Global Ride: Speed & Power in Italy

Matty Reed, Suhela Dighe
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Indoor Cycling

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About Global Ride: The producers of Global Ride DVDs wanted to create a product for home exercisers which would bridge the gap between hard-core road cyclists and those of us who are confirmed spinners. The ride is shot from the cyclist's speed and perspective, so you see pretty much what you would see if you were cycling the highway in real life. In fact, the sense of virtual reality in Speed & Power in Italy is so strong, I find myself leaning into corners and watching out for oncoming traffic.

Each DVD in the Italy series offers three different coaching tracks, with a choice of coaches. So you can ride with a different coach each time, choosing the one whose personality and coaching style appeals best. All the coaches are riding with you; you can hear them breathing just as hard as you are. Or you can select the "music only" option and just enjoy the music and scenery. (There is also a "music off" option.) Unlike the first Global Ride series, Hawaii, the Italy series doesn’t offer a track from a live spinning class which is a shame, because these are fun.

The Italy series is enhanced by a countdown clock for each leg of the ride on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. I find that the clock helps me to focus better, particularly as I tire towards the end of the ride.

Each DVD also offers a bonus cross-training segment. Speed & Power in Italy features a 30-minute Pilates for cyclists session. Unfortunately, these sessions do not have great production values: the sound and vision are out of sync which makes them almost unwatchable, and they are filmed on a cheap-looking set.

The Global Ride DVDs are not without their critics. The on-road segments do have some camera shake. This doesn’t bother me — at least in the Hawaii series and the first two volumes of the Italy series, Speed & Power in Italy and Climbing Sufferage in Italy. But unfortunately, the camera shake in the third volume in the Italy series, Urban Assault in Italy, is so pronounced that the disk is unwatchable. Another flaw is that the disks use vocal music, which can make it hard to hear the coaching at times. Again, this doesn’t bother me, but your mileage may vary.

You can see clips of the rides, listen to samples of the music, and order the DVDs from

About Speed & Power in Italy: In Speed & Power in Italy you will warm-up to the strains of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" as you take in views of Venice. But don't let the romantic music and scenery fool you — this will be one tough ride!

For my first outing, I rode with the US coach, Matty Reed, who has an impressive bio: World Champion 2006 Teams Race, 2008 USA Olympic Trials Champion, 2008 USA Olympian and 2008 USA National Champion.

The ride starts on the Ligurian Coast with a 12-minute leg called "Blasting Through Bracco". At the beginning of each section, a Google Map image shows where you will be riding, with the route animated in red — very cool! On this part of the journey, two cyclists will join you; sometimes you take the lead and sometimes they cut in front of you, which always makes my competitive edge kick in.

The second leg starts in Valstagna in the Bassano del Grappa region. At 22 minutes, this section is the longest and takes you alongside the River Brenta. The scenery here is absolutely stunning, but it goes by so quickly! The soft electronic rock music is well chosen with lyrics like "I Wanna Be in the Zone" and "Life is Too Short".

The last leg, "Rockin' to Rocca" is a 10-minute hill challenge which takes you up a steep winding road to the mountain town of Rocca. The music changes to hard-driving rock to spur you on. At this point, a renegade rider turns up, outfitted in yellow and blue to match his bike. Perhaps he thought he looked too smart not to be on camera! "He's on a mountain bike — we should be able to catch him!" yells Matty. "Come on, we gotta catch this guy!"

The ride clocks in at 60 minutes, including the warm-up and cool-down, but seems to go by much faster — always a sign of a good workout DVD.

Ratings out of five:

Production values (ride only) ****˝ 

Workout design *****

Instruction *****

Fun factor *****

Music ****

Meets expectations *****

Overall 4.75

Instructor Comments:
Matty Reed and Suhela Dighe, the US and German coaches on Speed & Power in Italy, have years of training and cycling experience which shows in the quality of their coaching. Oddly, the Australian coach is not named on the DVD, nor does he introduce himself, but he's pretty good too.