12/05/2017 07:38 BST | Updated 12/05/2017 07:38 BST

On Spin Cycle

I've climbed a mountain, I've been on live radio, I've been on tv, I have made an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony, I've done an indoor free fall, been on rollercoasters (I hate them), I ran 5k without stopping and I've given talks and presentations many times, but today I took on a challenge that intimidated me more than all those things put together. I attended my first spin class.

The only previous time I sat on a spin bike was seven years ago as part of a warm-up pre-bootcamp session. It lasted less than five seconds. When I attempted to put my foot in the caged pedal, the other pedal spun into my free calf and gashed it severely requiring me to receive first aid. You can see why I was put off. That's the second time I've been injured by a piece of gym equipment but that's another story.

In preparation, I laid out what I thought to be appropriate gym gear the night before. I also read a few online articles about what to expect. The first piece led me to rethink every item of clothing as it was all wrong -- including the trainers. Good news though, nobody has ever fallen off a spin bike, although apparently I would think I may be the first person to disprove that theory.

I mentally prepared myself and nothing else I read was all that bad. I kept telling myself that I was doing something good and kind for my body even though it would probably hate me for it. It may well report me for abuse but I have to admit that the desire to get fit and lose weight is ever so slightly greater than my fear to spin.

I suddenly remembered that many moons ago, I purchased a pair of padded cycling shorts for a bike that I bought and rode three times before selling it.

I looked everywhere but it would appear they have also long gone even though the helmet remains -- just in case I rent a Boris Bike or whatever they're called these days. To my great joy, I discovered a padded bicycle seat cover at the bottom of a box. Yes!

The time arrived and I dressed in cycling shorts and clingy wicker fabric top as advised. I grabbed a towel, some water, wipes, deodorant, sweat bands and off I went. I walked to the gym repeating my mantra all the way there: If I can climb a mountain; I can do a half an hour spin class.

I went straight to the studio 15 minutes early and the instructor, Leon, was there.

There was already a towel -- holiday poolside style -- reserving one particular bike. I chose mine, fitted the padded seat and Leon helped me to adjust all the settings and got me on the thing without injury. Hurrah! That felt like an achievement.

People started to arrive and I told Leon that should I cry, he was to ignore me. The lights went out, the music started and I began to pedal.

My first thought was, unsurprisingly, "I'm the first person who's ever going to fall off a bike," my second was, "thank God for the padded seat cover".

The smell in the room at the half-way mark wasn't pleasant but I was still pedalling so I didn't really care. I can't lie, I didn't do exactly everything that Leon told us to do mainly due to my thighs shaking but I tried my best, pedalled hard and didn't fall off.

When it was all over, I was so happy -- more that it was over than I'd actually made it through. I slowly dismounted to avoid last minute gashing and my legs gave way. I felt like a jelly.

After endless stretching, I made my way home albeit like a person with no leg bones. I probably looked drunk. I checked my phone and my friend had texted to ask if the saddle cover had helped. I honestly don't know how people manage without because no, it did not help. I felt like I'd been shafted by a huge stallion.

Did I enjoy it? No.

Why? It was tough going and it hurt.

Will I go again? Yes.


I have a feeling it's going to work. Much like the spin cycle on my washing machine. Fast & furious does the job.