I’m trying to exercise more, now that I have turned 29 … for the 20th time. So when I was invited to check out a new spin class, at CycleBar in the McKinney & Olive development, I decided to take it up on the offer.
I had never done a spin class before. Once, back in Beverly Hills about 15 years ago, I was invited to one, but I had not brought tennis shoes on my trip, and they couldn’t accommodate me. (They now, bowling-alley-esque, provide specialty shoes for spinners.) I have friends who spin, and had actually done photoshoots at classes… just never participated. So this was a first for me.
It did not end up being a pleasant one.
Frankly, I had always wondered what made spin class a class … as opposed to getting on an exercise cycle, which I have done often. And the class and style is something new and different. It’s led by an instructor with a headset, who talks to the class not unlike a yoga instructor. Indeed, there’s a yoga vibe to it — lots of encouragement that centers on “do what works for you” and “keep moving even if you can’t keep up” … although it seems more intensive. They actually have a leader board where all the enrollees can see how they are doing compared to others in the class. “You don’t have to look at it — you can just concentrate on your practice,” the instructor cautioned. That was mitigated, however, by the fact the leader board “awarded” a first-, second- and third-place designation. I get that you want the rah-rah of a personal trainer and the Zen of Pilates, accented by a pulsating soundtrack and disco lighting. Spinning works for a lot of people, and if you want something more personal, go to a gym; something more peaceful, seek out a guru.
It’s just that my experience was a bust. I arrived late — my fault, I know, though I did get there before the class actually began. But I didn’t get into my seat until after it had started (more on that later). The footwear needs to be hooked up, and done by someone who works there. Mine quickly became dislodged, making pedaling impossible, until another employ came back and re-attached it. But the inconvenience actually discouraged me from following the instruction — I was afraid it would come lose again so standing above the “saddle” (who knew!? We called it a “seat” in grade school!) was a no-go: Nothing worse that losing your footing going 15 miles per hour. And I wasn’t there for pre-class advice, instruction, etc. It wasn’t the ideal situation for a first-timer, I know that. I would definitely try spin class again under better circumstances.
Just not at CycleBar.
As I mentioned, I arrived late — about five minutes before class was to start. I had signed up online the day before, but apparently not successfully: When the employe at the desk asked me to find my name on the iPad, it wasn’t there. I told him I must have screwed up. “We’ll get you set up,” he promised.
But that never happened. About 15 seconds after our exchange, a woman came in with the exact same circumstances: Late; her first time at CycleBar; signed up, but not on the list. The employe promptly leapt into action … to assist her, and ignore me.
“What’s your name? How do you spell that? Let me look for it. What size shoes do you take? Can I help you find them? Here, the class is starting let’s get you into the locker room — here’s a locker for you, and this is how you set the code. Let me get you a water. We’ve got you set up!”
I was all but invisible.
I was allowed to follow and find a locker for myself that was open; when I asked to be shown how to set up the code, the employe complied; someone else got me a water. My name was never asked again; my shoe size up to me to figure out and find.
In the gay community, it’s a cliche that men over 30 are treated like vampires by all the young twinks. I don’t find that the case, necessarily, although I have found many bartenders won’t prioritize getting my drink when a flirty 25-year-old is within eye-shot. But it apparently happens in the straight world as well. Keep in mind: The woman knew she was behind me, that I was there before her; she never said, “Shouldn’t you take care of him first? I can wait.” Nope, she acted entitled and was treated that way. Must be nice.
— Arnold Wayne Jones