New York City, NY

New York City's Outdoor Spinning Classes

Michael Loren

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I have just one thing to say: the spinning bike is the most uncomfortable apparatus that has ever been invented since the dawn of man. By far. Obviously, I took my first spinning class today at Soul Cycle in New York City. Well, I should say with Soul Cycle. Not in. We were set up in a lovely location in the brisk morning New York air.

No, I don't know why it has taken me so long to try it. Yes, I understand that everyone but me in the world has spun (perhaps not the appropriate past tense). I am a total gym rat, but I had successfully avoided those dark sweaty rooms like the plague . . . until today. I figured today was a good day to "put the bike pedal to the metal" as it were. Let me tell you now. Spinning hurts. Not muscle hurts, but bones-on-a-really-pointy-bike-seat hurts. For real.

I went to the outdoor bike location, picked a bike toward the rear of the group and told the instructor that I was a newbie. The guy looked like my friend Chris' uncle Vito from Jersey. Sixty-ish, grey, and balding with the inimitable Jersey accent and swagger. He gave me a quick spinning tutorial (hand positions 1-3 and what to do if my foot slips out of the cage-like contraption on the front of the pedal), told me to "have fun, doll", and then we were off.

I guessed after we started that it all might be different inside, but thanks to the pandemic, I could enjoy a little sunshine and fresh air. It was a crisp morning and I almost could imagine gliding around an alp or something. Almost. I still was in New York City, so the smell of feces and subway weren't too far from my nose.

When the class started, I was a little confused, but I tuned in to the teacher and tried to get the hang of it. We spent the next hour sitting, standing, and sprinting on the bikes. By the half hour, I preferred the standing (even though my quads and glutes disagreed with me) because by butt bones hurt from the horn-shaped seat.

"Can I get a cushy one?" Unfortunately, there was very little variation in our spinning exercises. There are only so many times you can "go up a hill" or change from standing to sitting (which kills the quads). My mind started to wander.

Then a remix of Pump Up the Jam came blasting through the speakers. I suddenly was reminded of my younger years when I would go into my room, close my eyes, and just listen to music (Paula Abdul's Straight Up, anyone?). I closed my eyes and enjoyed the ride as much as I could.

I also looked around at my panting cohorts and thought, we're doing this together. That was a really encouraging moment. The momentum of the group energy lifted me and carried me through the end of the class. It's very rare that you get a bunch of New Yorkers outside of the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre to do anything together. In that aspect, this spinning outdoor pop up was super successful.

After an hour, I felt proud to have explored a new form of workout, but a little disappointed. I guess I had imagined that more happened during a spinning class. It's always good to switch up your workouts, though, so I felt good knowing that I have another workout option for the future. Maybe I'll do it again one day when I want to feel like a teenager again. I disingaged from the pack and carried on with my lovely day just a little more tired.

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Professional writer and journalist with concentration in data analysis. I specialize in interpreting data to give you unbiased, understandable information related to the state of California.

Los Angeles, CA
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