Went with my kid to swimming lessons on Saturday. It was raining, and there was only one bike in the racks. It wasn't mine. I don't have wet weater gear for the little one.

As I walked in, I noticed there was a group on the stationary bikes. I counted 12 people roughly. So it's spinning 12, and normal biking scored 1. Is it just me, or does it seem like a bad idea to drive, then pay someone so you can sit on a stationary bike? I know I'm preaching to the converted, and my missus always says I'm unrealistic.

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Comment by Colin on July 28, 2010 at 2:43pm
Always thought the same thing. Pay money to sit on a stationary bike amidst a bunch of sweaty people listening to crappy music when you could be outside riding through a park? Even crazier are the people on treadmills cos a bike costs money and there is a safety fear around it, but walking and running are free and "safe".

I think people have developed a preference for pre-packaged experiences. Paying money for the gym experience makes people feel like they're doing "something" - after all it cost something. Going for a walk or run or bike ride is too free-form and just plain free - how could you know there's any benefit without the presence of a uniformed expert to reassure you, and the receipt in your wallet that tells you you've paid?
Comment by Davidtcr on July 28, 2010 at 2:57pm
In general I would rather be outside riding, however this equipment can be quite good for giving a structured workout.

For example on a spin bike it is very easy to do 1 min hard effort, 1 min rest, etc; while doing this on the road can be problematic due to traffic, pedestrians, intersections, etc. When I was running I found that using a treadmill kept me honest as you can ensure that your hard efforts really are hard, both in speed and duration.
Comment by Susan on July 28, 2010 at 3:13pm
A friend who is a very keen road cyclist does spin class with his wife. She's pregnant and just didn't have the confidence while pregnant to ride on the road at the speed he generally trains. So he rides on the road with his group before work then joins her after work for spin class. He said it's a nice way to keep fit and support her at the same time.

Meanwhile I am recovering from injury and using a trainer to make my bike a stationary bike so I can still ride while recovering.

Lots of reasons people choose to ride a spin class and just because they are not on the road riding does not make spin class people bad people. They are keeping fit in their own way and who knows maybe the spin class may convert people to be everyday cyclists on the road too.
Comment by Kim on July 28, 2010 at 3:31pm
Edward, I used to have the same thought but when i got an injury and I couldn't do my usual aerobics and aqua classes I thought I would give spin a go. I used spin classes as my extra training for my two week holiday tour and I felt really fit and strong and even bet Noel up a pass (something that never happens).

I ride my bike to the gym but there is something very different about spin classes. There are a few other cyclists in the class (including some roadies) so I guess I am not the only idiot.
Comment by Edward Re on July 28, 2010 at 3:57pm
Sorry, I don't mean to imply that these people are evil. The thing is how they get to the gym. They could be burning extra kJ getting there. It is possible they all walked there though.
Comment by Kim on July 28, 2010 at 4:15pm
Edward, I ride my bike or walk to the gym and it does strike me as dumb when I see people driving to the gym. I possibly live further than most of the people that I encounter in the classes but I am one of only a few who ride or walk there. Having said that the bike rack at my gym is getting full these days.
Comment by timothy.clifford on July 28, 2010 at 5:37pm
After getting squeezed between two state buses once, my wife demanded I stop cycle commuting. We settled on a gym membership as a compromise and started going to spin class together. I vomited after my first one. They are tough. But boring. As are the stationary bikes. I just didn't have the same motivation or desire. Turns out I really like cornering.
Comment by Kerry on July 28, 2010 at 10:06pm
@timothy.clifford "Turns out I really like cornering. "

I used to use the gym (in the building where I live) more often before I started riding my bike for transport. I even rode the stationary bike now and then.

After I started riding everywhere, I stopped using the stationary bikes at the gym.

However, two years ago, there was a time when I fell off my bike and landed on my hands. I didn't ride my bike for three weeks because my wrists hurt too much.

In that time, I tried riding a stationary bike. (With those, I can get away with not putting as much weight on my wrists.)

I pedalled hard enough to sway the stationary bike. It seemed like fun at first because the swaying emulated the feeling of riding a moving bike. It wasn't so much fun when I almost tipped the machine over though. xD
Comment by Daniel S on July 28, 2010 at 10:12pm
driving a car to the gym, and picking the closest possible car parking spot is so ridiculous. makes no sense to me.

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