Or Spin, but apparently “Spin” is trademarked or something, so the Y just calls it Cycle instead. I’ve been to a true Spin class and it wasn’t much different than this, so it is all just semantics.
A dark, rectangular room with 30 brand new, state of the art stationary bikes. Two large fans blowing on full speed flank a solitary bike in the front. The surround sound system is blaring full bore: music with a heavy beat and fast tempo. A half insane, curly haired woman is pumping away on this solitary bike, trying to smile through the pain and bring an energy level to the room that no sane person could match. In front of her are 15-20 people, in various stages of regretting their life choices, all attempting and failing miserably to match her furious pace.
The air is heavy with perspiration and the wilting away of the human soul. You can hear the moaning of legs giving way as the instructor yells for all to get off the bike and climb the imaginary hill standing in the pedals. Everyone rises, are at least attempts to. At least a few people are left falling back on their increasingly tender nether regions wondering which is worse: the pain in their legs from standing to pedal or the pain in their crotch and butt from sitting on the rock hard and unforgiving seat.
The clock ticks off the 15 minute mark. 45 minutes to go and already all but the very best are falling way behind, stealthily clicking the tension on the bike easier and easier with each passing minute.
Turn the gear shifter to the center!! We are going up hill!
The screeching of the instructor pierces through the booming melody and all groan in despair. We are inside! There are no hills! She just laughs back at us and tells us to prepare or what we find on top of the hill.
Foolishly, we believe that we will find the downhill side and be able to coast. Instead we are told to turn the gear shifter all the way to the right (the gear shifter is a metal handle connected to the tensioner of the bike and is a quick way to increase the tension without changing gears). Maximum force. Give 110%! We have found a sandy beach! Pedal!Pedal!Pedal! RPMS at 95. Full force!
Everyone groans again. All we want to do on a beach is sit in the sun, water lapping at our toes, drink in one hand and book in another. Instead, we are pretending to ride a bike through the deepest, fluffiest patches and hating ourselves the entire time.
Finally…finally…we reach the end of the beach and get to coast down the hill once more. Gear shifts to the left. Tensioners way down. Relax. Breathe deep. Take a drink. Surely, this is now over, but a quick glance at the clock shows we still have 30 minutes remaining. Will we survive?
The next 25 minutes are spent sprinting, climbing mountains, coasting down hills and praying that your butt doesn’t become adhered to the seat requiring a painful ripping to remove it. Why are these seats so awful? Surely some cushion wouldn’t ruin anything.
When she at last calls for the cool down to begin, everyone looks around. Has anyone else survived or have they all perished leaving you alone with the crazy woman in front? No, they are still there with you looking like half the person they were at the start of class. Now defeated, with shaking legs and acutely painful nether regions that promise to not heal for a week, they descend off the bikes and try not to collapse on the floor. Attempting the stretch is a joke. Everything hurts in one manner or another. How many calories did we burn? How far did we go? The numbers don’t matter. All that matters is that you survived. Will you go again? Will you put your fate in the hands of this lady once again?