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Investigated Bally's fitness in Porter Square. Looks quite good, and the membership I would sign up for would probably include four personal trainer sessions to get started. Do I want to do this thing? If I do, it should wait til I'm back from my first two-week work trip coming up next week.

Looked at bikes for the shortest time... went to Ace Wheelworks, looked around at what they had. Saw some amazing bikes for more than a thousand bucks. I don't really know what I want to do about this. The old bike is still in good shape. I just think it's actually a size or two too small for me, since trying ringrose's bike when I found mine with a dead front tire.

I should at least get the old bike fixed. Then I can ride it for a bit, and if I decide to get a new one, I can sell it for its actual value, rather than depressing the price artificially since it has a flat tire.

In some ways, a bike and the gym membership feel mutually exclusive - if I'm biking to work, I'll bypass Porter Square for a more direct route to Kendall, and it'd be all weird and inefficient to go to Porter on those days. On the other hand, I don't want to bike every day, or go to the gym every day, but if I did one or the other each day, it'd be really good for me.

Whatever. I'm a step closer to action in the gym track, and in the bike track, and I will push closer to either incrementally and see what seems right as time goes on. It won't be til July that I really have a chance to act on this again, though. See the aforementioned business trip.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
If you do the gym thing, I recommend Amy G. as a trainer. She's my trainer, and I think she's one of the most serious there in terms of pushing you towards your goals. I've been working with her the past year and a half.

The Bally's membership scheme is, as I'm sure you're aware, somewhat shady. Basically you pay a large membership fee up-front, and a monthly fee that is discounted if you take their financing on the membership fee. So, it works out to around $50/mo for the first three years, which is equivalent to or cheaper than FitCorp or anyone else assuming that you commit to going for three years. If you quit after six months you still have to pay out the membership fee. After three years the monthly fee ends up around $18/mo, which is a great deal.

So, I recommend going to the Porter Sq Bally because the location can't be beat, but do think about it and commit yourself to sticking with it. Their membership scheme actually helps here, just think "I've already paid $1500, so I might as well use it." Also note, personal trainer sessions are expensive, but worth buying at least 24 if you don't know what you're doing in advance.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 10th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
But... one of the questions on my mind is, "do I want to go upscale?" Seems that nicer bikes are more comfortable, on top of the benefit gained from being the right size...
Jun. 10th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)
As for bike resizing: if it isn't that the frame is simply too small, you may try raising the seat as high as you can stand it and either raising or lowering the handlebar stem to suit your tastes. quite a few fit issues can be resolved that way.

Another place to look at for purchasing a bike is Harris Cyclery in Newton. I got my folder there. One of the fellows who works there, Sheldon Brown, is sort of a demi-celebrity internetwise for doing so much to demystify much of cycling through articles on the Internet. (www.sheldonbrown.com)
Jun. 10th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
Both of those options sound really great in your overall quest towards better health and fitness. I think that it would be a fantastic idea to set a goal for yourself to either ride your bike to work or go work out at the gym on X days of the week (aim for something realistic like 4-5 days of exercise a week to get started). And I think if you can swing it, get a bunch of sessions with a personal trainer. It takes a long time before exercise becomes part of the routine for some of us, and having an appointment with someone to keep as part of that is very helpful motivation.

I don't have anything to say about the bike issue because I know next to nothing about bikes. :-) Other than how to fall off one.

I wonder, though, whether there might be other options for health clubs that have a better membership scheme that doesn't require you to stay for three years to get your money's worth out of it... I would be very concerned that you decide six months down the line that this particular health club isn't your style or doesn't fit your needs and then you're stuck. Do they have a trial membership for a month? Some way to see if you like it from more input than just a tour and brochure?

I think it's great that you are taking these steps, even in the thinking process, and I am hoping to jump-start my motivation as well. So here's to encouraging each other! :-)
Jun. 10th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I forgot to say in my post above, thanks for reminding me:

Definitely sign up for the 30 day membership and go a few times. The only trouble here is that its kinda awkward doing so and not knowing what you're doing, so perhaps see if you can buy one training session to use during the trial (I don't know if they do that).

The Bally isn't the most modern gym in the world, but it is large and full-featured. A few years back I went to the FitCorp in Kendall a few times (another option for you) but basically found that if the gym wasn't less than a 5 minute walk from my house, I wasn't going. YMMV.
Jun. 10th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
Fitcorp was good back when I worked near there, but you're right. It needs to be the easiest thing in the world.

Several people have pointed out how good the personal trainer will be for motivation. I'm counting on that, if I go through with this.

First thing I should do, though, is use one of these guest passes to visit the place for real :)
Jun. 10th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
Take your bike to Ace Wheelworks and have it fitted to you. It will cost about as much as a tuneup, but they'll be able to tell you if your bike is actually too small for you or if the seat and handlebars just need adjusting.
Jun. 10th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
I believe it was a couple years ago I first took my bike there to ask a couple questions, "is this the right size for me?" and "can I get a softer seat?" I don't think they were all that helpful on that occasion... but it's tempting to try it again, since my memory is hazy about that one time... maybe they were busy and I just asked about a softer seat with a higher post...

It can't hurt to ask, I suppose.
Jun. 10th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
broadway bicycle might be a better place to go for a sizing, in that they actually like helping people like their bikes. They don't really offer an official fitting, but they really like getting people happy with their bikes.

ace wheelworks is definitely a little more about making biking cool. and therefore more standoffish.

i have bought two of my three bikes at Ace, though. if you are buying a bike for urban commuting, i have to recommend the Trek 7300 FX (or 7500/7700, if you want to spend even more money). It's pretty cheap and good for riding the streets.
Jun. 10th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
Is Fitcorp the one that's five minutes from our office? There is certainly a gym just a block or so from us, so you might check that out. By the way, we do have showers in our office buliding, if that matters.
Jun. 10th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's right in Tech Square.

It's not on the way to anything, though, and somehow, it's just easier if I'm stopping off there on the way to somewhere else, in my mind.

Still, worth thinking about, if I can get the gym into my mental map as a destination in its own right...
Jun. 10th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
My one experience with Bally they were shifty and lied to our faces AND then called our house and told me I was paranoid or insane for not wanting to be phoned at home.
Jun. 11th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
I just got a new bike this year, via Wheelworks. They were in fact pretty helpful: they guy we talked to in Belmont asked what we were looking for, and came up with some plausible options and measured for size. Belmont turned out to not have the right bike in the right size, but Ace Wheelworks did, so they sent us over there.

What I came away with was a very light road bike. I did wind up paying extra to get one bike nicer, with the next step up in components (which did include shifters that were quite a bit better for me). I'm happy with it, but then I'm also somewhat regularly spending several hours on it at a time. But a thousand dollars doesn't buy a "bike to work" kind of bike, it's much more a "I'm going to do a century this summer no really" bike. Is it "more comfortable"? Yes, but only in that there are lots of hand positions so that I can move around instead of having to spend several hours with my wrists in the same place.

(Somewhat less expensive, and popular among people I know as a longish-commute bike, is the Bianchi Volpe. It has a steel frame, which is heavier but more durable, dropped handlebars like a road bike, but it comes with hybrid tires and has a wider gearing range. It was also what Wheelworks pointed narya at when she asked for something that was good for 10-mile commutes and longer weekend rides but also could handle Boston pavement -- which if you're not used to, can get pretty scary.)
Jun. 11th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
I think you should fix the bike, buy a cheap cycle computer (if you don't have one) and make yourself log 300 miles of "proof of commitment to ride it" before getting a nicer bike.

Getting a nicer bike is about paying money to burn fewer calories per mile, and makes you reluctant to go on errands with it, lest it get stolen.

If you need a longer seat post, so that you're extending your legs all the way, then buy that when you take it in for a tune up. Other shopping just sounds like an excuse not to get out there, to me.
Jun. 11th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
oops, sorry 'bout the not logged in
Jun. 11th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
I think you should fix the bike, buy a cheap cycle computer (if you don't have one) and make yourself log 300 miles of "proof of commitment to ride it" before getting a nicer bike.

Getting a nicer bike is about paying money to burn fewer calories per mile, and makes you reluctant to go on errands with it, lest it get stolen.

If you need a longer seat post, so that you're extending your legs all the way, then buy that when you take it in for a tune up. Other shopping just sounds like an excuse not to get out there, to me.
Jun. 11th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about selling my bike (which needs a tune-up) - not sure how it compares to yours sizewise, but if you want to take a look at it, I'd be happy if someone uses the bike again.

And whether gym vs biking is mutually exclusive - i think just doing one of those is a great step. gotta walk before you run :-)
Jun. 12th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Oooh! my turn to chime in....
So, as much as you think bike and gym are exclusive, they aren't. Unless you're masochistic, you will not be riding the bike in winter, and unless you hate the outdoors, you will have more fun biking in summer.

$1000 seems high for a bike, although I know nothing about bikes and prices...

As for gym:
Bally's is one of the nastier chain gyms. They don't really treat their customers well, and their prices are high. They try to lock you into a multi-year agreement, and they will NOT let you break it unless you can prove you've moved more than 20 miles from any bally's location. This will screw you if you move to another spot in boston.
That said, it's well-accepted that if your gym is more than 10 mins out of your way, you will fail to regularly go. So if Bally's is the only one that meets the requirement, go for it. See if you can squeeze a better deal out of them though.

As for trainer: Two reasons to have a trainer. One is to learn how to do the movements correctly. A good trainer can help with that a lot. Sadly a lot of trainers are pretty much 'I got my cert and I know nothing' types. Ask around before you pick one. The other reason is to motivate you to show up to the gym. You can save a lot of money if you can be motivated enough to go regularly without needing a trainer.
Avoid the chatty trainer in either case. They make great friends and horrible trainers.

Oh and let me repeat one more time. It's up to you to go regularly and actually DO stuff there. Most people pay a craplot of money to join a gym, get locked in for a 3-year contract, go for about a month or two, and then quit. Don't be most people.
Anyway that's my $0.02.

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )