One of the benefits of having owned a gym for a few years was that when I decided to close it down in 2010, I was able to take some of the equipment home with me.
One of the pieces I kept was a Life Fitness recumbent bike. I’d been an avid user of such a bike at multiple gyms over the past 40 years, so I was excited to actually have one in my own house.
I’ve been a faithful user of the bike since I’ve brought it home, and one of the features I like about the bike is the simple display monitor, shown in the photo above. As I noted in a post from four years ago:
“I’ve never felt the need to listen to music or podcasts or read my Kindle while exercising. …the only thing I look at it is the monitor telling me what my heart rate is, what my RPMs are, how many miles I’ve gone, and how many minutes I’ve ridden. That’s all the amusement I need; no music, no books on tape, no TV show.”
I’m a big fan of heart rate training, and so I wear a heart rate monitor strap around my chest, and both my iPhone and the bike can display my heart rate. Currently, I am just doing aerobic training, so my goal is to just keep a steady heart rate of about 116-120 for 30 minutes.
Well, this morning I got on my bike, did a five-minute warm-up followed by some stretching, and then sat down for my 30-minute workout.
Unfortunately, to my dismay, the bike monitor had stopped working. It looked just like the photo above.
I could get by without the heart rate display since I had my phone; I could get by without knowing what my RPMs were since I could count that to myself; and I could get by without knowing how many calories I had burned, since I never thought of such a number as being terribly accurate, and besides, my phone told that info anyway.
What I couldn’t do without was the ability to change the intensity level of the pedaling. That, and my RPMs, were what I used to get me into my desire heart rate. Having no resistance made it impossible for me to get my heart rate anywhere near where I wanted, no matter how fast I pedaled.
I also missed having the data on how “far” I had gone on my ride; that’s the number I keep track of to see if I am improving week to week.
In other words, I was lost without my stats.
But this was worse than if my WordPress stats suddenly stopped working. First, if WordPress stats stopped working, it probably wasn’t my fault. Second, it would not be my responsibility to get them back up and running. Third, even though sometimes it seems like it to me, my WordPress stats don’t really have a direct impact on my health.
But the bike, that was going to be on me. All I could think during my workout this morning was what a waste of a workout it was turning into, and how expensive it might be to fix it the monitor.
I also thought it was remarkable that a battery would last that long. I had bought the bike in 2006, and it has been used a lot over the past 14 years. So I thought maybe the cost wouldn’t be so bad if I thought of spreading it over 14 years.
But then later in the day, fate intervened.
I was sharing my woes with my wife and son, and my son said: “let me check it out”.
He took one piece off and put it right back in. Then he got on the bike, started pedaling, and just like that, everything was working again! So kudos to my son for saving me some money, and angst.
I just hope it keeps working for another 14 years…