as one who defaults to running, cycling has been something i’ve always “meant” to try but never really dabbled in, save the charity bike rides i’ve done for Love146 and maybe 2-3 other little summer spins on the bike i somehow weasled my dad into giving me when i decided in spring 2008 that i’d take up biking. (that lasted a whole “i can count the number of times i actually rode on two hands in the past three summers.”) i like it, when the seat is just-so and my knee doesn’t ache, but i stuck to running.

so upon my move to nyc and my membership at a gym with a bazillion locations around manhattan and plenty of cycling classes, i promised myself (yet again) that i’d try spinning. and today, i actually did, which i think surprised me more than anything. i even chose it over the boot camp class occurring simultaneously in the studio across the way, and not because the instructor welcomed me with a smile and an accent (Irish, maybe?) and then came to show me how to set up my bike when i clearly walked in looking like a kindergartener lost in a high school. i felt a little better when someone who looked like she could have been my mom sat down on the bike next to me, and then a little worse when someone else who looked like she could have been my mom breezed in with her ripped arms and serious biking attire and attacked her bike like she was hoping to drill a hole to china on it. you know, one of those fitness buffs who probably dropped off her stuff an hour early to reserve the bike directly in front of the teacher and watched to make sure his resistance was never higher than hers, refusing to show weakness by using her towel and instead dripping all over the place while her sinewy legs pedal in some furious rebellion against her own inertia?

yeah, there was one of those. and she was probably 50. i was a little jealous, i won’t lie. woman could spin.

i chose a bike in the back row so nobody could sit behind me and see my stationary cycling technique, or lack there of, and every time the teacher yelled out something (“position 1! 2! 3! faster! climb that hill! more resistance!”) in his wonderful voice (all aerobics instructors should have accents. if someone is going to yell at you to beat up your body for an hour, please – the least we can do is ensure they’re nice to listen to), he’d look at me to make sure i was following along, showing me what each position was and motioning for me to change my hands or crank up my resistance. (side note: i sneaked peaks at the girl next to me, who was about my age and wearing official biking shoes, and her resistance was always definitely much lower than mine, so i think she could have used a few of those “turn it up” hand motions he threw my way. just saying.)

i fared very well, i’m pleased to say, and entirely enjoyed myself. i learned that i rather love working out to a blaring stereo of fabulously chosen songs (okay, so “Fat Bottom Girls” wasn’t the highlight of the class for me, although i will admit it puts a whole new perspective on one’s desire to pedal harder — but his Coldplay, U2, and 80s synthesized music definitely made for a great soundtrack). what i think i liked best was knowing that it’s never as stressful to do something the second time around, which means that next time, i can walk in and act like i’ve been doing this all my life. i mean, i now know how to set up my bike, fall into the positions without having someone model them for me, and am certain of what type of work out i’ll be getting. it was definitely a challenging, heart-pumping, sweat-dripping experience that totally gave me the “i just had a great work out” high, and i’ll absolutely start adding spinning into my routine.

when i was leaving, he commented that i did really well and i thanked him for the class. he said, “well i’m teaching another in ten minutes, why don’t you stay for that one, too?”

yes, there was a moment of serious consideration, but i retreated to the familiarity of a treadmill instead.
let’s not overdo it on the first day, now. i’ve had enough “Fat Bottom Girl” for one Saturday morning.

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