Riding Across Hawaii - At Home!


After my little cardiac episode, my cardiologist told me I should initially return to stationary cycling. He felt it best for me to stay in a safe environment should anything strange happen to me again. But who wants to ride indoors during the summer? Anyway, I used my predicament as an opportunity to review Global Ride's "Hawaii Rides" DVD set. Read on and you'll find some reasons why you may want to use these DVDs yourself any time of the year...

I already have a CompuTrainer. That provides me with probably the best indoor cycling experience. However, at about $2500+ for a full setup (the CompuTrainer, plus a computer to run it), what are the alternatives for cyclists without piles of money to invest? Virtual ride DVDs can fit the bill.

In this market segment, Global Ride has put together a set of 3 DVDs in their "Hawaii Rides" product: Volume 1, StrenDurance in Hawaii; Volume 2, Oceanside Ride; and Volume 3, Maui Rides. Coming soon and sold separately will be their "Speed & Power in Italy" volume.

The formats are similar on each DVD. Riders warm up to a slide show of scenic Hawaii photos. Then the on-bike video workouts begin. Riders are given first-person videos shot from an actual cyclist's ride, featuring some of the best roads on Maui and Oahu. Original House-style music and various audio coaching tracks are available on each ride, providing different coaching voice-overs to accompany cyclists. For a cool down, each DVD concludes with another slide show, but this time the photos are from the producer's world-wide cycling adventures. Finally, each DVD includes a bonus off-bike training segment: Strength Training on Volume 1, Pilates Training on Volume 2, and Yoga Training on Volume 3.

Why You'd Use These Videos
  • You're looking for alternatives to simply riding a trainer and staring at your handlebars for an hour.
  • You're short on time (damn meetings at the office kept you late, again) and/or short on daylight and/or lack good weather for an outdoor workout. Maybe it's pouring rain. If you don't have an extra hour to clean up a muddy bike afterward, then why not throw on a Global Ride DVD, turn on a fan, and ride your trainer? It's certainly better than taking an unplanned day off.
  • You don't have the big bucks for a computerized virtual trainer, but you'd still like some virtual video for your training pleasure.
How To Use These Videos

Most of my own training is structured around intervals. The very nature of bike racing is unstructured intervals. Attacking, counter attacking, covering breaks - they're all synonyms for intervals.

Climbing intervals are one of the best ways to interval train. And these Global Ride DVDs are mostly about climbing intervals. The Hawaiian Islands are collections of lumpy volcanic rock. The most picturesque rides are roller coaster ups and downs over smooth black asphalt. Gene Nacey, producer of these videos, has grabbed the best of them (mostly from Maui) and burned them onto these DVDs. Almost by default, each DVD is a concentrated 50 to 55 minutes of interval riding.

Yet like a spin class, which these seem to have been initially produced for, you ride at your own pace. The four separate audio coaching tracks on each DVD give you options. Follow each coach's prompts for when to dial up the resistance, hit the pedals a bit harder, or sit down and spin out the lactic acid. If you want to get the most from less than an hour on your bike, then intervals are about the only way to go.

During my mid-winter training, I could see myself using these videos to put together my own Staycation Mini-Camp. As a break from my regular training, over the course of a week I could cycle through all three videos, selecting different coaching tracks and bonus sections each day. It would certainly be cheaper than even 1 night's accommodation in Hawaii, let alone the airfare to get there!

Technically, setting up in front of a wide screen TV would be best. But running on a laptop or portable DVD player set on a chair in front of your trainer will also work. Head phones are almost a must, if you want to get the best audio into your head over the drone of your trainer.

How To Use The Bonus Sections

Riders can use the DVD's Main Menu to quickly navigate to each bonus section, providing about 25 minutes of supplemental material on each DVD.

Strength Training Bonus (on StrenDurance DVD): If you're new to strength training for cyclists, then this is a good introduction. But if you've spent at least one season in the weight room, then you've likely moved beyond the routine provided. It only uses dumbbells, making it extremely approachable for novices. Advanced users could use this routine for some in-season maintenance, or during your fall transition period as you ease back into the weight room.

Pilates Bonus (on Oceanside Ride DVD): An excellent core stability section. In-season, I only hit my core with 3 basic exercises (front plank, side plank and bird-dogs). Off-season, a compact Pilates routine like this one would make for some good core stability work. And a stable core is key for a strong, stable pedal stroke.

Yoga Bonus (on Maui Rollers DVD): Yoga for cyclists is like stretching on steroids. It takes a little extra time than a basic stretching routine, but in the end you always feel more rejuvenated. After your longest weekly ride, spending a half-hour with this yoga routine will get your recovery well under way. My only criticism is the first half of the routine progresses too fast - cyclists without any yoga pose familiarity will probably find themselves pushing the video pause button a number of times trying to keep up.

Bravos!
  • Looks great on a wide-screen TV or laptop. Hawaiian scenery is a fantastic backdrop for your cycling. These videos are the next-best thing to actually being there.
  • Audio coaching is like having your own team coach shouting in your ear, keeping you honest during the workout.
  • You can get some Magic Maui Miles - almost - for less than the cost of a night in a hotel. No airfare required!
  • Rider-cam video is stable when the roads are smooth. Thankfully, most of the rough-road riding has been left on the editing room floor.
  • Strength, Pilates and Yoga bonuses add worthwhile seasonal supplements to the cyclist's training toolbox.
  • During these rides, you can cycle at your own pace, and you'll never get dropped on the hills!
  • Great hard-driving House music is fun for spinning.
Blunders¡
  • Some sections of the audio coaching can be hard to hear over the music track. Users at least can select the audio coaching only, get used to the routine, and then add the music back in later. Or if they like, they can select music-only.
  • I could do without the raindrops on the camera lens during the beginning of the Hana Highway ride on the Maui Rollers DVD. At least this "camera creativity" is only around for about the first 10 minutes of the ride.
  • Yoga routine moves a little too fast for novices.
  • Audio coaching is more spin-class centric. It took me a few views to realize that, "Let's turn right," meant to increase the bike resistance (turn the resistance knob clockwise), not turn my bike right. If you're not actually on a spin bike, then you'll probably want to be on a trainer with a handlebar mounted resistance controller (works a bit better to "dial in" the hills, though switching to a bigger gear can also work but might be a little less precise than you want).
Product Summary

Producer: www.GlobalRide.net
Price at time of review: $75 for complete "Hawaii Rides" 3 DVD set, or $30 for each individual DVD.
Features on each DVD: 50 to 55 minutes of image stabilized first person video recording, English language coaching tracks from experienced American, Australian and Italian coaches as well as a live recording from a spin studio, original House-style music audio tracks, and about 25 minutes of bonus supplemental training.
How obtained: Sent to me by the producer.
Am I an affiliate?: No.
Would I use this in my own training?: Yes! I particularly like my Staycation Mini-Camp idea. I really love riding on Maui - these Global Ride DVDs would be a good travel alternative during our cold Canadian winters.