What an amazing few days for me and my team at Stages Indoor Cycling. On Friday morning I left Denver with seven laptop computers. Five were loaded with the most advanced indoor cycling group display system on the planet, Stages Flight, the sixth machine was MY Stages Flight demo laptop, as a backup and seventh was an old friend, my trusty Mac book. That Mac book has been with me for over 5000 classes, through my progression of harmonic music mixing to using those harmonic mixes with videos to adding visual intensity profiles to my classes to using a hodgepodge of programs to the give my riders the best multimedia experience that was technologically possible. I probably don’t need to travel with my old friend anymore, but I have such a hard time leaving it home and as any presenter knows you need to be prepared for anything and I know this old and tired Mac will always come through in the clutch. Besides all this computing power I also needed to bring power supplies for all the computers and the Stages Flight system comes with its own network so I also had to pack five switches/routers along with their power supplies, five Ant+ antennas, WASPs, and all the necessary Ethernet cables to let these systems communicate with our bikes. I also travel with tools, just in case a few of the bikes need a tune up. I found a little extra room for some clothes and a toothbrush.

So, I get all this into two roller bags, one I check, the one with the laptops I carry on. I have TSA Pre-Check, but that doesn’t help too much when you try to send seven laptops through the scanner. TSA was great and had a sense of humor about this ridiculous site. I did have to run all the machines through the scanner separately, bit I did get to leave my shoes on. The next challenge was going to be getting this bag in the overhead compartment. It weighed way more than fifty pounds, and luckily they don’t usually weigh carry-ons. I was a little concerned about being able to overhead press this bag, and if I dropped it, I could kill someone. So I made sure there were no Asian doctors or moms with twins around, braced my core by sucking in my belly button back to my spine, making sure to breathe deep into my diaphragm and functionally lifted that technology filled suitcase like a caveman and got it into the overhead compartment without a single viral video. The trip into Baltimore was noneventful; I took a nap as I tried to store up some energy for a weekend that I knew was going to be mentally and physically taxing.

The Washington DC area has quickly turned into a major Stages Flight hub. We have six facilities in Baltimore, two in DC and two more in Richmond:

Gold’s Gym Dundalk
Gold’s Gym Glen Burnie
Gold’s Gym Marley Station
Gold’s Gym Ritchie Station
LifeBridge Health & Fitness
Gold’s Gym Willow Lawn
Gold’s Gym Meadowbrook
Off Road DC Capitol Hill
Core Cycle Studios

I was scheduled to install five Stages Flight systems and lead four four-hour trainings over the weekend. These trainings were taking place at the Gold’s Gym locations. I was attempting to train over 100 instructors in this short period, on a brand new group display system while hoping I could get their systems up and running in the thirty minutes before each training. I have to thank Kimberly Murphy, Gold’s Gym Group Exercise Director, for being with me every step of the way and helping make this insane schedule run so smoothly. I also cannot express how impressed I have been with the instructors at Gold’s Gym, not just in the Baltimore are, but all over the country. They are open-minded, willing to learn and always so excited to learn and try new things. I have to admit; I had some doubts that we were going to be able to pull this feat off, but we did, and now these facilities are equipped with the world’s best bikes and most advanced group display system and can create a member experience that is second to none.

I had added an extra day to my trip so I could install my last Stages Flight system at LifeBridge Health & Fitness in preparation for their training and launch the following weekend, but as I was running from facility to facility, I kept noticing some small issues with the bikes. Nothing major and things that only someone who knows these bikes inside and out would recognize. Just to be clear, these bikes were installed properly and functioning fine, but the perfectionist in me wanted, well, perfection. So I called my supervisor at Stages, Cameron Chinatti, and explained the situation. She asked me to let her make a few calls and would get back to me shortly. Cameron got approval for me to extend my trip by two days and to have all the necessary parts shipped overnight so I could not only fix these minor issues but give them all the cool new features that our engineering team in Boulder Colorado have been developing.

So I got to work, and I’m happy to say that the Gold’s Gyms in the Baltimore area as well as LifeBridge Health & Fitness and Core Cycling Studios, who are all part of the Stages Flight Squadron, have the most up to date bikes in the country.

At Stages Indoor Cycling we do our best to get it right the first time, but if we don’t, we’ll always make it right. This weekend and then Monday and Tuesday proves our commitment to excellence and customer service. I have heard some grumbling from some facility managers that we are always updating our bikes and software. I look at this as our greatest strength. We only do bikes. Every day is spent trying to find ways to improve the cycling experience. When we find a way to improve this experience we pass it on to our Stages Indoor Cycling and Stages Flight facilities. If you want a mediocre bike and a mediocre experience you should go with a different bike company. If you want the best bike and the best indoor cycling experience you should go with Stages, understand that experience will require a bit more work, but it’s worth it.

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