“August 18th is months away!” Yes it was, in April. It’s now the end of June and I’m realizing that I’d better get on my bike. Not just my beach cruiser either. That’s not say that I don’t do any riding at all – I do – on a spin bike.
Most days I go to a spin class [at SPINCO in Victoria] and I do wind sprints and hill climbs, fast jogs and races. I leave the class soaked in sweat, a little high on endorphins and feeling like I really worked out, feeling like I am conditioned and feeling like I am a rider.
But reality always hits me in the summer when I hop on my bike up at Shawnigan Lake and go for a ride around the lake or a ride to Cowichan Bay and grasp the fact that my body speaks a different language: spin.
My first real bike riding experience was four years ago. I was booked on a vacation of scenic bike rides in the hills of Tuscany. We would be riding to beautiful wineries each day where we would be sample some of the world’s most delicious grapes. I packed a different sundress for each day and cute sneakers or sandals in which to ride. I pictured a basket with olives, cheeses and bread on the front of my bike and small rolling hills which would only challenge my hair product meant to tame my frizzy mop.
I could not have been more wrong.
I was the only rider who didn’t bring her own shoes. And I was so grateful to my husband for throwing in a pair of riding shorts that I insisted I would not wear.
Luckily, riding is part of Italian culture. Cars give riders wide berth. Other riders acknowledge one another. And helping someone new to riding, is a time for patience. Unfortunately, the hills are not gentle slopes, but long, steep, winding climbs. And the descent seemed less like a reward and more like a terrifying drop. But an experience I will never forget.
I am openly a fair weather participant – to almost everything. This is what makes spin class a way to stay in shape, on a bike, all year round. It’s a 50 minute workout and I don’t have to do any bike maintenance at all.
Remarkably, I have managed to fall off the stationary bike (leaving minor scrapes and bruises), so I can’t even say it’s so much safer.
But there is a definite sense of security in spin gym. No cars that speed by way too closely. No cyclists breathing down my neck, who I might injure by causing a crash. No gravel or potholes. No puddles or water run-off to cross. No speed bumps. No traffic lights. No falling off a wobbling bike. No tipping over when you just can’t get unclipped. I have a “spin sister”, my exercise partner, who keeps me going and a crew of young fit, fun (mostly) females who inspire me daily.
Leaving the security of a gym is the biggest challenge for me in taking on the Tour de Victoria. And then there’s the helmet head…
7 weeks until the big day. This is the week I drag out the road bike and make sure it’s tuned up for the season. Unless I procrastinate a little longer.
-Sandi Piercy is a Real Estate Advisor with Engel & Volkers Vancouver Island. She is a member of SPINCO Victoria and is looking forward to seeing if her hours on the spin bike translate well to the road bike in August.