Wheels of Misfortune

  1. Your Fellow Spinners
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    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%)*
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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%)
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    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.”