Within the past few years, the trend of indoor cycling has become widely popular in the United States. Indoor cycling classes began in the early 1990s and have gained a tremendous amount of popularity since then. Indoor cycling has become such a widespread craze for multiple reasons. First of all, it is a safe workout for all fitness levels and has no impact on joints. It is a high-intensity workout that also allows you to control the speed and resistance of your bike so that participants have the ability to work at their own levels. Lastly, with the help of the workout instructors and festive music, indoor cycling creates an inspiring and fun workout environment that pushes and motivates participants to work hard. In fact, two of our own Collegiate students, Mary Ottley (‘17) and Tana Mardian (‘17) are instructors at Tidalwheel, a studio in the West End. When asked what she most enjoys about being an instructor, Mardian replied, “My favorite part of being an instructor is definitely my connection with my riders. Hearing that someone loved my songs or thought that class was really hard and fun is awesome, and I love to see people return to my class of just Tidalwheel in general.”
For anyone who is interested in this trendy and dynamic workout, a cycling studio, Cyclebar, is coming to the Greengate development in Short Pump this May. I was able to sit down with Collegiate alumna Libbie Crane (‘89), who is not only my aunt but also co-owner of the new studio, along with Donna Suro. Suro has been in the fitness business for most of her career and was given the opportunity to open a Cyclebar franchise in Richmond, which she asked Crane to co-own with her. When I asked Crane what inspired her to help Suro open this cycling studio, she explained, “I got into cycling when I lived in New York City. When I moved to Richmond [eight years ago], there weren’t many cycling studios.”
According to Crane, there have been many fun and exciting factors to opening the Cyclebar studio in Richmond. She explained that her two favorite parts of the process of opening the franchise were “watching [the business] come to life in the buildout and construction of the space” and “getting to know all the franchises around the country.” There are 114 Cyclebars around the nation, and the Greengate franchise owners have been able to communicate and share ideas with other owners. Despite these delightful experiences, Crane claims that the greatest hardship in opening the business is finding an ideal location in Richmond, because there were not many locations available that had good parking.
Crane claimed that what she’s most excited about is “for all of the customers to experience what [the studio] is offering.” She stated that “Cyclebar fuels communal energetic experiences. After a class, you’ll walk away feeling great, strong, and fit.” She explained that there are many differences between Cyclebar and other cycling studios. Each 1,000 square foot studio is equipped with 49 bikes, shoes, lockers, filtered water, showers, and a DJ booth. Something else that sets this studio apart is the fitness monitors that are attached to each bike. The monitor calculates the calories burned, the rider’s rotations per minute (RPM), and the power level that the bike is on. All of the bikes are hooked up to an 80-inch video monitor that projects your place in the class. After each class, each rider has their fitness track and the playlist used for that class emailed to them.
Another exciting aspect of Cyclebar is a program known as Cyclegiving, where the studio has rides in which the money raised goes to benefit any charity. Anyone will be able to call the studio, and they can organize a ride to benefit any charity that they choose. Just one class can make $1,000 to benefit the charity. Crane claims that Cyclebar Greengate is planning to have four to five of these charity rides a week.
The overall ambition of Cyclebar Greengate is to become a cycling studio that provides a workout experience unlike others in Richmond. With its high-tech, innovative technology and lively and inspiring atmosphere, Cyclebar hopes to provide a high-intensity, yet enjoyable experience for people of all fitness levels.
All images courtesy of Libbie Crane.