Did I Really Want One of Those? 11. The Slimming Wheel

Who needs a gym subscription?

04 January 2014: My partner came home from The Trafford Centre at about 9.30 pm, and met up with some friends at The Mardi Gras before seeing a film. They were discussing New Year’s Resolutions and as to why The Greyhound in Partington went the way of the dinosaurs. In the former subject, they were discussing diets and gym subscriptions.

I was reminded of my mother’s attempts to fulfil her resolutions.

On that note, you remembered the legendary Danny Baker’s reference to a slimming aid in a forgotten early 1990s panel game called Bygones. Twenty years on, you are just as amazed as you were then as to whether this device helped with weight loss. It looked like an off-cut from a Triang trike.

The Slimming Wheel

Back in the good old days when we preferred municipal sports facilities over privatised gymnasia, keeping fit was a little more straightforward. We could play football, use the public baths, go jogging, get off the bus a stop or two further away, or do press-ups at home. Besides diets, there was another way of keeping trim which could be done in the comfort of their own home.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s came the Slimming Wheel. Also known as the Slim Wheel by some, it was available in a variety of mail order catalogues and shops. The Slimming Wheel is basically a perambulator wheel with handlebars on the left and the right of the wheel.

One example sold by Shopertunities (in their Shepherds Bush and High Holborn shops) claimed to be ‘scientifically designed’ with a ‘balanced steel axle’ and ‘Supergrips’. The third attribute, marketing speak for more comfortable handles. The advertisement cajoled its users to ‘kneel, grasp wheel, push forward, pull back’ for a few minutes a day. Great when the public baths are closed as your commute home means missing the last public swim time.

21st century equivalents are pretty much available today. This time for under a tenner or thereabouts. So they must have had some benefits.

*                                *                                *

1970 price: Shopertunities’ Slimming Wheel sold for 9’11 (plus 3’1 postage and packaging). It also came with a free ‘Comfy Foam Kneeling Pad’. It was claimed in their advertisement that similar models were available for up to 59’6!.

2013 price: £6.99, Amazon.co.uk (checked on the 21 November 2013).

S.V., 11 December 2013.

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