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A bicycle that goes nowhere

A bicycle that goes nowhere

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts/ Illustratie Janneke Swinkels

Spinning

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer.

The beginner: A spinning bicycle is of course not a bicycle. It does have handlebars, a saddle and two pedals, but that is all. Only one wheel, which turns freely. It doesn't take you anywhere. What do you do on it? Cycling, or better, you make the wheel spin. That is where the name comes from.

Lined up in battle array in the small spinning room, there are 35 bicycles with handlebars that look like bull horns, around a little stage where the instructor of the day shows you what to do, shouting out his commands and arranging the music like a true Armin van Buuren. Loud and rhythmical, and depending on the exercise, with a faster or slower beat. 

The bicycle first needs to be adjusted properly; the previous user had different proportions. The saddle has to be raised considerably, the handlebars pushed forward because you don't want to constantly hit your knees every time you turn the pedal. Adjusting is easy, just turn a knob, move things, and don’t forget to tighten the knob again and you are ready to go. Those who do this for the first time, get help from the instructor: precision is required.

There are about 25 of us today, mostly women by the way. It is not their first time; they all have their drink bottles near at hand, and a towel on the handlebars. Right, that is what I forgot. After fifteen minutes, the headband (I did remember to bring one) is saturated and the first drops fall onto the handlebars and onto the floor. Well yes, you will get hot here: easy cycling at first just to warm up, then use a knob on the frame to raise the resistance, pedal faster, standing on the pedals and make a sprint, a turn on the knob and you are back where you started, catch your breath while coasting and then change to mountain mode, where you virtually climb the Galibier for minutes. Wow. But it is doable. Especially because you can arrange things yourself. When the command comes from the stage to increase the resistance, many hands reach for the knob, but there a lot that don't. Whatever the customer wants. Great.

At the end, the drops on the floor have created a small lake. The last command is not unnecessary: clean your bicycle and the floor.

The expert: Team leader (“We have the greatest team in the whole of UM Sports”) Ruud van Oijen: “There are many prejudices, for example that spinning is only for speed cyclists. No, it is for everyone. You determine your own posture on the bicycle, as well as how fast you want to cycle. You don't need to adopt a racing posture. Old and young can participate. Injuries? You don't get any; on the contrary, if you suffer from something, you should either swim or do this. It’s ideal for rehabilitation, you don't have repeated shock loads like you get running. It is also good for cardio exercises, you briefly go really deep, then you recover again, and you are in full control all the time.”

Target group: So, for everyone

The facts: Always collect a pass at the desk, max. 35 participants. Be there on time to adjust your bicycle. Lessons last 50 minutes, during the week on average 4 times a day, once a day during the weekend. 

 

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