She uses it to convince us - her herd of hamster cyclists going nowhere in darkened room decked out like the guts of a spaceship - that we’re actually real cyclists, charging up a mountain in regional France.
As we sprint along the imaginary flat, round the imaginary corner and crank the resistance to replicate a hill, our mad instructor starts ringing her red cowbell.
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
We, her lumpy lycra-clad subordinates, hear the bell and rise in unison, pumping and pedaling and proudy passing the checkpoint like we’re Cadel bloody Evans.
She’s conditioning us:
Hear the bell.
Feel the burn.
Climb the mountain.
And even though our fitness is utter fiction, we obey the angry middle-aged lady and her cowbell.
We love spin class!
We love mountains!
We worship the bell!
This afternoon, as my legs pedalled up a particularly precipitous indoor incline, I got to thinking about the power of association.
Our spin teacher uses association to inspire action: hear bell > stand up > push harder.