My adorable wife gave me a certificate for 12 classes at Pure Indoor Cycling as a Christmas present. It’s a thoughtful gift that says, “I love you, I know you enjoy biking and maybe lose a few pounds while you’re at it.”
Plus, the first class is free. So, I have 13 shots to lose 400 to 600 calories per session and try to regain the shape that fit into my wedding suit.
The Pure Indoor Cycling studio is in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood, on the ground floor of the Pacific Western Bank Building. It’s exactly five blocks from my downtown condo, so, an easy Uber ride. Just kidding. I take a Lyft. No really, I ride my own bike.
I like indoor cycling, and have taken classes at 24 Hour Fitness and EOS Fitness. There have been good and bad instructors; same goes for the upbeat and/or distracting music playlists that define those instructors. I like 24 Hour and EOS, but they are high school auditoriums compared to the symphony hall that is Pure.
SUPERIOR INDOOR CYCLING
In fact, Pure calls its cycling room a “theater,” which is equipped with a concert quality sound system, a pair of TVs and LED lighting displays. It’s filled with 30 clean and shiny Next Generation stationary bikes with spiffy, smooth drive trains, EcoSCRN console displays and a SprintShift custom resistance dial. These are the Teslas of indoor bikes.
You have to reserve a spot ahead of time, because classes fill quickly. Especially, I’m told, if Katie is the instructor. By sheer holiday miracle, I get into Katie’s class on one-day notice. “Katie will kick your booty,” the young woman tells me on the phone when I register for her 45-minute Pure Rhythm class at 9 a.m. on a Saturday.
As much as I enjoy an indoor cycling workout, I’ve never been keen on wearing those clip-in biking shoes. I’m old school—a sneaker-in-a-stirrup kinda guy. At Pure, however, everybody must clip in. If you don’t have your own LOOK Deltas or SPD cleats, Pure will give you loaners. Again, this is not an option, and it takes me by surprise.
After a quick tour, I’m handed a pair of black, Velcro-lace clip-ins (ahh, that’s why the registration form asked for shoe size). When Katie the Booty Kicker opens the theater door I file in with these alien shoes on my feet. I go to my assigned bike and stand on the left pedal—to get a feel for where to set the height of my seat. Accidentally, though, my shoe clips in. I’m stuck!
Katie is already speaking into her DJ microphone headset in a perky voice that reminds me of the actor Kate Hudson. The lights are dimming. With one foot now unrelentingly clipped in, I attempt to adjust my bike’s seat and handlebars. That done, after more than a half dozen tries I get my right shoe clipped into the right pedal—just before the first song of the class roars through the theater speakers.
BIG BIKING SHOES TO FILL
As advertised, Katie is indefatigably upbeat. The house lights rise and fall as her dance grooves start and end. She has us lean up and down; bend left and right; scrunch forward and back. She’s a whirling dervish. I try to mirror her moves but there’s no comparison. She’s a yoga-pants-clad Ninja—a Spinja, if you will. I’m an oafish wannabe who is primarily consumed by concern about how to unclip my shoes when the class is over.
Katie leaps off her bike to intermingle within the rows of her peon pedalers, to scrutinize and correct our form. Then she’s back up on her mount at center stage, waving her hands up in the air, but like she really does care.
Wait, why is she holding five-pound dumbbells in each hand? Looking around the room, I notice everybody else had a pair of tiny weights, too. I’d forgotten to pick them up at the door on the way in. I fake my way through the arm-weight exercises.
Then Katie cues up a new song. “Has anybody seen The Greatest Showman?” she asks. I have not. Nor would I have been likely to search on Spotify for Kesha’s “This Is Me” from the movie’s soundtrack. Katie gives us 3 minutes and 50 seconds—the length of this modern show tune—to do our own thing on the bike. We are free, she says, to think about our day, get motivated, resolve to achieve things in the New Year.
My mind wanders. Hmm, I believe my wife mentioned she wanted to see The Greatest Showman. Maybe I should take her to see it? You know what else? It’s been far too long since I wrote about any downtown goings-ons for my SpokenSD blog. I’m going to go home and do just that! My booty is truly and duly motivated.
First, though, I gotta unclip my shoes from these Next Generation bike pedals. After Katie calls it a wrap and the music cuts, my neighbor on the next bike informs me that you hit a button on the resistance dial to release the shoe clips. It works. I wriggle my feet free. This is me.