VR Cycling Studio offers Houston area cyclists a chance to climb mountains not found in Texas. Area residents can ride in some of the world's top cycling events, such as the Mont Ventoux, the Col du Tourmalet and the Tour de France, without leaving the region.
Cyclists hook their bikes into a simulator at the Magnolia studio and ride, watching a real race or training ride on large screens in front of them in high definition.
Through his simulators, owner Steve Elliott offers training for courses worldwide and on a variety of levels—from beginner to experienced. Elliott welcomes coaches to the studio to work with their athletes.
"It cost a lot of money to set up, but it was worth it," said Elliott, who opened the studio nearly two years ago with his wife, Barbara. "I built it the way I would want it as a cyclist."
Cyclists looking to train need their own bikes, Elliott said. Once setup, they can choose their own race and intensity level. Cyclists can train for specific races they are participating in, and they can personalize the course to meet their needs.
Simulating a race can help cyclists prepare for not only strength and speed, but proper nutrition, Elliott said. Recently, a pro cyclist trained at his facility for three weeks before participating in a race in Mexico.
"This prepares you for the course," he said. "One of the only variables is the wind."
VR Cycling is the only indoor cycling studio in Houston. And there are very few indoor cycling businesses in Texas, Elliott said.
Elliott, who was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, is a USA Cycling certified coach. Elliott spent 12 years as a semipro cyclist before opening the studio.
Elliott rides 30 to 50 miles around Montgomery County twice a week, often with clients.
"It's a passion," he said. "We just love doing this."
Elliott coaches 15 cyclists and, as part of his instruction, he keeps computer documented statistics on their rides.
"This is a lab," Elliott said. "With all the data we have, I can offer a lot of feedback."
The studio offers spin scan analysis on its computrainer to improve pedal stroke. With real-time bio-feedback, cyclists can view stroke inefficiencies and be able to start correcting them immediately. The analysis also identifies "dead" or "flat" spots in the cyclists' pedal stroke.
In addition, the studio offers threshold testing—a fully automated way to determine threshold power with a program called ErgVideo.
Elliott emphasizes the studio is open to all ages.
"We welcome everyone—beginners to people wanting to lose weight to hard-core trainers," he said.
More than a dozen children rode for P.E. credits last school year, he said.
"The kids are great," Elliott said. "They're just so self-motivated. We would have fun and turn up the music and put in a movie during their ride."
VR Cycling offers both multirider cycling and individual sessions. Elliott also offers personal, one-on-one service.
"I do what I can for people," he said. "Personal service is a big thing to me. I treat others the way I want to be treated."
The couple has made good friends with many of the people who ride there.
"We see the greatest community of people," Barbara said.
- Through simulators, the studio offers individual and multirider training for courses worldwide on a variety of skill levels .
- 1 on 1 coaching by USA Cycling certified coach Steve Elliott at VR Cycling Studio, includes unlimited studio use.
- Monthly and daily bike storage is available at VR Cycling.
- Threshold testing: a fully automated way to determine threshold power with a program called ErgVideo.
- Spin scan analysis: offered on the studio's computrainer to improve pedal stroke. With real-time bio-feedback, cyclists can view stroke ineffeciencies and be able to start correcting them immediately. It will identify "flat" or "dead" spots in the pedal stroke.
VR Cycling Studio, 32303 Tamina Road, Magnolia 281-259-3770, www.vrcyclingstudio.com, Hours: Mon.–Thurs. 6 a.m.–11 a.m., 4 p.m.–9 p.m.