I FIRST HEARD about “Rock the Dock” from friends who told me I should come to their outdoor spin class.
It didn’t compute at first. An outdoor boot camp class makes sense. How on earth are there spin bikes outside?
If your studio is right on a dock and your spin bikes are portable, it is possible. When the rain ends — for the optimists, that’s in May — Fly Fitness puts its spin bikes on the dock at Carillon Point in Kirkland, adds speakers and a deejay, and spin class turns into an outdoor event.
Suddenly, I was OK with committing to a spin class while the weather is sunny and gorgeous.
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I went on a brilliant summer day that was so nice we had a view of two wedding-photo shoots also promenading on the dock. Our deejay was hard at work blasting DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince classic “Summertime.” I could see people on paddleboards gliding across the water and jet skiers buzzing across Lake Washington.
I hopped on my bike and started cycling. Our instructor had on a headset and cued us via the speakers. She moved us through spin standards, including hill climbs and sprints, and timed our sprints and climbs with the playlist, which helped me keep my rhythm while pedaling.
It was hot outside with the sun, and I definitely was sweating. About a third of the way into the ride, our instructor told us to grab spritzers in place on some of the bikes and to spritz each other. It was rather refreshing. She also came around and spritzed people who wanted a cool-down.
When I spin, I usually focus on resistance or speed. I often close my eyes during the tough stretches.
The thing is, you don’t really want to close your eyes when facing this view. I occasionally got distracted, paying more attention to a nearby kayaker than to how hard I was pushing myself on my bike.
Overall, spinning outside felt more carefree than my usual spin classes. I wasn’t that concerned with how hard I was working. Sometimes I went hard, and more than a few times I went at a leisurely pace. My competitive side was quieted, for once, possibly lulled by the calming sound of water.
Still, my legs were tired by the end of class, and I was ready to hop off once we were done. My friend, Michelle, waved me over. The best part was next; we were going to jump off the dock into the water.
A few other intrepid souls came along. We got up on the ledge of the dock. It was a bit of a jump down to the water. I was also positive this was going to be the best part of the class. I jumped.
Lake Washington was cool and refreshing. We treaded water and cheered others jumping in until our worn-out legs begged for a real break, and we clambered up the ladder.
In case you’re wondering, spin wasn’t really the focus, at least for me. It was more a reason to be outside in a beautiful location, to enjoy the view, to listen to fun tunes, to move my legs and, ultimately, to jump in the lake.
Afterward, you have to wheel the bikes back up to the studio, which might have been the most challenging part of the whole class. It’s worth the effort.
Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at papercraneyoga.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Benjamin Benschneider is a Pacific NW magazine staff photographer.