I was thinking about this today – remember that one time I fell off of a spin bike? No? I do. Like it was yesterday. And it’s a special story about a very special girl…
Last time I was training for a 70.3, similar to this year, the beginning of training season was a nasty, snowy, rainy mess. (It’s been snowing and raining since Day 1 of training!) Naturally, I’d much prefer to be outside as much as possible, but sometimes it’s more reliable to just plan for an inside workout. And a good substitute for biking outdoors is taking a spin class.
Spinning classes are a hot commodity around here. We live in a pretty active community, lots of triathletes in town and all of us are trying to get some bike miles under our belt while the roads and trails are still covered in the snow. It seems like all of them require you to reserve a space in advance and I have a hard time planning ahead, so on this fateful evening, I found myself hitting up the spin bikes alone after the classes had cleared up – around 8 p.m. or so and the gym had (fortunately) emptied out quite a bit. The lights in the room were out and just enough light was filtering in through the glass doors for me to function, so I plugged in my headphones and went for it.
Something I have always struggled to understand is the benefit gained from the part of spin class where your bike has zero resistance and your legs are literally just spinning at the whim of the bike. Being still pretty new to the spinning scene, it struck me as both odd and a waste of class time – I get far more out of the climbs and the higher-resistance portions. Nonetheless, on this particular evening, I had decided to mimic a recent class I had taken so in between some climbs, I dove into the frantic uncontrolled spinning part of the workout.
Now, a quick note for those who haven’t been on a spin bike – there is usually some sort of hand brake that you push down on to slow the pedals. This is an important feature to remember because spin bike pedals do not slow down when you stop pedaling – not like they do on a normal bike. On spin bikes, the pedals just keep right on spinning (I’m assuming this is where they get their name…). Here’s the part where I went wrong. I stopped pedaling and as I tried to stop, my foot, trapped in the cage on the pedal, kept right on moving at Mach speed and went from flexed at the bottom of the cycle (heel driving downward) to pointed at the top of the cycle. And then my weight just rolled over that ankle and it collapsed. And I fell. Off the bike. Bruised my ego, yes indeedy. And had a doozy of a bruise on the back of my hamstring from when the back of my leg hit something as I was falling (I’m still not exactly sure what…). And that is the story of that one time I fell off of a stationary bike.
These days, I only hit the spin bike when I have no other viable options. And I skip the crazy spin part where you have no control over what your legs are doing – I pedal on, but I keep my resistance high and stay in control. Because in truth, when I’m on that crazy contraption, all I can think is, “Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall!” And I totally mean it! And sure, it’s embarrassing to be the girl that fell of a spin bike, but at least no one witnessed this ridiculously clumsy and not-at-all graceful exhibition of extreme uncoordination. But can you imagine if you were the girl who fell off a spin bike with 20 other people present?! I would probably take someone out with me as I went. Oh man, I would NEVER live that down!