How music and expert coaching can lead to “an improved feeling of connection with your body” – Interview with Douglas Lotz, founder of CycleCast

By Sam Brake Guia November 8, 2018

As a mode of transport cycling stands as one of the most beneficial forms. Not only is it affordable but it is also good for you and the planet. This comes as no surprise, but what might surprise you is the high level of tech that now exists for cycling fanatics. For example, according to a recent post in the Irish Times, startups have created numerous gadgets to keep cyclists safe, such as smart bike lights which, using AI, take in information from your surroundings to gauge when you are most at risk, and as a response change the lights to shine brighter or faster in order to be seen.

Douglas Lotz, the founder of CycleCast

Besides transport, cycling has also presented itself as an appealing method of staying fit and active. As a result, numerous cycling apps have been developed to assist those seeking a healthier lifestyle through cycling. One example of this is CycleCast, an app that makes studio-quality indoor cycling more accessible than ever by delivering hit music and motivational instructors straight to your phone. To get a better understanding of this industry and how the app works, we spoke with Douglas Lotz, the founder of CycleCast.

  1. Do you have any case studies of customers using this who have improved their technique or lost weight as a result?

We don’t have case studies per se, but we’ve received a lot of feedback and reviews that CycleCast has helped users gain confidence, lose weight, and feel stronger mentally and physically. Here is a taste of the results we’ve heard:

“This app is amazing! After having a baby I found it very hard to get to spin classes by my gym has a few spin bikes and once. CycleCast revolutionized my workout life! Not only are all of the instructors awesome but the flexibility really helped motivate me to get to the gym whenever I could sneak in even a 20-minute workout.” – App Store Review

“This app has helped me gain so much confidence in myself and my progress with cycling! Definitely getting my money’s worth out of CycleCast and my home spin bike. On demand spin classes without the gym – highly recommended!” – Bonnie, App Store Review

“Going to spin classes is expensive and tough with my schedule (working mom). I bought a used spin bike and put it in my basement. Tried a few uninspiring apps. Then stumbled across CycleCast. It’s changed my life! They have numerous instructors and different length classes. There is something for every level and every mood. They update the classes regularly, so I almost never repeat a class. I have a favorite instructor and he makes the class fun, yet really challenging. Thank you CycleCast. I’m back to working out regularly. I’m a focused professional, patient mom and have a toned body as a result of regular spin classes. Keep it up!!!” – App Store Review

  1. Do you plan to roll out any new services or features for the app in the new future?

CycleCast’s platform would work well for several other guided-fitness modalities, like running and HIIT.  At this time we don’t have any firm announcements on future non-cycling content, but it is something we’re looking at.

We’re also looking at enhanced social sharing and community features, ride history/tracking in the app, and support for casting to other devices.

  1. Have you had any feedback from customers, and if so what are they interested in seeing?  

Riders often share feedback on instructors and features they’d like to see, such as enhanced social share and tracking their ride results history. There have also been requests to support Chromecast, Apple TV or other casting devices. We’re looking into all of the above, but don’t have firm announcements to share.

We also engage quite a bit with our riders about our content. We’ve built a community of riders that feel connected to our instructors and we encourage riders to share feedback and their music requests. Each instructor’s profile page has a Facebook-powered comments feed where riders can interact with instructors to give feedback and make music requests.

Here is a sampling of feedback we’ve received about instructors:

“Perfect variety of rides and teachers. It actually got me exercising regularly, which I’ve been trying to get back in the habit of for a year. Noel is my favorite! I love her attitude and music choices.” – Leah Spieler

“This app is the best thing out there…the only thing if you are a rogue spin cyclist. I love it…just you and the teacher. The music is excellent and i use it at least 4x per week for 60 mins a day and i have never had a duplicate ride. Worth every penny.” – Theann Faucher

“Jonathan, I just completed your 45 minute ride, which had me in tears at your inspirational and intentional words. As a psychotherapist and yoga instructor I was both touched and encouraged by your dedication to mindfulness and self compassion to motivate strength and endurance. Keep being who you are! It’s a rarity and much needed in our current fitness culture!” – Melanie Taylor

A good example from Noel’s profile:

  1. Can you give an example of how the audio-guided fitness content works and how it improves the user’s session?

Being audio-only, CycleCast is designed to be portable and convenient to use at home or the gym.  Audio content takes less data and battery usage than video and because it’s on your phone, it will always be with you.  This was a critical factor in designing CycleCast – I was first thinking about developing the app, I wanted to be able to use the bikes at the gym on my schedule and didn’t want something that would waste my battery or kill my his data plan.  

Audio content also allows us to hone in on what matters most; the two essential elements of an indoor cycling class – motivating music and expert coaching. Our classes feature industry-leading music (latest top 40, remixes EDM, throwbacks…) to keep you moving and our instructors use frequent verbal cues to help you to maintain good posture and stay present in the moment. The focus is inwards on you, not outwards on the instructor. These results are an improved feeling of connection with your body and better performance overall.

  1. How are the expert instructors selected to teach the cycling classes?

Our expert instructors have come to us through our professional network in the fitness industry.  Potential new instructors are not only assessed based on their experience and skill teaching live classes, but also on how well they teach verbal queues “off the bike.”  It is one thing to be able to teach by showing, it’s another to be able to give clear verbal commands that allow the rider to improve their cycling form and manage their effort based on perceived level of exertion.

  1. Are there other cycling apps out there with audio-guided content, and if so how does Cyclecast standout?

There are a few other audio-guided fitness apps out there that include indoor cycling content. CycleCast stands out with its high-quality instructors and music. Our ‘Beats Ride’ format is particularly compelling with its perfect blend of rhythm-centric motivation and effective, ergonomically-sound coaching and movements.  In terms of the technology and app, CycleCast’s interface is super simple, allowing the user to get riding in seconds and once a class is playing, the player interface allows the rider to separately adjust instructor and music volume to match their preferences.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company