To a leftist, the stationary bike is a revelation: you’re not going backwards!
I rediscovered this last week, when I took my first “spin” class at the local Y — part of my training for the 100 miles I’ll be cycling on March 10, as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. (You can donate to support my ride here.) It was the first aerobics class I’d taken since probably the ’80s. When I got there, the regulars had already reserved their favorite stationary bikes by draping a towel over the handlebars: it looked like an orderly convention of short, mechanical nuns. Then, as the workout time approached, the towels were replaced by their people, and the instructor, Amanda, showed up.
Amanda has lots of energy: I imagine that as she was being born, she shouted out a cadence so her mom could speed up her contractions. I hadn’t anticipated that we’d spend much of the class riding up out of our saddles — this took something that I expected to be difficult and made it cartoonishly hard. But I got through it! And — especially in retrospect — I really enjoyed it.
The music was hard to take, though. I’d never actually heard any of Lady Gaga’s oeuvre before, and was amazed at the sameness of it (at least, to my as-yet-unGagafied ears). Also — partly through my exertions and partly through the hearing loss I incurred at a terrific 1983 concert by the Violent Femmes — I couldn’t make out the lyrics. At some point, as I pedaled along frantically, I lapsed into a surreal mental state in which I imagined that Lady Gaga was singing about the struggle of the individual to feel at home in a community, as experienced by one lonely member of the Workman’s Circle who’d just moved into the socialistic “coops” of the Bronx in the mid-20th century. But maybe she was really singing about sex.
In any case, I’m going back for spinning seconds this afternoon. Wish me well as I go nowhere fast.
P.S.: My training-ride cycling stats will return to this space next weekend. I had to miss last Saturday’s ride (in Marin) because I was performing in Michigan.