There’s only one thing better than being on a real bike, under the sun, in the open air: it’s spinning on a stationary bike, sitting in a dark room smelling something like a cross between Limburger cheese and your uncle’s taint. At least that’s what Attorney Barry Trilling – a partner at New Haven’s Wiggin and Dana – will try to tell you. He recently became a Spinning Instructor at GoGreen Fitness in Orange and he bought a headset microphone to let everyone know he’s serious. (Read the full article here).
Trilling is one of thousands of middle-aged, velo-phobic men Spinning their love handles away to the sounds of Foreigner at fitness centers all across the country. It’s the latest in a long line of trendy exercise novelties that captures the average American’s thirst for adventure coupled with his fear of getting dirty.
What is Spinning? you ask. I’ll let google handle this:
As you can see if you click on the image, once you find out “what spinning class is” and/or “what spinning exercise is” the next most popular search query happens to be “what is spinning good for.” I think that pretty much sums it up, but I’ll expound. Spinning gets rid of all the great things about cycling – the fresh air, the open road, the ability to dictate your own pace – and accentuates the single most unpleasant aspect: sweating. Sounds fun, right?
Remember the Nordic Track Skier? We all know the Nordic Track Skier replaced the treadmill, just like Tae Bo replaced Tai Chi, and Pilates supplanted Yoga. So it should be fairly obvious that Spinning has replaced the Stairmaster as a viable form of exercise, and if this pattern continues it will be succeeded by an equally asinine fad that attempts to simulate a real-world experience. My guess is that virtual wood chopping will become very popular next year.
Trilling will lean on his Southern California roots for his classes. Part of the spinning process is visualizing the simulated ride, and Trilling describes hill climbing along the Pacific Coast Highway and high-speed sprints through the Palm Springs desert.
“I try to take people on a road ride,” he said. “Teaching is a lot of fun because you’re talking people through the process.”
That quote must have gotten cut off. Let me try to finish: Teaching is a lot of fun because you’re taking people through the process [of abandoning a legitimate form of transportation and recreation for a much lamer experience… Did I mention that our bikes don’t move?]
Only in suburban America would someone conceive this illegitimate, hideous and deformed child of cycling and then nurture it to adulthood. And to make matters worse, Spinners are now trying to mask their bastard child by hawking it as some form of eco-friendly technology.
As it turns out, Trilling, in addition to being a spokesman for Huggies Ultra Dry, also represents several green clients including Green Revolution of Ridgefield. And, it so happens that Green Revolution is all about converting human power into energy. I’m assuming that means they’ve discovered some way of converting old guy sweat into oil. Trilling even admits they’ve been collecting it,
“After you hit that first hump of exertion, you don’t think about it,” Trilling said of the intensity. “But by the time you’re 20 or 25 minutes into it, there will be a bucket of sweat on the floor.”
And with the help of Green Revolution that bucket of sweat may just fuel a car or fry a hamburger.
So what’s the fuss?
To me, the fact that they’re generating electricity only makes their behaviour slightly less annoying. Let’s face it, Orange, Connecticut being the suburb that it is, doesn’t give you many energy-saving options, so this power-generating scheme is really just a band-aid trying to cover a deep gash. The serious energy problems that suburban towns face are not going to be resolved by going to the gym.
I’m assuming the Spinners are all driving sedans or worse to get to GoGreen fitness. So that requires a shit-load of energy, not only to build the car, but of course to drive it. They might stop at Starbucks to sit in the drive-thru and order a Latte with skim milk on their way. That’s like rubbing salt in an open wound if you’ve ever considered the real price of gasoline. More than likely, the home they return to is a single dwelling on at least 1 acre of land. It may even have some green technology inside, but the fact remains that it’s sucking up a lot more energy than a moderately efficient, multi-family house in a neighborhood with a good walk score.
If these guys really wanted to “go green” they would ditch their cars and SUVs, and ride a bike to and from work. If you’re in good shape and you can’t do that, then you live too far from work. I’ll even give these guys the benefit of the doubt: maybe they’re sweating indoors now so that they can become healthy enough to bike to work in the Spring. That’s wishful thinking.
Is GoGreen’s Spinning class going to save the world? No.
Is spinning even fractionally as enjoyable as riding a bike? Nope.
Is it better than sitting on your ass? It pains me to say this but, yes, Spinning is better than sitting on your ass. I will surrender that.