It’s a pretty amazing morning out here in the real west. Clouds are rushing by; the one currently overhead is scattering snowflakes. A storm is coming in, and the wind is blowing pretty hard, but not always from the same direction. The snowflakes are doing more dancing in the air than landing on the ground. They are the kind my grandma described as “Mother nature is shaking out her featherbed.” For the most part, the sky is blue, but where it’s not, it’s silver. It’s beautiful. ❤
In other news, the blessed Bike to Nowhere broke yesterday. I knew it was headed that way and now it’s arrived. For me that’s semi-catastrophic. My Airdyne is the tool that has kept pain from a bad hip at bay; it’s kept me strong and ambulatory; I credit it with my being able to walk 2 miles with dogs and cane and enjoy the experience. I need it. I have to replace it.
Naturally, I began my search on Amazon. I saw HUNDREDS of exercise bikes and evaluated several different types. I saw that, for me, there’s no compromise. I don’t care about it having a “small footprint” or being “virtually silent” or “folding away to give you space” or “numerous computer read outs — pulse, heart-rate, distance, time, calories burned, Tarot Card reading, weather forecast.” I turned my attention exclusively to Airdynes. I learned a lot about the new iteration of the Airdyne (and about the bike I already own) essentially that it breaks, repairs are iffy and short-lived. A lot of the parts are plastic. People who’d owned it for a while gave it bad reviews; people who just bought it were in love with it. It’s served me well for 3 1/2 years of consistent use. That’s OK, but nowhere comparable to the original Airdyne.
“Back in the day, things were built to last.”
Schwinn came out with this “bike” in the late 70’s and it was a simple, steel, chain-driven exercise bike with a huge front wheel that is a fan — the same principle of Airdynes today, in fact that’s what puts the “air” in Airdyne. The faster you ride, the more resistance you encounter — you go “up hill.” As your conditioning and strength improve, your workout responds by giving you an appropriate physical challenge. It’s brilliant.
The old bike is very sturdy. If it breaks it can be repaired just like a bike. It even has a (non-computerized) tachometer to tell you how far and how fast you are going. I had one in CA but didn’t move it here with me. I regret that almot daily, but I had no more space in my “U-boxes”.
What’s so great about the Airdyne? Ah… An article, “Schwinn Airdyne History” (yeah, it exists, I just found it) explains:
The Airdyne also engaged a person’s upper body in the exercise with attached moving grip arms. The results: The rider was able to sit comfortably on a large padded seat, using large comfortable pedals against a steady resistance that engaged the arms and upper body and legs in a total cardio workout previously only available on higher-priced commercial gym equipment. (citation)
I looked at dozens of stationary bikes online last night. I even, nearly, bought an old Nordic Track ski machine. It was mental chaos and minor desperation.
Finally, I went on Craigslist for Colorado Springs and I found an old one in good shape for $200. The only challenge will be getting it home — but I think it will fit in the back of my Focus hatchback if I take off the arm pieces. If not? Plan B. I think there is usually a plan B.
It’s made me think of how we were “back then” (1978) and how we are now. The Airdyne still gives the same workout whether it’s the new iteration or the old. The differences are in appearance, how quiet it is (though the old Airdyne is not especially noisy), the computer features — stuff like that. In some ways our technology has improved our tools — I’d far rather use my MacBook Pro than the “Trash 80” my ex showed me so long ago, but honestly, except for research and the Internet, for what I do, I was pretty happy with an Apple IIe and over the moon with the Mac Classic. For that matter, it was often an adventure going to the library at my university and discovering answers.
Still, there’s a limit to how much time-travel I want to undertake. I’m not ready to go “off grid” except, maybe, intellectually…
Meanwhile, winter has arrived. The sky has gone gray. Snow is falling and I have a dental appointment at 2. My first concrete step toward hip surgery.