If you’re trying to stay in bike shape or train for an early season bike race what do you do when it’s cold, dark, snowy or all three outside? You ride your trainer! I’m fortunate to have an obsessed friend that leads a 2-1/2 hour spinning session at the local Y on Saturday mornings during the off-season. We go out in the dark and cold to lug our bikes and trainers to the Y. Then we spin endlessly going nowhere, like hamsters in cages, obediently sprinting, climbing, standing up, sitting down and recovering upon command.

It’s boring stuff to be sure. Today I was thinking about the top ten things I do to pass the time during these sessions and came up with this list.

  1. Talk to my neighbors. We’re not supposed to do this. It’s not a posted rule but our leader makes snide comments sometimes when we’re talking. We’re supposed to be working so hard it’s impossible to speak. I do it anyway.
  2. Calculate my rpm. I count the number of revolutions I’m making in 10 seconds and then multiply by 6 to get my rpm. This is exciting stuff and important, too! Am I over 100 or in the 90-95 range? If I’m at steady state should I be under 95 or over 102? Performing these calculations occupies my mind for approximately 1-1/2 minutes.
  3. Look at the girls, this needs no explanation.
  4. Stare at the floor, no explanation required on this one either.
  5. Try to see what gear others are in and then judge them for it.
  6. Figure out the artist for each song. This is legitimate and probably a good mental exercise, kind of fun too. Next time I’ll ask the leader to confirm my guesses but that will take some of the fun out of it because I will likely be wrong sometimes. Today I was always right!
  7. See how long I can go without looking at the clock. Time seems to crawl so slowly, like it’s only got one leg and one arm and is crawling over broken glass and razor blades. My record for this morning, 27 seconds.
  8. Savor a Cliff Bar. I look forward to it with eager anticipation and imagine unwrapping it’s lumpy brown shape, sampling it’s bouquet and then taking that first nibble. What flavor is it? I don’t know, they all taste the same. It’s peanut, chocolate, rice, coconut, apple, indigestible substance that gives me gas, flavor. Yum.
  9. Monitor the size of the sweat puddles under everyone’s bike. Check out the whopper pictured below. Must come from some large, hairy, Neanderthal  right? Nope, a chick. Gross.
  10. And the number one time passer when spinning, imagining I was somewhere else!


  • Mileage: no idea but I rode for 2.5 hours or so
  • Bike: Lemond Chambery, Cycleops fluid trainer
  • Weather: 75, humid and stinky
  • Route: none