Rockin’ Rider

On an upbeat tempo, South Bay instructor Dennis Bales spins his way to health and happiness.

Growing up in Palos Verdes as a baseball and football player, Dennis Bales has always been physically active. His father was a professional baseball player, and Dennis trained with the 1960 U.S. Olympic Diving Team. However, after a career-ending injury while playing football for the University of Oklahoma, Dennis discovered cycling as a way to both rehab and stay fit.

Today Dennis is a much sought-after spin instructor whose affinity for spinning is matched by his singular playlists that span artists and bands of the 20th and 21st centuries. Taking one of Dennis’s spin classes is akin to a dual immersion program. It’s one hour that combines a great physical workout with a music history lesson from a master.

“I didn’t care for the techno, bass-thumping music in other spin classes where it all starts to sound the same, so I created different playlists for each week that I really enjoy,” says Dennis.

From there Dennis realized that huge markets were being overlooked in spinning simply because people didn’t like the loud, pounding techno music. Thus he created playlists for hour-long classes that are divided into two 30-minute intervals with each half focused on a different artist or band.

“We’ve got fit, competitive cyclists in each class,” he says. “However, if someone is new to spinning or is in rehab, then they can go at their own pace or leave after 30 minutes. Spinning is both healthy and fun, and that makes it approachable for everyone.”

Dennis teaches regular classes at the South End Racquet & Health Club where he has a unique ability to make everyone feel comfortable on the bike—whether it’s a long endurance ride to The Moody Blues, jumps to The Rolling Stones, intervals to Diana Ross or a cooldown to Simon & Garfunkel.

By nature, Dennis is personable; he’s everyone’s biggest fan and supporter. He spent 20 years coaching Pop Warner in Palos Verdes, where he and his wife, Judy, raised their three children. Today the Bales family includes spouses and nine grandchildren who all live in the South Bay. “We are all about family, friends, church and a healthy, active lifestyle,” says Dennis.

After switching to a gluten-free diet, Dennis had more energy and less body weight. “Judy and I eat a healthy diet that includes salads, chicken, fish, lean meats, nuts and protein shakes,” says Dennis. They also work out together hiking the hills of Palos Verdes several times each week.

An avid reader, Dennis has an extensive library where he prefers to read classical literature, historical documentaries or theology. “I read the Bible every day, attending to His word,” says Dennis.

Dennis is the president of Ringler Associates Palos Verdes, a position he’s held for 27 years. However, if Dennis’ popularity as a spin instructor continues on this meteoric rise, he might launch his second career at the same time most people would decide to retire—something that would not surprise one grandchild of this true Renaissance man.


Dennis’ Year in Health

Morning Workout

Squats, lunges and 90 pushups, with either a spin class or a hike before heading into the office


Gluten-free, including a protein shake made with almond milk for breakfast; nuts as a mid-morning snack; a salad for lunch; and a lean protein and fresh vegetables for dinner

Workout Routine 

Alternating indoor spin classes with hiking and calisthenics for a healthy balance of core, endurance and interval training every week; Sundays off to attend church with his family

Guilty Pleasures 

Trips to Provence with Judy where fields of lavender, stone houses set in lush gardens, fresh food and good wine afford a sophisticated, civilized lifestyle

Fitness/Health Inspiration 

“I was raised by a father who played professional baseball, so athleticism was a part of our family. My diving instructor was the renowned Pat McCormick, and she had a profound impact on me.”

Next Health Goal 

“Going gluten-free changed my life–I lost weight, had more energy, and I feel great. Balancing my diet with indoor and outdoor exercise is a good combination that works for me, so I’m on a maintenance program at this point.”