Ok, I don’t want to ride my bike, but a guy at the gym this past weekend sure as hell did. Going to the gym is great for people watching because contrary to popular belief, I think that people at the gym aren’t phonies trying to impress others, but rather people trying to be who they really want to be. The 98 pound weaklings lift weights, imagining that they will one day be the desire of women and the envy of other men. The overweight people workout, and even if the mirror doesn’t show it right away, they feel just a little bit thinner every time. The guys that are already hulking behemoths pose and lift in front of the mirror in the faint hope that someday they’ll be as clever and witty as that handsome blog writer who just walked by. Despite all this I try to stay humble. Then of course there’s the instructor of the cycling class. I still fail to see why anyone needs an “instructor” to tell them how to ride a bicycle that doesn’t go anywhere and never falls over. I think it must be a class for the remedial cyclists. Once they’ve mastered the stationary bike do they go outside and try a real one with training wheels? The instructor appears to be one of those people who takes himself and his job way too seriously. You know these people. They’re the ones who, although they may be doing an activity recreationally, are as well dressed and equipped as the professionals. They’re the people who when watching a professional sporting event show up in the full uniform on the off chance that they’ll be called out of the stands to participate in the game. This cycling “instructor” is one of those people. Despite the fact that the primary function of his job is to tell people, who are already sitting on bicycles, to pedal, he shows up as if he’s about to compete in the Tour De’ France. He’s in the cycling shorts. He’s got the cycling shoes specially made to prevent his feet from slipping off the pedals. And yes, he’s wearing one of those skin tight cycling shirts covered with sponsor logos and designed to be light and reduce wind resistance. I’ve walked around my gym quite a few times and I’ve never had a problem with wind resistance. If Lance Armstrong wants to show up at the local gym and instruct a class wearing his yellow jersey I’ve got no problem with that. He earned it. If he rode 1000 miles to get that jersey he deserves to sleep in it every night if he wants to. But the local gym cycling psycho seems to be overdoing it a bit in his quest for cycling greatness. As I said though, I guess he’s just trying to get a little closer to being the Lance Armstrong he is in his dreams. Sadly for him, it looks like that’s a long ride. Especially if his bike isn’t going anywhere.
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor. thephilfactor.com
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