Now I’m not convinced that spinning is actually a hobby, based on the fact that once a person has tried it, I can’t imagine them ever doing it again. But for blog’s sake let’s go with it.

I accidentally attended a spinning class at the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre. ‘Accidentally’ because I was in fact waiting for the Capoeira instructor to arrive for a class next door. He never did, I was all dressed up with nowhere to go to so asked the ladies hanging around what class they were waiting for. ‘Aerobiking‘. Ah. Sounds harmless enough, I’ll do that then. For legal reasons I believe the term ‘spinning’ can’t be used here, but rest assured it’s pretty much the same thing.

We entered a windowless room with 20 spinner bikes in 4 rows facing the door, with one facing back in the front. There were a few mounted fans and a disco ball hanging from the ceiling.

We selected a bike, adjusted the seat and were joined by our instructor who’d just come from giving an aerobics class. She lead us into a series of moves that I can really only describe as mild discomfort easing into muscle-burning hell. We’d fluctuate our ‘resistance’ to be stand-cycling through setting concrete or ease off to peddle as fast as our legs would go. We’d then do a combination of sitting for two peddles, standing for two peddles, repeating for a few minutes, all to the heavy beat of club tracks.

Based on the people who didn’t sneak in rests as the teacher looked away, spinning is a terrific form of fitness to tone your body. It just also happens to hurt like hell and make walking a little difficult for a few days after.

Who can we blame for spinning? A martial artist Jonathan ‘Johnny G’ Goldberg who, in the late 80s, was nearly run over one evening when cycling. This resulted in the conception of a stationary bike allowing for safer indoor training. Way to go, Johnny G.


  • Cost – £
  • Energy –Very high.
  • Sociability – You might join in for a moan on the way back to your change rooms, but otherwise during the class you’re unlikely to have any time/energy/opportunity for a chat.
  • Equipment needed – Standard gym gear.

Want to give it a go?

If for some reason you’d like to give spinning a try, most gyms and leisure centres do offer it – either for one-off classes or as a wider membership. Mine was at the Swiss Cottage Leisure centre and the only reason I might consider doing it again is as it’s the only early morning class they have mid-week, and the mornings are when I need someone shouting at motivating me the most.

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