Yesterday I did two things I knew I’d regret. Now I’m regretting them. In the morning I went to my first exercise bike class, and last night I stayed up til 4 a.m. reading Ayalguita’s Cloud from start to finish and uploading photos. So here I am, with calf muscles that whimper if I try to get my heels within two inches of the floor, and the dry eyes and fuzzy head of a post-binge addict. I had fun yesterday!
Actually, I didn’t get on with the bike class at all. When Fitness First opened, I checked out all the gear and facilities, did a private Snoopy Spring Dance of delight, and made a mental list of things to do now, in due course, and absolutely uh-uh, never, no way. The weights and the bike room were the only things on the no way list: the weights because I’m only 5’ 2” (1.57m) and broad shouldered, and I want to emerge from my homage to M. Michelin as a trim little eggtimer (Hourglasses are taller.) not a caricature of an 1970s East German shot-putter; and the bike room because it’s dark, definitely not equipped with British Personal Space in mind, and the bikes are bolted to the floor. Now to me, a bike ride is a practical method for getting from A to B and/or a full-on one-woman sensory buzz - energetic yes, sweaty, probably, and sometimes, when you’re cold, wet, tired, and grimly grinding up a gradient that only a sissy would get off and push up, about as much fun as tooth-ache. But otherwise: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (No, I haven’t had a bike in years, and no, I don’t think I have the nerve or immune system to join the eco-warriors snorting diesel fumes in rush-hour traffic the world over.) What a bike ride isn’t, is a frenzied, disco-driven, tight-pack simulation of a Tour de France night stage. Nooooooooo!
So that was that, no problem, til I met someone who loved the bike room, found the darkness comforting in her pre-Olympian form, loved the drive and variety of a typical session and knew a fantastic – gasp - cardio-vascular – pant - work-out when she – gasp-pant-gasp – got one.
Well ok – game if not exactly enthusiastic, I gave it a shot.
Short answer: nope. Not for me.
I should have known that as the woman who fell off the cross-trainer when little brother took her to his gym in England, and who fell off the treadmill in her first week at FF (Well of course it’s possible – you never heard of gravity?) that anything involving maintaining a rhythm on a machine, in the dark, with my toes strapped to the pedal, was going to end in tears. Well, almost. The instructor was good (cute, too…) and the woman next to me very kind to a nervous newbie baffled by adjustable handlebars, seat and shaft. For a while there, I was doing it. But then I had to 1) use my brain (in the sweaty, pounding, disco dark) and 2) go with the flow. Er… what?
After half an hour, every instinct was flashing red. Think? Adjust resistance? Stand up? Sit down? At this speed? With my toes in a doodad? Remember, disbelieving reader, to a woman who can fall off a cross-trainer and a treadmill, being thrown by an exercise bike is merely the logical next step. Logic + disco-darkness + doodads = escalating anxiety = EXIT PLAN.
And so, 30 minutes into the class, and with the speakers blasting “It’s time to stop.” (Maybe I’m not the first….) I dismounted, nodded sheepishly at the instructor, and tottered out of there.
The rest of the class kept pounding away for another half-hour, and emerged glowing, just as I do from Body Balance (Pilates-meets-Tai Chi-meets-Yoga) Body Jam (Hip-hop-meets-Jazz-meets-Latin-meets-Oooooh allsorts!) and using the machines. It has to be said that I’m not much good at them either, yet, but I really enjoy them, and I feel so much better on a day-to-day basis - looser, more upright, more co-ordinated - that stronger and trimmer and better balanced has to be out there somewhere. Each to her own!
Anyway, Habibi has got off the Internet and gone for a Brisk Walk, so I’m going to post this, and hobble off for a long bath full of Muscle Soak Radox. Nnnnnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhhhhhh………
And I’m going to take down the Palestinian dress pics I was struggling with last night, and have another go later, because I think I might have got the hang of it now. Confidence – the triumph of optimism over experience. There are some advantages to a flat learning curve.