by Joshua Maloni
It's official: Lewiston has out-Franced France.
They have croissants. We have DiCamillo's.
They have champagne. We have the Niagara Wine Trail.
They have Chanel. We have Angel to Apple.
They have the Tour de France. And now so do we.
But our edition has better music, prizes and revolves around our schedules.
Last fall, Niagara Health & Fitness began an indoor version of the world's most famous bike race. The goal was to provide clients and guests an exciting, fast-paced way to workout and get in optimal shape. The task involved "opening a class, free to the public, to get them aware that we're here - we're here about health and wellness and fitness," said director and instructor Karen Oakley.
Despite the newness of the program, "It was a huge success. We had full classes. ... Motivation beyond motivation," Oakley said.
Participants biked their way through 10 stages. Each spinning class counted toward the final tour tally.
"Everybody was determined to get through the 10 stages," Oakley said.
Those who did earned a T-shirt - and walked away in great shape.
Now, Oakley is poised to start a second tour in March.
"Again it will be open to the public - anytime they want to take a spinning class," she said.
Currently, Niagara Health & Fitness offers 18 spin courses per week, with classes (ranging from 30 to 60 minutes) offered each day. Every session counts toward completion of the tour.
"People have this huge misconception that spinning is god-awful hard, and you have to be fit to do it. That's not the case. ... Anybody can do a spinning class. Every instructor modifies it to everybody's capability level," Oakley said.
Oh, and participants "can take as many classes as they want," she noted.
Top that, France.
To participate in Lewiston's Tour de France, simply visit Niagara Health & Fitness, sign-up, and get biking. Full schedules are available online at www.niagarahealthandfitness.com.
Niagara Health & Fitness is located at 734 Cayuga St., Lewiston. For more information, call 754-4474.