Spinning Tour de France
I wrote this story for an online humor writing class, “Professional Humor Tricks for Writers, Speakers, and Other Misfits”, with Dave Fox. Dave is an amazing teacher and humor writer who provided the best feedback I’ve ever had.
I arrived at my first class early to pick the best seat. Fifteen Star Trac spinning bikes lined the perimeter of the room.
The first seat I tried was so high, I became acrophobic. The second was so far back, I needed arm extensions. The third was just right. I felt like Goldilocks in “Goldilocks and the Three Bicycles.”
Spinning promised an intense cardio workout. Like the Zumba class I once tried, an instructor would lead us for an hour to music. Unlike Zumba, I wouldn’t need coordination. I could use my feet to pedal a stationary bicycle instead of dancing without rhythm.
As I began pedaling, I noticed a red paper band hanging on my handlebars. The front desk had given me the same strip of paper to go to class. Someone was using the band to reserve the bike. I was wearing mine like a charm bracelet.
A woman approached me, glaring. She looked like Jillian Michaels, the personal trainer from the ‘Biggest Loser’ reality show. I was on her bike. In one hand she swung a white gym towel, in the other she carried a designer water bottle, which she placed on the window ledge behind us.
I dismounted and moved to the adjacent seat.
“First spin class?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “I need cardio. I’ve tried running, but it makes me sweat.”
Jillian didn’t look impressed.
“Are you the instructor,” I murmured.
“No. Sandra’s our instructor.”
A few moments of silence passed. My new bike seat felt uncomfortable.
“You don’t have water.” She remarked. “You’ll have to bring water next time. You’ll get dehydrated.”
“I’m good,” I replied. “I just had a coffee.”
Sandra arrived. She headed to the stereo, put on her CD, and saddled up the last empty bike opposite the mirrored wall. To my right was Jillian. In front of me was a cycling prodigy who looked like Lance Armstrong. He had a sparkling smile and killer biceps.
Jillian and Lance were both wearing spandex shorts, Velcro fastened cycling shoes, and muscle enhancing tank tops. I was wearing Mennonite length track pants, five-year-old cross trainers, and an Angry Birds T-shirt.
The music started. My energy increased. Sandra had me bouncing to “I’m Glad You Came” as she instructed our movements. “Forward. Back,” she shouted. “Forward. Back. Keep low over the saddle.” My legs kept moving but my heart was racing. Next time I’d skip the coffee.
We picked up speed as J Lo’s “On the Floor” blared.
“Increase the resistance. Full turn. Steve, that looked like a quarter turn,” Sandra teased. “Turn the knob clockwise to increase the resistance. Come on, Steve. Push harder. Fiona, come on. Faster.”
Sandra knew her regulars’ names. She picked on spinners with stamina. No need to worry about her calling me out.
Mid class, my bike’s resistance was so high I felt heat generating from its flywheel. Would my track pants catch on fire?
Lance was cycling fast, still looking cool. Had he turned his knob to increase the resistance? I made a mental note to fake my knob turns.
Sweat was flowing from my brow like wax from a candle. None of the four ceiling fans was working. The only working fan was a standing model, and it was aimed at Lance.
I stared at the white towel tucked between Jillian’s handlebars. Why hadn’t I brought a towel? Without thinking, I grabbed the water bottle on the ledge and took a swig. Jillian shot me a mortified look.
I glanced at Lance again. He was looking straight at me. His lips were moving. Was he trying to tell me something? “Meet me after class for coffee,” I hoped.
No. He was lip-syncing to the music: “Don’t stop keep it moving. Put your drinks up.”
When Pit Bull’s “Give Me Everything” came on, my leg muscles burned. Sandra pushed harder. We were “out of the saddle.” Hands in second position. Exhausted, I sat down and stopped pedaling. I felt lightheaded.
“Don’t stop pedaling,” Jillian scolded. “You could pass out.”
I was going to pass out anyway.
The class continued with several more songs of varying tempo.
“Okay, release,” Sandra instructed while Adele sang “Set Fire to the Rain”.
We’d reached the warm down period. Spin class was almost over.
When the music stopped, I headed to the towel dispenser to wipe down my bike like everyone else. Jillian was in the line-up ahead of me flirting with Lance.
They were going for coffee after class.
I was saddle sore, sopping like a mop, and dehydrated. But I was determined. I’d be back next class. And, I’d be toting a new designer water bottle and wearing spandex.