Wheels of Misfortune

  1. Your Fellow Spinners

    Your Fellow Spinners

    In the world of spin class, we break down who you might find cycling next to you. With interpretation from body-language expert Joe Navarro, author of What Every BODY Is Saying; fellow expert Patti Wood, author of Success Signals; David Givens (Your Body at Work); Johnny Goldberg (or simply "Johnny G."), who started the first spin studio in the late '80s; and celebrity spinner David Clayton-Thomas, of the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, which wrote the hit "Spinning Wheel," and whose eponymous excretions are reminiscent of spin class. Illustrations by Nick Edwards

  2. The Cheaters (31%)*

    The Cheaters (31%)*

    They’re not maximizing the experience. They don’t pound hard or crank up their resistance dials upon instruction. Navarro: “They want to do it their way,” Givens: “It’s passive-aggressive rebellion.” Goldberg: “As long as you’re showing up and doing something wholesome, it’s all good.” * Percentage of People Observed

  3. Les Misérables (37%)

    Les Misérables (37%)

    They’re grimacing, hunched over, mopping their brow, and often lumpy shaped. Navarro: “They’ll drop out eventually.” Wood: “They’re Corrector types who feel they have to do this but are internally sneering at the others.” Clayton-Thomas: “I don’t know if they’ll find happiness this way.”

  4. The Sensualists (9%)

    The Sensualists (9%)

    They really get into the post-workout stretch, draping themselves over their bikes seductively. Givens: “You’re kowtowing to the Great Device that gave you the workout. It’s a supplication ritual.” Goldberg: “They’re performance-oriented. A beautiful human being on a bike is erotic.” Clayton-Thomas: “They’re welcome at my place, too.”

  5. The Men (6%)

    The Men (6%)

    They struggle to retain virility as Beyoncé blares and the instructor screams, “Elevate those asses, people!” Navarro: “When you see the sweat pouring off, you realize spin class isn’t for wusses.” Givens: “They have a voyeuristic streak.” Clayton-Thomas: “My trainer’s a 40-year-old smokin’ hot female and I get my money’s worth from her.”

  6. The Power Warriors (14%)

    The Power Warriors (14%)

    They attack the bike as though they’re trying to launch it into space. Givens: “They’re alphas. They may be like this at work, or they may just have the most work baggage to forget about.” Wood: “If they didn’t go to spin class, they’d be yelling at people.” Clayton-Thomas: “They don’t sound 70 years old like me, I can tell you that.”

  7. The Ecstatics (19%)

    The Ecstatics (19%)

    They look like they got high before class. They have beatific smiles, hands in the air. Navarro: “It’s like a drug high. They long for this all day long.” Givens: “They want to leave the ordinary world and spin themselves into ecstasy.” Clayton-Thomas: “I want ecstatic girls at my place. Send ’em over.”

  8. The Vocalists (11%)

    The Vocalists (11%)

    They shout “Whooo!” or “Yeah!” along with the instructor or “Come on, Brittany!” to their friends. Navarro: “Very sociable people who want to be noticed.” Givens: “It’s like barking. It says, ‘I am here, heed me.’” Goldberg: “They’re middle-agers who holler like high school kids when a familiar song comes on.”

  9. The Fussers (37%)

    The Fussers (37%)

    They can’t stop retying their ponytails, towel-dabbing their faces, or delicately sipping their water. Wood: “Those extraneous little movements let the opposite sex notice you.” Goldberg: “Were they the pretty ones?” Clayton-Thomas: “They’re concerned with their appearance, which is why they’re in the class in the first place.”

  10. The Deserters (4%)

    The Deserters (4%)

    They pronounce at the end of class that they will never put themselves through the torture again. Navarro: “It’s a false assumption that this is for everyone.” Givens: “It’s sane. They’re resisting mob psychology.” Johnny G: “They know what they’re doing.” Clayton-Thomas: “That’s their right.”

  11. The Fro-Yo Cravers (7%)

    The Fro-Yo Cravers (7%)

    The ones after the class overheard saying they were dying for a giant Pinkberry or Red Mango. Navarro: “It used to be banana shakes.” Wood: “They’re thinking, ‘I’ve worked hard and I want a reward.’” Goldberg: “The average diet I saw with spin-class people is an espresso and a cookie.” Clayton-Thomas: “I don’t have a problem with that.”