The free-market economy has served us well in the U.S. But for all its strong points, it is not perfect. One of the unintended consequences of free markets is their tendency to encourage people to buy things they either do not need or cannot afford. A case in point is the sport of indoor cycling, sometimes referred to as spinning.
You can shop the major brands online and find price tags that start in the low 2,000s. Mashable contributor Tim Marcin recently wrote of his own experience looking for an indoor bike, describing how one of the biggest names in the business offered bikes with an opening price of more than $2,200.
Is it necessary to spend that much to enjoy spinning at home? No. Marcin proved it. He spent less than $400 on a new indoor bike and paired it with an all-access studio membership at less than $40 per month. No, his new bike did not come with all the bells and whistles, but it did the trick.
It is About Exercise First
The point of this post is not to say that a high-end indoor bike should be avoided. Rather, it is to emphasize that indoor cycling is about the exercise first. It is not about how much you pay for a bike. It’s not about the clothes you wear while riding your bike.
You can absolutely spend $2,500 on a bike and monthly membership if you want to. There’s nothing wrong with doing so, by the way. Spend your money any way you like. But don’t go into indoor cycling thinking that you’re not going to get the exercise you need if you don’t spend a ton of money.
You can exercise just as well on a $400 bike. You can shop around for less expensive studios offering web-based classes for a lot less. It’s not as if your body is going to revolt and refuse to participate because you decided to save a little money.
Exercising at the Studio
There’s something else to consider as well: do you plan to continue exercising at home once local cycle studios start reopening? If not, it doesn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars on a bike you might not be using by the end of the year.
The good folks behind Salt Lake City’s Mcycle Studios say that exercising at a studio does offer some benefit you just cannot get at home. First and foremost is the opportunity to work out with a group of others who have the same mindset. Cycling in a group setting offers mutual motivation and encouragement. It also offers opportunities to socialize.
Perhaps you are content to continue cycling at home even when studios are up and running again. That’s fine. You may feel that’s motivation to spend a bit more on a new bike and membership. That’s fine too. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that indoor cycling is about exercising, not spending money.
Don’t Be Swayed by Brands
If there is a lesson to be learned from all of this it is as simple as the warning to not be swayed by brands. Anyone in the marketing business can tell you that branding doesn’t always equate with quality. The whole point of branding is to create an identity for your company. That identity can be anything. It doesn’t have to be about quality.
Branding is what allows one company to sell its bikes for more than $2,200 while another company remains comfortable in the $400 range. Sometimes the difference is nothing more than a name.