Fourteen people turned up to last week’s spinning class.

One fewer than the expected fifteen.

Such minor absenteeism normally goes unnoticed, of course.

But not today.

Because today’s absent person was Jenny.

The instructor.


At start-o’clock, we were told by an apologetic young Health Centre chap that Jenny was on a beach in Majorca, instead of on a bike in a Health Centre in Northumberland.

And from that second, the Spinning Class was no longer a Spinning Class.

It was a Social Experiment.

The Social Experiment.

The apologetic young Health Centre chap bluetoothed music into the otherwise silent room.

Before smiling and shuffling away, to ‘do his best’ (with zero minutes notice and on a Bank Holiday) to find a replacement instructor.

We weren’t hopeful.

But we were cycling.

And the Social Experiment began.

The Fourteen.

The fourteen, didn’t look at each other.

Two ladies chatted.

And another two.

And it was these four that, before anybody else, muttered something about ‘coffee’, abandoned their bikes, wiped them down – and left.

And then we were ten.

20 Minutes. 

By the time I’d been cycling for 20 minutes, I think I was in competition with another 50odd year old chap right next to me.

I think we were both imagining we were neck-and-neck as we silently counted kilometres and calories.

Two more people left.

Then two more.

Leaving six.


The spontaneous Social Experiment continued.

And to raise the stakes and alleviate the boredom.

(And address the cramp in my right calf).

I stood up and started to do that bounce thing.

A few seconds later, other 50odd man next to me did too.

I pretended not to notice of course.

Just as I pretended that standing up and bouncing on pedals was easy.

I was unconvincing at both.

When I eventually sat down, other 50odd year old man remained standing, as we approached the 40 minute mark.

45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, the race that wasn’t really a race, was over.

Two more people had left, so just four remained.

I dismounted first, made a hilarious comment about the last remaining cycler winning a bun, and left.


As I sat in my car a little later, I was pleased that I’d had a little workout.

And it was fun!

Funner than I had imagined.

Silent, structureless freewheeling with strangers.

And the thing I felt best about was the presence of the two ingredients that reap the best rewards in any area of my life really.

Even though I was slow and chuggy and spent half the time with no clue if what I was doing was ‘right’.

“First, I turned up.”

I thought, between bites of my two Greggs bacon sandwiches.

“Second, I stay the distance.”

As I moved the Greggs Yum Yums to one side in order to grab my flat white.

“And that,”

I thought to myself,

“Is why I shall very soon have the body of an athlete.”

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