I have always been scared of spin classes. My balance is rubbish, even on a bike that's welded to the floor. Couple that with a room full of wildly competitive people and someone yelling at you to cycle faster – hell on wheels.
Psycle had me intrigued, though. It claims to offer a head-to-toe, mind-body workout. High intensity, low-impact classes with specially tailored music to make you smile while you sweat.
Arriving at Psycle's central London premises, I was handed a pair of cleats and directed to the studio. As it was an introductory class, there were plenty of instructors to show me how to adjust the saddle and handlebars and get secured into the pedals (and, more importantly, how to get out).
So, off we went. Some up-tempo tunes, atmospheric lighting, a friendly instructor getting us revved up. And a bit of pedalling. Nice. Oh... wait... now we have to sit up straight. And STAND? And pedal double-time? And no one had warned me that there were ARM MOVEMENTS involved. With weights.
The good news is, 45 minutes goes by quickly. Halfway through, I wanted to die. But afterwards I felt exhilarated, if wobbly. Because the intensity levels and speeds vary, I felt like I could keep going far longer than expected. I also realised I must have wasted hours of my life on the exercise bike in the gym.
On exiting the most luxurious changing rooms I have ever encountered, I was greeted by the same instructor who had helped set up my bike. "You smashed it!" she told me, "I was watching you!" I hadn't really. But I still left beaming. And there it was: mental boost, as promised.
Cheapskates' version: Get outdoors on your bike, pick a hilly route, and enlist a cheery, grinning friend to accompany you, yelling life-affirming encouragement. Try not to hit her; it might cause your bike to wobble.
Psycle London, 76 Mortimer Street, London WI; psyclelondon.com