Spinning


Today I went to 7cycle.sg for a spinning class. This is the second time ever I’ve gone to a spinning class (the first time was in 2000, at Club La Santa in Lanzarote while on a cycling holiday) and I was a little sore after yesterday’s session at the track.

Spinning classes are fundamentally ludicrous for anyone who’s serious about cycling. You’re in a darkened room, sweating like mad, being cajoled by somebody with a microphone to do everything you believe is wrong about pedaling cadence, while all around you are doing the same. So quite a fun way to spend your lunch hour.

The class itself runs for about 35 minutes of alternating sprinting as fast as you can and turning up the resistance until your knees begin to squeal. I had to get there a bit early to sign the usual disclaimer that I don’t have any risky medical conditions, I’m not pregnant, etc. Then they gave me a pair of clipless shoes and a locker key, and I went off to change.

(Clipless shoes are shoes that allow you to clip into clipless pedals, the confusing name due to the fact that they replaced toeclips, that hilarious method of tying your feet to your bicycle pedals that reliably made drivers laugh whenever a cyclist stopped in front of them at traffic lights and then fell over.)

7Cycle is in an old shophouse, the ground floor converted into a windowless space with twenty-odd stationary bicycles arranged facing the instructor. Each bike has a fairly complicated computer on it, that tells you things like your wattage and how many revs per minute you’re putting in. (Probably not as accurately as a two-thousand dollar power meter, but who’s going to see the point of spending an extra forty grand to add a bit of extra accuracy that nobody will notice most of the time?)

You spend a few minutes spinning your legs quite aimlessly, until the instructor gets everyone configured, and then after a brief explanation, off we all cycled up an imaginary hill.

For the next thirty minutes, we alternately pedalled very fast or stood up and tried to push a big resistance. I went a bit too hard early on, hitting a maximum wattage above 500 watts (apparently) but though I began to feel godawful as the session continued – clearly still tired after yesterday – I managed to get to the end without falling off or throwing up.

That would have been a particularly awful faux-pas with two people from the office on the bikes next to mine. Say goodbye to any appearance of competence and fitness…

Afterwards, my tshirt so sweaty it was entirely one (darker) shade of blue, I went and had a shower in the very pleasant changing rooms, complete with complimentary shampoo and shower gel, while hoping I’d have cooled down enough to stop sweating by the time I got changed.

I hadn’t cooled down enough.

I stopped to get a juice so I didn’t faint on the way back to the office, and was back at my desk two hours after I’d left, eating noodles and catching up on emails. Very nicely, 7Cycle emailed everyone after the session with their stats, leaving me fairly smug that I’d had the second highest power output of anyone in the class. Not bad for a first timer…

Depending on how many sessions you buy in advance, a single class could be anything up to $45. That feels like a lot, but then there’s the convenience of a place to workout just three minutes from my office, and the extra motivation of being in a darkened room with a bunch of people intent on sweating as hard as they can. Plus as evenings are very expensive, cutting into La Serpiente Aquatica Negra time, I feel less guilt than I do if I’m off to the track…


4 responses to “Spinning”

    • Good question.

      You’ll probably look mad when you start going at really high revs (all out I was doing about 120 rpm) but stares from baffled onlookers are not to be feared.

      However, another thing about spinning classes is the focus on getting up off the saddle periodically, which is probably a little risky on a more traditional (read: wobbly) exercise bike.

      So some of it you can replicate, some you can’t. (I’ve seen a few gyms where there’s one spinning bike in a corner somewhere, presumably because they heard it was the Next Big Thing but they already had half a dozen ‘normal’ bikes they weren’t going to replace)

      The other thing about spinning bikes is they tend to have a larger flywheel than a traditional exercise bike, so it feels a bit more like a real bike. Or so I’m told. Not sure after two sessions that I’m equipped to comment on that.

  1. Yes I’ve just looked up and apparently the flywheel is very important. Mind you, I am finding a normal exercise bike enough of a challenge – after a summer of not wanting to melt in the gym and just running, I have never been better on a treadmill, but the cross trainer and bike almost killed me. Very different muscles, I think. Do you bike any more?

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