional one. I’m referring, of course, to the match against Finland, where our midfielder Christian Eriksen – aged just 29 – collapsed on the pitch having suffered a cardiac arrest. The story thankfully had a happy ending, but the event sent tremors across our nation. The impact on the team was perhaps even more marked. All of a sudden, they were playing for Eriksen. The supercharged team spirit was palpable, their performance a masterclass in the power of shared purpose. They may not have won the tournament, losing to England in the semi-final, but they won hearts and brought great pride to our country.

I see certain parallels in the world’s response to COVID. In the face of adversity, of lives and livelihoods lost, we – families, colleagues, organisations, entire nations – have pulled together to confront the challenges. In the feature Inspired by COVID, we share just a handful of the stories that have emerged from our own hard-hit sector – tales of innovation and shared purpose that have seen teams survive and even thrive in times of crisis. We hope you will find them as inspirational as we do.

As we now move towards that long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel, it feels like the perfect time to unveil a new look and feel for RIDE HIGH magazine. We hope you like it! Combined with BODY BIKE’s recent AAA creditworthiness rating and our exciting new BBCARGO venture, there’s an exhilarating spring in our step as we emerge from a tough 18 months. I don’t normally use this page to talk about our company, but when it gives such optimism for the future of our sector – a sector that since March last year has been united in a common, and quite honestly existential, ba.le – it feels right to share. Right now, I couldn’t be prouder: of the team, our company, my country. Of our sector for standing up to the challenges of the past 18 months and coming out stronger.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO BODY BIKE International

Green shoots of hope

It has been a long time coming, this feeling of positivity, and it comes with caveats: some markets still struggling, restrictions likely to remain in many parts of the world. But finally, with vaccinations moving along at speed, we dare to believe the worst is behind us.

That’s bitter sweet for those who lost their jobs in this crisis, or whose businesses did not survive. It has been a cruel year and I truly feel for these individuals. If you are among them, I hope you find a way back into our energising, inspiring, health-enhancing industry very soon. And yet in spite of the challenges, my abiding impression is of a sector that has stepped up, moving fast and hard to meet a whole new set of needs.

A sector that has, with the health of the global population at stake, begun to more confidently position itself as an essential service. We must continue to move forward with this same sense of urgency, this same willingness to innovate, even as gyms re-open. Because if one thing has characterised the past year, it has been the pace of change – spearheaded, of course, by technology. That’s why it’s great to showcase so much innovation in this latest edition of RIDE HIGH, from traditional operators moving into the digital space – our interview with Absolute Group’s Ben Karoonkornsakul a great example – to online providers such as A STATE OF RIDE eyeing up collaboration with gyms. For in-club inspiration, there’s also an excellent piece by Ian Mullane of Keepme, which spotlights opportunities for operators to re-engagemembers and drive revenues as they rebuild from this crisis, as well as hands-on advice on getting members back in the group exercise studio. It is human nature, perhaps, to seize on the positives after a year such as this. But I do feel there are now positives. It has been uphill for a long time, and I for one am looking forward to the downhill ride on the other side.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO BODY BIKE International A/S

Here’s to new opportunities

We certainly aren’t naive enough to suggest the challenges it brought our sector have disappeared as the calendar ticked over to 1 January 2021. However, after the best part of a year spent battling an invisible but all-to-present foe, the team at RIDE HIGH wanted to take this chance to focus instead on the positives. To encourage everyone to step back from the events of 2020, take advantage of the blank canvas and fresh perspectives of a new year, and look at the exciting opportunities within our reach.

With that in mind our article the Future of Indoor Cycling – is a compelling read. Bringing together a panel of global experts, it outlines some fascinating predictions for the indoor cycling sector in 2021 and beyond.

From technology-enhanced experiences to altered workout habits and patterns; ramped-up qualifications to a new breed of cycling instructor; esports and gamification to an expanded definition of hybrid; bespoke programming to AI, AR, VR and GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), our experts dive into the trends that will shape our sector.

Their observations throw a detailed spotlight on some of the challenges we will continue to face, even post-COVID – challenges we must own and overcome. But to my eyes even more importantly, they also sow the seeds of new ideas, new opportunities, new hope at the beginning of a new year.

Thank you, to the whole panel for these invaluable insights.

Crucially, these opportunities aren’t out there in the vague, far-distance future. Such is the pace of change that they are things we should be thinking about right now. Operators and manufacturers alike must ensure they are briefed and ready to seize these opportunities, ensuring our sector fulfils its potential and inspire a whole new generation of passionate indoor cyclists.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO, BODY BIKE International


From crisis comes opportunity

It is unfortunately not all good news: there have been, and will be more, COVID casualties – the businesses that sadly fell at one of 2020’s many hurdles, breaking apart communities and livelihoods in the process.

Yet for the survivors, the metamorphosis of our sector may just be what it takes to future-proof gyms and studios for years to come.

So often berated for being slow to act, in the face of current challenges our sector has adapted and pressed fast-forward on its innovation, showing itself to be far more nimble, resourceful and resilient than is generally perceived.

Almost overnight, we channelled our expertise into digital platforms, becoming at-home fitness providers. Barry’s is a shining example, the strength of its brand and community allowing it to forge a determined path into the realm of online fitness.

Suppliers have stepped up to the plate too: our BODY BIKE On Demand platform, for example – virtual classes offered in partnership with Wexer – met the demand for ‘any time, anywhere’ exercise and drove bike sales to both home users and corporate gyms.

But at-home will not replace the in-club experience. Already we’re seeing green shoots of recovery for cycling in gyms and studios, as operators find socially distanced ways to deliver workouts – spacing bikes or even running outdoor classes – and members, locked away at home for far too long and seeking human interaction, begin to return to their clubs.

The challenges are far from over. Yet with clubs now re-opened in the majority of countries, we’re hopeful our sector can build towards an even stronger future – one in which people’s

new-found prioritisation of health will reinforce our value to an even broader audience. Finally, I wanted to say a very genuine ‘thank you’. Thank you for all the support you have shown to BODY BIKE – which has retained every member of staff on full pay throughout this crisis – and to this magazine, with subscriber numbers up 10 per cent during lockdown. We hope you find inspiration to move your business forward in the pages that follow.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO, BODY BIKE International

Positive thinking in troubled times

And the fitness industry is feeling the effect, with clubs shuttered, major trade events postponed and people limiting their travel.

In these times of trouble, it is human nature to focus on the challenges. We are certainly feeling them, as I’m sure our readers are.

But in these pages, we try to remain optimistic and focused on the opportunities.

And there is much to feel optimistic about, with indoor cycling thriving around the world – witness the likes of Barry’s entering the sector – and RIDE HIGH celebrating a double-digit milestone: our 10th edition.

We’re marking this milestone with a must-read edition – one that’s filled with the infectious energy of our cover star SJ Aboboto, and that explores everything from Flywheel’s lawsuit with Peloton, to the explosion of wellness travel, to the secret formula behind helping riders keep their cool.

It’s an exciting moment for me personally. When I came up with the idea for this magazine in 2017, I wanted to help grow the entire indoor cycling sector by sharing ideas, stories, experiences, insights, inspiration – all for free. Yet even with this ambitious vision for the magazine, I had no idea RIDE HIGH would so quickly become a go-to title for business owners and indoor cycling enthusiasts alike.

I feel both proud and lucky to have been able to bring this wonderful magazine to reality, and I very much hope you enjoy this latest edition. With 2020 also marking the 21st birthday of our company, we at BODY BIKE have a lot to feel grateful for. If you haven’t yet subscribed to RIDE HIGH, you can do so – for free – on our website, where you can also view and download the magazine’s full archive www.ridehighmagazine.com

Finally, if you have any feedback or topics you’d like to see covered in the magazine, please drop us an email: info@ridehighmagazine.com

We look forward to hearing from you.

Uffe A. Olesen
CEO, BODY BIKE International A/S

  • 1
  • 2

Conceived, powered and funded by BODY BIKE®, RIDE HIGH has a simple mission: to celebrate and champion the very best of indoor cycling, sharing ideas, stories and experiences from around the world to inspire the sector on to even bigger and better things. Subscribe for free by leaving your details below and we'll send indoor cycling's hottest news direct to your inbox three times a year.

Subscribe for free