For Spinning® instructors, there lies a responsibility to raise awareness for health and wellness. But what about awareness for human rights? For some, the bicycle is a symbol of personal strength, but for victims of poverty and exploitation, the bicycle carries a whole new meaning.
Spinning Master Instructor Peter Yeoman of New Zealand describes his personal journey as a Master Instructor, professional cyclist and how the freedom he feels from cycling motivates him to fight against the “fastest growing criminal industry in the world”; human trafficking.
About Peter Yeoman
Q: How often do you teach a week and where?
A: In the 10 years that I’ve been a Spinning instructor, I’ve taught between 2 and 10 classes a week on a regular basis. Currently, I teach two classes a week at the local YMCA in Auckland, New Zealand. In addition, I have a private Training Studio at my home where I have a small number of Spinner® bikes on which I run a further 3-4 classes with my personal training clients and with the athletes I am coaching.
Q: What is the most unique feature about your facility?
A: There are two unique features of my home studio that my clients and myself absolutely love. One is the stunning location and the tranquility it offers. Although the studio is only 10 minutes from the city center, it is located down a long driveway and is surrounded by native New Zealand bush. It is such a calm and peaceful environment to exercise in.
The other unique feature is the privacy this offers. Whether a client is training alone, in a small group or as part of a class, they appreciate the flexibility and the personal touch a private studio offers.
About My Profiles and Rides
Q: What’s your favorite profile to use to create rides?
A: One of the things I particularly love about teaching Spinning is the freedom we have as instructors to create an endless variety of profiles. It’s just like road cycling in that respect. We have the freedom to ride any roads and any terrain, in any conditions. My favorite profiles are those that bring these outdoor rides to life in the Spinning studio. Whether it’s an endless stretch of flat road, to challenge the mind and body, a frightening climb rearing up in front of us, or the aggression of an attacking bunch, I love bringing these journeys to life in the minds of the riders.
Q: What is the most unusual, yet successful, song to play in class?
A: I really enjoy listening, riding and teaching to a very broad range of songs. I love finding songs that bring to life the feelings of cycling on the road. There are three in particular that I immediately thought of. The first is “Spente Le Stelle” by Emma Shapplin. It has so much drama and power and stirs up feelings of conquering massive climbs.
The second is “Mombasa” by Hans Zimmer. I can instantly imagine a fast and aggressive criterium, with sharp corners, constant attacks and heart thumping, thigh-screaming accelerations.
The final one is “Tangaroa” by Tiki Taane, an amazing New Zealand musician. It’s a very powerful song that helps the class to dig a little deeper, to push a little harder, and to find the warrior inside themselves to give just that little bit more.
My Favorite Things
Q: When not on a bike, what are your other hobbies?
A: If I’m not Spinning I’m usually out on my road bike training, racing, commuting or just enjoying the journey. I also love mountain biking and wish I had time to do more of it. Other interests? I’d have to say reading (mostly about cycling and training, along with the occasional novel) music, photography, swimming, running, kayaking and strength training.
Q: What are your Spinning essentials?
A: Apart from the obvious essentials, such as my iPhone to play music, a microphone, a good pair of cycling shorts and my shiny white cycling shoes, I believe my most important Spinning essential is my creativity and imagination and my ability to bring road cycling to life in the Spinning studio.
What Being a Spinning Instructor Means to Me
Q: What is your favorite part of being a Spinning instructor?
A: One of my favorite things is helping the riders train their mind as well as their body. By teaching and empowering them to use techniques such as visualization, imagery, positive self-talk and power words while they ride, they become stronger and fitter, both physically, and mentally.
Q: Describe a rider/client that has recently inspired you to continue your coaching as a Spinning instructor.
A: I’m coaching a team of cyclists who are riding for the Tear Fund in the Tour of New Zealand this April. It’s an eight-day cycle race covering about 700 kilometers. In addition to coaching sessions on the road I’m also taking them through one Spinning class per week. These classes have really reinforced how relevant Spinning is to real cycling. It has shown me once again how the physical and mental skills we teach in the class make a real difference to performance on the road or mountain bike trail.
What I’ve Learned
Q: How do you motivate yourself when you don’t feel like getting on the saddle?
A: I focus on the end result. Whether I’m about to teach a Spinning ride or I’m heading out on a training ride on a cold winters day and I just don’t feel like it, then I think about how good I’ll feel when I’ve completed it. I take a moment to reflect on all the positive outcomes that will come from doing the ride.
Q: How have you had to shift your approach, coaching methods over the years or for different audiences?
A: Yes definitely. In Spinning we often talk about being on a journey. Being a Spinning Instructor is a constant journey for me, a constant evolution. I have grown and changed so much since I started and I have so much further to go. It’s exciting.
Riding for a Cause
Q: What inspired you to combine Spinning® and your work with the Tear Fund?
A: My work with the Tear Fund is quite recent. Initially I was invited to join a team for The Poverty Ride, which is an annual team cycle race that is organized by the Tear Fund in New Zealand. It was a fantastic event that was able to raise close to a $100,000 to help fight poverty and human trafficking around the world.
After the event I was extremely fortunate to have a conversation with Beth Harper of the Tear Fund and who was one of the organizers of the race. I was intrigued as to why an aid organization was running a cycling event. She explained how the bicycle was used by impoverished people throughout the world and was an important means of transportation and also a symbol of their fight for freedom from poverty and slavery. When I then talked her about my love for cycling and for Spinning, I also talked about freedom. The freedom cycling gave me to let go of the worries and stress of everyday life. The freedom to ride anywhere and at any time. I told her that’s why was drawn to Spinning as a style, because we have the freedom to create any profile, real profiles, to help the riders to experience a real cycle journey.
It was then it just clicked. It just seemed like the right thing for me to do. To take my passion and love for cycling and Spinning, and to use it to fight the horror of human slavery.
So now a new journey begins. On April 11th, I will lead the Tear Fund team in the Tour of New Zealand to take their message to the country.
The average victim of human trafficking is 12 years old. The Tear Fund is an aid for women and children who are being trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation.
Everyone deserves the right to health; don’t take for granted your freedom to ride. Join the fight for freedom today and ride for Tour of New Zealand or find out more about the Tear Fund. Help the Tear Fund take their message worldwide!
Has Spinning helped you with your cause? We want to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and write “Community” in the subject line, your story could be in our next newsletter!