Adios, Spin Classes

This past month I canceled one of my gym memberships. It’s sort of a long story, but I had maintained two gym memberships since switching jobs in October, and a cost-benefit analysis led me to the decision to keep only one.

Wheel on pavement

I was surprisingly sad to cancel my membership, but I could not rationalize keeping it. Primarily, I was bummed because I would no longer be going to the spin classes I’d attended over the past three years.

Spin taught me some important things about cycling. It was the main reason I purchased a heart rate monitor and, through spin, I learned about how my heart rate changes with short intense efforts.

I learned that riding with the D.C. Randonneurs will make you awesome at mastering the effort of a long steady climb.

I gained greater understanding about the gradual escalation of my heart rate through a heavy flat road, and how to control my breathing through it.

I could practice sprinting all out on a stationary spin bike, and not have to worry aobut traffic or stop lights or overexertion or other cyclists looking at me strangely.

I learned about how my heart rate won’t respond to an effort if my body is overly fatigued from a ride.

Whenever I wanted, I could declare myself the winner of spin class. After all, none of us were really going anywhere, anyway.

I learned what songs are awesome for spin. Radiohead’s “Bodysnatchers” is perfect for all-out sprinting, and so is Cafe Tacuba’s “Eo.” Metric’s “Gold Guns Girls” is ideal for intervals and Uh Huh Her’s “Wait Another Day” is great background music for a long steady climb.

I loved conversing with my instructor about our various upcoming events and chatting after class about our training.

I’m not going to miss shelling out the monthly membership dues, but I am going to miss my weekly spin classes.

However, I felt ridiculous riding my bicycle to the gym to ride a bike that went nowhere inside a dimly lit room with a rockin’ soundtrack. It was an irony I could not tolerate.

I now have a heart rate monitor that allows me to study my efforts whenever I want. I have easy access to a lightly populated 3.2-mile loop that would easily allow me to replicate the spin class environment.

The point of attending spin was to gain a greater understanding of my level of effort as a cyclist and to practice short intense bursts of power. I’ve figured that out.

It was one thing to walk to the gym and hop on a spin bike. It’s a totally different feeling when a trip to a spin class requires a bike ride. As I said, it’s too ironic. I’m happy for all that I learned through the past couple of years’ spin classes, but it’s time to move on.

No sense locking up a bike outside the gym to ride a bike inside. Time to ride uninterrupted in the great outdoors, applying the principles of spin to the “real world.” After all, that was my initial intention.

I sure will miss the soundtrack, though.


  1. If you find the 3.2 mile loop unsatisfactory for sprint and interval training, you might consider using a wind or fluid trainer just for those workouts. The fit is perfect since you’re on your own bike, and you have the benefits of a controlled environment. I still prefer training on the road, but lots of people do their dedicated power workouts this way.


    1. Hi! I have not considered using any types of trainers as of yet. I actually don’t know what either of those are. Could you explain them more fully?


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