Who’s on the Flywheel bike next to you? Now, when you book your next spin class, you’ll be able to tell.
Starting today, the indoor-cycling brand that’s known for its bike technology, and how your sweaty output stacks up to other riders, lets you to see which of your Facebook friends are signed up for your class—and where they’re sitting. And vice versa.
The social booking application is the first we’ve seen on the boutique fitness scene. And we’re sure more studios and brands will follow.
How does it work? Now, when you book a Flywheel bike, you can also elect to connect to Facebook. If your Facebook friends are in your class and they’ve opted in, too, their profile pictures will pop up in the circles that correspond with their bikes, explains Flywheel CEO Jay Galluzzo. Both sides have to opt in to see each other.
(If you can’t tell who your friends are by their Facebook profile picture—because it’s too small or your friend is using a photo of their baby instead of their own, say—you can roll your mouse over the image and their name will pop up.)
While it’s a cool, voyeuristic feature, it’s also a service. The booking option moves a simple concept onto the Flywheel site that normally happens over email: Namely, the flurry of planning, booking, and confirming messages that happen with friends and sweat-working colleagues when scheduling the classes you want to take together.
“By enabling this kind of visibility within the Flywheel environment, it’s taking a step out of the booking process, and supports the super fun, athletic, and social aspects of riding at Flywheel,” says Galluzzo. “We realize that people come to Flywheel because they like the experience AND because they see people they like there.”
It was only a matter of time that boutique fitness figured out a way to incorporate the social platforms that we all use to communicate off our bikes. “Social connectivity is everywhere, of course, but we’re early adopters of using it this way,” says Galluzzo. “Many riders plan their week around us, so this makes it easier, and in a way that’s unobtrusive.” And he speculates that new sharing technologies will be a big trend in fitness.
That said, the new era of fitness visibility might be lost on those who love to zone out anonymously during a class—or are hiding from a boss or an ex who’s also a Facebook friend. If you don’t feel like sharing your workout plans with your masses of Facebook friends or followers, there’s still an out. The Facebook booking and visibility route is totally optional, “just like having your power score up on the Torqueboard,” says Galluzzo.
So if you prefer to remain anonymous in class and keep your sweat to yourself, that’s still an option. For now. —Melisse Gelula