Lame Adventure 388: Thought is Cheap

Recently I thought:

Me (thinking): I’d like to get back in shape.

Currently, I am situated in between two poles. On the one side there’s the pole that is fantastically fit and I’m moving with the grace of a gazelle, prompting this type of flattery:

Flatterer: You look great! Have you been quaffing from the fountain of youth?

The opposite pole is dire. I have turned into a huffing, puffing flab factory on feet prompting the screaming silence of disapproval and behind-the-back commentary:

Behind-the-Back Commentary: Has she gone downhill! Obviously, she’s guzzling from the sewer of age.

For twenty-five years, to stay in shape I stationary cycled and lifted weights in the privacy of my sanctum sanctorum. The Tunturi exercise bike I bought in 1986 is now quite rusted. What is of even greater concern is that it has been steadily drizzling parts on my rug for most of the past two years. When I vacuum, I hear the disturbing sound of deeply inhaled chunks of metal rattling through my ancient upright Eureka’s intestines. What remains of my exercise bike is in such a state of dilapidation I am in a quandary. Should I attempt to ride it again or just put it out of its misery? Maybe place it on cinderblocks in my building’s front garden? If I do ride it again, what if a part that should move fluidly jerks violently, catapulting me through the window and I bounce off the concrete patio three stories below? What a way to introduce myself to the first floor tenants — surrounded by paramedics with mops.

The time has come to invest in a new exercise bike. In today’s world that is a spin bike. I could see myself perched atop one of these state of the art fitness machines complete with a narrow seat made from a composite material with slightly less give than granite, having the cardio workout of a lifetime provided a massive coronary or a blood clot erupting in what’s left of my brain does not mar the plethora of health benefits. I can envision myself cycling off excess flab on this, my personally watered down to an anemic drip Tour de France, or more accurately, Tour de Crappy Rent Stabilized Studio Apartment.

Recently, I saw a lovely sunny yellow spin bike on display on Amsterdam Avenue outside SoulCycle, the spin enthusiast’s temple of spinning. A single class there costs $34 while the VIP 50-class package tops $3,500. I don’t do classes, nor do I have a spare 3,500 clams to burn, but I would welcome having a shiny new sunny yellow spin bike in my humble abode.  I went online to price it and discovered it is $2,200. There’s no way I am going to spend those kinds of shekels on an exercise machine, but I was curious to see for myself what exactly makes this bike the Lamborghini of spin bikes. Does it come with an engine?

Sweet bike, sour price.

Sweet bike, sour price.

I set out to do some investigating. Just when I was about a storefront away from SoulCycle, a poster caught my eye in the doorway of a bakery called Crumbs announcing the arrival of the Crumbnut. I did a swish pan and was instantly inside Crumbs.

Welcome sucker!

Welcome sucker!

In May, Dominique Ansel, a French bakery in Soho introduced the original Cronut, the spawn of a croissant and a doughnut. People have lost their minds over this delicacy and start lining up outside this bakery on weekdays at 5:30 in the morning. Dominique opens at 8 and limits two Cronuts per customer at $5 each.  Right now, they’re baking about 300 a day. Some of my longtime readers might think that this is the exact type of lunacy that has “Lame Adventures” written all over it. I hate to disappoint but there is no way I am going to do this. Here at Lame Adventures, I have standards.

I saw that the Crumbnut costs $2.95. They were filling an entire tray. I could have easily bought two dozen. I bought one, hightailed home, took a bite and discovered that it has the consistency of a hockey puck, but with slightly less flavor. I also suspected that the vintage was easily half a day old.

What looks like powdered sugar might actually be dust.

What looks like powdered sugar might actually be dust.

Then, I remembered that I was so distracted by the advent of the Crumbnut, I completely blanked on checking out the SoulCycle bike. Thanks to a cheap knock-off Cronut, I have inched closer in the direction of atrophying into a huffing, puffing flab factory on feet. Pass the chocolate.

Note: my friend Jackie Cangro has written an excellent post about Faux-nuts and I urge you to check it out here.

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93 responses to “Lame Adventure 388: Thought is Cheap

  1. Ok, 3500 smackers for 50 VIP classes–just what is so VIP about any of them?
    Look on Craigslist–you can find spin bikes for a few rupees.
    I don’t understand the fascination with the cronut and standing in line for one? Gosh, I wish I lead that kind of charmed life where my big worry was getting a cronut.

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    • My pal, Coco, has treated me to pastries from Dominique, which is her neighborhood bakery. Gotta say, Jules, they’re rather tasty and they cost more because they are better. I am certain that their original Cronut does not taste like it was derived from a pine cone. On the topic of paying for quality, if I were to keep my next exercise bike until I approach (gag) 560 dog years, I think I’d rather avoid going the used goods route. I found one by a fitness machine maker in Utah that retails for $499 (no tax and free shipping) plus I can take six months to pay it off via Bill Me Later. This just might be my Xmas present to myself for never spitting my gum on the sidewalk. Oh right, I don’t chew, but I know I’m real good in other ways.

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  2. Snoring Dog Studio

    My rowing machine is propped up against a wall in the garage. I bang my knees on it every time I get in the car. I assume that lifting my legs over its handles to get to the car door is burning off at least 30 calories. I used up maybe 60 calories lugging it out to the garage! Oops. I had ice-cream last night. But then I carried my 20 pound dog to bed. I burnt off at least 45 calories doing that! I think. Forget the Soulless Cycle. Keep doing math – better than I do, though, cuz I have no idea where it shakes out with those calories.

    The Cronut? Why? For the love of God, why???

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  3. $2,200 PLUS tax and shipping. Think of how many Cronuts at $5 per (neither shipping nor tax–I think). Well don’t waste your time, it’s 440.

    I like crumb cake. But I think they use cream of tartar (aka Quikrete) as some sort of bonding agent. So if you don’t get one pretty much right out of the oven, your teeth/bridge/in-lay are going to be on the kitchen table before your breakfast is done.

    I hope you find your happy place somewhere between the polar opposites you describe. It might be nice to reach 60 without needing a respirator to climb onto an escalator at the mall but it would also be nice to eat what you enjoy. Life really can be too short.

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    • As you know, with my scroll of dietary restrictions to keep me out of the Grim Reaper’s shadow, eating what I enjoy is pretty much a thing of the past over here. That said, I can still eat crumb cake; something I have not had in years, but when it’s fresh, it is superb. I do not ever recall eating one with the consistency of a manhole cover, but I trust you are the Voice of Experience about this.

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      • Indeed I am aware of your dietary restrictions not brought on by any strict adherence to The Koran or The Talmud or any other historical and quasi-fictional bit of literature. And I truly sympathize.

        A two day old crumb cake from any of the metro area bodegas will learn ya real good when it comes to the Art of NOT Wrapping Baked Goods.

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        • Yes, the world would be a much faster stale place were it not for that eighth wonder, plastic wrap. But the wonder in this case might be why those bodega owners don’t use it. They probably sell it.

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  4. I have this image of you – your feet lifting off the floor, aka Gary Oldman in Bram Stokers Dracula, as your olfactory system smoothly vacuums the wafting dusty powdered sugar, a gossamer smoke, through thin air, as you float evenly and directly towards the Crumnut shop.

    Great story!

    R.

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    • Well you’re waxing poetic today, R! But I haven’t elevated like that since college and I had more than a little help from my friends. if memory serves correct I floated straight over to the nearest box of Crunch ‘n Munch. Glad you dug the story, buddy!

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  5. This is a tricky place to be – cronut or crumbnut. So many faux nuts you’d think we were a man-centric world. I’m glad you did some ground level testing and now can see that this delicacy is actually probably cardboard wrapped in dust. Sad. Perhaps that fancy, sleek, and shiny yellow spin bike is also the same way — all looks and bad bits? Then again for the price tag probably not.
    A lovely story — you put quite the spin on it. Ha!

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  6. I like the idea of a stationary bike with a motor. If you’re just going to sit in one spot and have your legs go in circles, you might as well do it in style. As for me, I’ve decided to paint Goodyear on my sides and rent myself out to hover over major sporting events and Lame Adventure book signings.

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  7. V,
    I love your writing…As far as the bike is concerned, A used spin bike could probably be had for far less than the SoulCycle. While I am an avid cyclist, used to race bicycles and still have my custom-made-in-Italy bike, I can’t imagine that a stationery bike could ever be worth the price they’re asking. I mean, it doesn’t GO anywhere! All the bells and whistles that one pays for a road bike have to do with aerodynamics, rolling resistance, weight, handling…you get my drift. Anyway, sorry the Crumbnut was a dud. I love doughnuts, but have managed to avoid them for the most part.
    Cathy

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    • Awwwwwwwww, thanks Cathy! I love doughnuts, too, but I seldom eat them. I’m afraid if I did, I’ll find myself on a one-way trip to being a female Homer Simpson. D’oh! I think that the Tour de France yellow paint job probably added a grand to the SoulCycle bike. Or maybe the paint is performance enhancing drug-based?

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  8. V, you’re gonna have to let go of that rusty bike. Think tetanus shot. As far as standing in line for a donut, no — I don’t stand in line for a meal. I don’t understand that kind of behavior.

    As far as the workout thing, living where you do, I know you must walk all the time. Though that shiny, bright yellow bike would look pretty, two grand plus is mucho to pay. I don’t know, maybe Craigslist??

    AND, from your pictures you far from a flab factory. Jeez, we women are hard on ourselves. Middle-age just does something to a person and it just sucks but we just have to suck it up I guess.

    And the term “Crumbnut” does sound very appetizing to me. But that’s just me. You’re funny.

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    • Brig, back in the day when I was actually making a living wage, Milton and I used to wait close to two hours for a table at The Spotted Pig, an excellent restaurant in the West Village that was awarded a Michelin star. My swan dive into joining the ranks of the working poor ended our brushes with fine dining, but we do continue to do our share of line waiting for events. In New York, waiting in long lines is about as natural as breathing or complaining.

      I think what middle age does to a person is rob them of their metabolism. I eat less than ever and weigh more than ever.

      Does Cronut sound appetizing to you, especially if you know that “cro” is shorthand for croissant?

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  9. I feel your gain. After not being able to properly exercise since April, I am an official member of the flab factory. Although I’ve only gained a couple pounds, I’ve lost every bit of muscle which weighs more. This is the week I could head to the gym, but I just went to a writers conference and have a huge rewrite to work on. Mañana ….
    Very funny post!!!

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  10. Just this weekend, I saw a sign for Crumbnuts at the Crumbs in Brooklyn Heights. I have to say, the photo on the sign looks a lot more delectable than the photo you posted.
    Yours looks like something that belongs on a Flintstones car before the wheel was invented. I’ll take a pass on that one.

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    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHA — great one, Jackie! The Crumbnut’s shape did look very familiar to me, too, but I was not sure why. You NAILED it, sister! That photo was truly bait and switch. When I brought it home and put it on the plate I thought, “Do I really want to put this in my mouth?” The trash would have been the infinitely more appropriate place.

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  11. When you find yourself caught between two poles, as you did, just make sure you don’t break out with the Polish jokes.

    Sorry. I have an illness.

    When someone has been using a piece of exercise equipment faithfully for a quarter century, I think that person is entitled to spend a little more $$$ on a replacement machine (I’m not saying you should spend $2,200 or $3,500, but you’ve proven that you’ll actually use the equipment). We don’t get enough exercise, so if there’s a device you’ll actually use, that’s a damn good thing.

    Of course, your ‘croughnut’ consumption probably won’t help. It’s funny, because I’m by no means a slender gentleman (I’m 25 pounds away from being 1/8th of a ton!), but I’m not a fan of sweets.

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    • Gee Smak, you weigh 225? Those baseball caps you wear on your videos are very slenderizing. I am not in any hurry to consume another pastry with nut in the name unless it’s a genuine cronut. I’m not much of a sweets eater, either, and those that I do eat are not of the gooey variety. I don’t do goo. I’m determined to get as much spin bike as possible (with a 40 pound flywheel) for as little greenback as possible even if it takes me ten weeks and ten more pounds of searching.

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      • Well, I admire your quest to find the right bike at the right price. I don’t like paying more than I should, but I find shopping to be excruciating. I try to get some price ideas and then close my eyes and pull the trigger. I try not to look at the prices once I’ve purchased.

        And thanks for not thinking me a ball of gelatinous goo. I’m just a smidge under 6’4, so those 225 pounds are spread out a little, but I’d like to get down somewhere in the neighborhood of 200, both for my own health and to set a good example to my boys.

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        • I hate shopping in stores. If I can’t buy it online, I don’t want it. Exceptions to this Lame Adventure rule: food and drink.

          That’s commendable that you’re trying to set a good example for your sons, but you and Tom Brady are the exact same size, so you’re in pretty good company, Smak.

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  12. Crumbnuts????? Come to Jersey, Hackensack NJ in particular to get a full tilt boogie Jersey Crumbcake, heavy on the crumbs!!!!http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/5020/b-w-bakery

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  13. It was there 50 years ago – was near the old Packard’s department store that is now a target -just south of Sears.

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  14. So you, too, have had a close encounter with a faux-nut! Hmm. Clearly, these are all the rage. I bet you’d be surprised to know we don’t have a single donut–faux or otherwise here in Cuenca. Guess we’re all better off.

    Interestingly, our container has arrived from the US, finally, and over the weekend I finished assembling by new elliptical machine–though I love stationary bikes, as well. I’m too much of klutz for the real thing. No wonder I never feel like I’m getting anywhere!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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    • Kathy, maybe you and Sara can bring the Cronut craze to Ecuador? If they have Mickey D’s and Burger King there, the hipster Ecuadorians might want something more sophisticated with a strategically place hole. I hope the unpacking has gone, or is going, well. Tonight, I will pop Aleve in your honor.

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  15. You demonstrate outstanding balance.

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  16. I’m a sucker for a donut in any form. If the college gal is home on Sundays, we get up early and drive twenty minutes to buy the best damn donuts around. They are as big as my face which translates to as big as my fat ass. Really though, it’s more about the early morning ride, alone with my gal —
    I haven’t been on a bike stationary or otherwise since I was flattened by a car. But if it had been bright yellow perhaps he would have seen me.
    I think you should by a new tv instead and run in place while you watch.
    Cheers! Loved the image of the eureka intestines….ha

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  17. Past middle age and running headlong towards my 560th dog year, I can tell you my metabolism has fallen flat while I contribute by sitting on my derriere much of the day, writing. Not consuming cronuts or crobars (would that be a croissant/energy bar hybrid?), the worst thing I eat is probably my topping off my morning cup of half ‘n’ half with coffee. Yet, my clothes continue to shrink right there on the hangers in my closet. So, y’day I wheeled my bike out of the shed where it’s been parked all summer. It was covered in cobwebs. Not wanting to expend excess energy wiping down my cruiser (no gears) bike before riding, I figured they’d blow off. I got on and rode. Ten minutes was all this body could endure. It’s these HILLS here in slower-lower, flat Delaware, at least a 3% grade. Exhausting.

    Funny post. I have come to enjoy the comments almost as much as the post, almost. 🙂

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    • I feel the same way about the comments, Samantha. They are rather inspired — such as yours (and this post brought out the best in R). I am glad that you survived cycling the hills of Delaware without needing to be air lifted back to your casa. I love the image of the cobwebs flying off your bike and probably smacking some motorist right in the windshield.

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  18. Hey! I thought I was reading one of your hilarious ponderances (is that a word or did I just make it up … I don’t have time to check ….) on fitness when all of a sudden you segued into the Cr*nut. A bolt of lightning just missed me! I am in the land of “Liberté, Égalité, Gastronomie” (quoting Peter Mayle ) and one must not even consider the thought of a cr—- , let alone read about one and laugh. I’m lucky to be alive. Get on your bike!!!

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    • Yes, Patricia, “ponderances” is indeed a word, just like twerking and selfie. I think upon hearing that “ponderances” just got up and walked out of the dictionary. The [insert c-word here; I’m looking out for you] was the brain-child of a French pastry chef, who is a much more successful sexy seducer than that other great French romantic, Pepe Le Peu. How else can one explain the insatiable lust the unwashed masses have for this indulgence, even if it’s a fake that tastes about as light as a tree stump?

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  19. I’m running behind you with a cheese steak.

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  20. Perhaps until you decide on a bike purchase, you should do some agressive window shopping to look for one. That way you’re still getting your exercise! And if you happen upon the occassional great eatery, you can treat yourself for all your hard work!

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  21. I loved this! I have been claiming the power of the stationary bicycle (in my house) for so long! I clear emails, watch my shows, etc. It’s worked all these years. HOWEVER, as I see everyone around me training for marathons, etc, I feel like I’m SO behind the times. At least I won’t get injured. I can ride that stationary bike all the way to the nursing home years. 😉

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    • You certainly have mastered the art of multitasking while stationary cycling Nina, but hopefully cycling will keep you in your home and out of a nursing home. Laying off fake Cronuts might also help. Hey, thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment!

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  22. LA, I recognise the huffing, puffing flab factory on feet from reflections in certain mirrors. I blame the mirrors though, not the image in them. I hope you don’t mind me saying that the crumbnut doesn’t actually look appetising to me… in fact, the thought of cycling is more appealing. And that really is saying something!
    Hope you’re having a good week!

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    • Believe me Tom, mot only did it not look appetizing, it tasted EXACTLY how it looked. Truly disappointment on a plate. Milton recently told me that he would like to try an actual Cronut so … there might be a sequel to this post.

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  23. I knew the Crumbnut sounded too good to be true! I love the “quaffing from the fountain of youth” line. I can totally relate to this post – head to the gym, see a pastry, all else fades to the periphery. That’s how I roll 🙂

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  24. I would get distracted to and would completely forget to go to the shop to check out an exercise bike. I try to stay in shape by going for runs. This week I went twice, which is much better than last week when I didn’t go at all. Maybe next week, I’ll go three times.

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    • You’re doing much better than me. I haven’t run all year. In fact I don’t run ever — except to catch a train since I am always running late.

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      • Don’t be so modest. I am sure that occasionally your nose does some running. And as one to Italian to another, we know that’s no mean feat.

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      • This is another quality that proves I’m not a New Yorker–I refuse to run to catch a train. I did once in Boston. It was snowing, I slipped, and broke my elbow. Now I wait for the next train. It’s less painful.

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