To Spin or not to Spin

11 May 2023

Jakob Jung loves football. But over the years, the Comparative European History student's relationship with the sport has become quite complicated. For Vox, he is going on the lookout to replace the football-shaped hole in his heart. This week, he talks about the intricacies of spinning lessons and his love for the Dutch cycling culture.

This month I tried a sport I probably would have never tried if it weren’t for this column. I attended a session of spinning. For moral support, together with a friend. And, as it turns out, spinning can be more complicated than one might think. After all, how hard can cycling straight really be, right?

Yes, I should have been on time instead of running in slightly late. And yes, I should have listened more closely to the instructions. I don’t think I have sweated more in the first ten minutes of this lesson than in any other sport I tried. And, the warm-up was barely completed, no break in sight.

What I did eventually realize was that you can adjust the difficulty of your bike – and that I had been cycling on the more challenging end during my warm-up. It felt like rolling down a mountain after changing the settings. Or so I thought. The intensity increased with every new song and I was back to yapping for air.

‘I admire the Dutch relationship with bikes’

In general, I really enjoy cycling. It is one thing that I have always loved about the Netherlands. Taking it a step further, I would even say that I admire the Dutch relationship with bikes. For a German like me, the fact that bikes normally have the right of way even before cars, for example, is incredible.

In the Netherlands, I feel safe riding a bike in the city. Bike lanes are everywhere. Cycling is fast – sometimes even faster than taking a car. And, moral superiority bonus point: cycling contributes to a more environmentally friendly and less polluted city.

Additionally, cycling to a friend, the supermarket, or out of the city isn’t just safe, easy, and convenient – but also fun. Nothing matches reaching my favourite café after a long ride along the Waal. It’s situated close to Nijmegen behind a dike next to a little lake and the perfect place to enjoy a lemonade while sitting in the sun with a view of the waterside.

Prefer a more challenging route? Then cycling to Germany via Berg en Daal is the perfect choice. Or, of course, going to a spinning lesson. Although, after walking out of my first one, I have to admit that I prefer cycling underneath the Dutch sky instead.

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