Bike Hell

Last night, I went to a 50 minute (not 2 hours, as previously reported) INDOOR spinning class with my pal, Danielle.

It was totally alien and repulsive to me. You had to bring your own bike, set it up on a fancy trainer with digital readouts and whatnot, then pedal along to a video displayed on the wall showing other people biking…OUTSIDE. There were all kinds of complexities to the trainers, and your stats were displayed up on the screen, overlaying the video. They had mediocre music playing and the class leader spent most of the time giving us a sales pitch about why we should spend $150/month to take our bikes to their facility and train.

Were I in the customer demographic for this place, the sales pitch might have been compelling. It was basically that doing the class thrice weekly would improve your power and performance for bike racing. You know…to be more like Lance Armstrong.

I am not a racer. In fact, I find bike racer type people to be arrogant dickwads a lot of the time, and I wouldn’t want to join any club that would have them as members. These are the people who, when you are out on a bike ride, race past you screaming “ON YOUR LEFT!” just inches from your left flank, even though they have an entire road width available to them. My first impulse is to punch them in the nut sack, but they fly by too fast for me to do that. Scares the sh!t out of me when they appear out of nowhere thinking they are entitled to the whole road, but mainly the thin strip I am riding on. It’s often a hazard in traffic too.

But this bike spinning class venue markets exclusively to this demographic. I would never in a million years pay money to spend any amount of time in a room with such douchebags. In fact, you’d have to pay me to do it. And a lot more than $150. Maybe I am being too harsh and generalizing too much. This is probably a case where a few bad apples give the whole group a bad reputation. But there are enough bad apples to deter me. I speculate that the racer types have Lance Armstrong Envy. Let’s face it…they are strong bikers…but they will never be Lance Armstrong strong, and that’s got to be frustrating. So they take it out on weaker bikers to make them feel better about themselves. Typical bully mentality, and I don’t subscribe to it.

I bike for fun and exercise. I don’t care if I increase my pedaling power by 10%. As long as I can handle most terrain and get from point A to point B, I’m good.

The class was free, offered to members of the Capital Brewery Bike Club in Madison, of which I am a member, and which does have a large proportion of douchy bikers (but also a lot of normal ones, who I ride with, which is why I joined). So they targeted their marketing appropriately, it is just that I was an outlier.

I can’t fault the bike gym for offering a free class to try to recruit people. I just can’t think of anything less enticing than dishing out discretionary money I don’t have to bike indoors in the winter time with people I mostly abhor. I have a bike trainer at home. It doesn’t have any electronics or digital readouts. But it works and I can hook my bike up to it for FREE. I’d rather watch Netflix while exercising than a team of bike jocks up on a screen tooling down actual roadways out in nature. (Note: Did you see what I did there? I said “tooling” in reference to bike jocks, making a subconscious reference for my readers that these chaps are complete tools).

It is surprising to me that other people have this kind of throwaway money to do a membership based class like this regularly. I guess the venue draws from Madison WI suburbs of Middleton and Fitchburg where a lot of “white flight” type higher income yuppies dwell. I went to a veterinarian in Fitchburg when I first moved to Madison, and their prices and marketing tactics were all aimed at wealthier “animals-are-people-too” types with oodles of discretionary income to throw around. I found a much more down to earth and economical vet soon thereafter.

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