Post Aki-con, I went wearily to my first Cycle-U class. I was a bit skeptical, still after paying about $500 for the class, seeing I obviously I could cycle in my basement for free. But it's probably my first serious fitness program, post high-school P.E. really, that's having me focus for 2-3 hours a week. So I'll take it seriously and see where I stand at the end.
The only thing that's been a let down has been the music, which is "techno", which I like in some situations. Their techno's more ambiant, working on the computer music.
You bring in your own bicycle, which makes it easy to feel comfortable, and hook it up to their machines, which measure cadence and wattage, the later being the most significant measurement you follow. In the past few years, bicyclists are now training with wattage not target heart rate. It's very simple: You get a calculation of your 5 and 15 minute energy output and then your "zones" (ranges of wattage) are calculated. Then during the program you simply exert that amount of energy for some time.
Additionally, and this might be the only other varience in how you exercise, you cycle at different cadences, some very high or low to exercise different muscle groups.
So, I've been doing that plus working hard at my job, along with Hitomi who's working on some "secret" Nintendo manual. Speaking of Nintendo, Ian gave me Castlevania: Portait of Ruin and I finally got into it over the weekend. Saturday was cycling with Cascade and I did lots of singlespeed hill climbing, some 15% grades, but not a whole lot of distance. I'm being told that this program is 80-100% of the exercise I need.