Top image: Alvin Tan / Facebook
You’ll know if you have friends who regularly take spin classes. They’ll let you know through their Instagram stories, bring it up in casual conversation, or invite you to take a class with them.
During a spin class, willing participants hover over a stationary bike, pedal to nightclub music and perform choreography. Tap, tap, jump, repeat. Okay, now for double time.
Training usually takes place within the confines of a darkened studio with strobe lights. Sometimes, however, special spin classes are held outside of these studios. Redditors recently slammed the spin course at Jewel Changi Airport for blocking the walkway.
“Never has a group of people moved so much, gone so far, and yet somehow managed to annoy the world,” comments the Redditor. Another describes the class as an “eyesore.”
The idea of spinning ducks couldn’t be a more perfect analogy for Singaporeans on stationary bikes going nowhere as an easy target for criticism. It’s almost too easy.
Let them spin.
Clearly, spin classes have successfully moved into the limelight. From free Instagram stories to their lively spectacles on public platforms, it’s safe to say spin lovers aren’t exactly shy.
Perhaps it is also this lackluster publicity of the spin classes that has unwittingly unleashed an outpouring of vitriol from Singaporeans.
Indeed, it is undeniable that the class connotations associated with spin classes contribute to the prejudiced perception of it as a status symbol. When we think of spin enthusiasts, we imagine office ladies decked out in Lululemon gear, gracefully juggling their bento-box salads and $8 cafe-roasted lattes as they rush to their nearest spin studio.
The exercise itself seems secondary when it comes to the ability of these stationary bikes to belong to some in the “group”.
To be clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong with participating in spin culture solely for the sake of posting that post-spin sweat selfie. We are all guilty of it. If that workout didn’t show up on your social media, can you really say you’ve worked out at all?
Let’s also not discredit the countless others who are attached to their stationary bikes for reasons beyond that Instagrammable dopamine hit.
Fitness, stress relief, and endorphin-seeking are all thought to be possible reasons. After all, for those actively participating in this trendy fitness trend, what’s wrong with combining their desire for a healthy lifestyle with social currency?
Also, for women, who often encounter more perverts than they would like, spin classes, with their predominantly female demographic, appear as a sanctuary.
Spin classes in public arenas like Jewel Changi Airport can be a fun way for participants to break away from their traditional gym routine.
We see this trend manifest in a kaleidoscope of fitness escapades; zumba aunties turn mall side entrances into spirited dance floors; neighborhood uncles doing tai chi on empty HDB decks; Outdoor yoga workshops held at Marina Bay Sands. Yet we hardly afford them the same level of scrutiny and criticism.
Wheels of Rage
The mere sight of these fitness junkies seems to cause a unique burning sensation of indignation. But why this disproportionate anger towards these pedal-racing lovers?
That may be the exclusivity that spin classes carry. The criticism surrounding spin has a deeper grievance, alluding to preconceived notions of spinners as the same white-collar office workers decked out in Lululemon gear.
Perhaps it alludes to their financial ability to pay for space in public spaces, but also indirectly to pay for their ability to disrupt some of the peace. Just like class at Jewel.
It’s also about the sheer absurdity of it all.
The irony is obvious. stationary bikes, originally created for the convenience of indoor cycling, are now spreading to tourist attractions, taking over some of the public space.
But above all, perhaps what angers Singaporeans the most is the frivolous extravagance behind spin classes. We’ve taken the step of riding a bike and dazzled it with strobe lighting and boogie studios.
And now, we’ve taken it one step further by taking the class outdoors. Infiltrating public space seems to be the next step in its excessive arrogance.
The unfortunate thing about spin is that it has always had haters. A community with a strong identity will be met by an equally strong community of critics and detractors.
Criticism of indoor cycling is inevitable, despite how difficult and strenuous the actual effort is.
But criticism can just as easily turn into senseless hatred. And senseless hatred can easily undermine those who are just hoping to carry their heart through the day.
Perhaps the most acceptable form of criticism explores that line between reasonable criticism and irrational anger; between incidences of inconvenience and perceptions of exceptionalism for the well-off.
Anything that attacks people on bikes instead of the inconveniences caused by the mass of bodies throttling with incredible effort and going nowhere is just vile. No matter how additionally, Some Singaporeans really want to exercise, even if that exercise is in the middle of Changi Airport.
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