Archive of ‘bike’ category
Crash Course: Peloton Cycling is the latest spin studio to pop up in DC, making it the sixth in the area to hop on the sweaty indoor biking trend. The studio steers away from the posh party-on-a-bike, soul searching, cult-like atmosphere found at other locations and sticks to the basics: challenging, fun, and traditional spin classes. But don’t mistake traditional for boring. The music is great, the instructors are energetic and knowledgable, and the workout is killer. Visit Peloton’s website for a full list of class options and times.
where: 2217 14th Street NW/U Street Metro
bring: towel, water bottle
perks: posh lounge area, close to metro
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: spandex or close-fitting shorts, bike shoes optional
cost: drop-in class is $20, first class is free
The thing that intrigued me most about Peloton was this blurb on their website:
We are rebelling against the typical modern cycling studio with a nostalgic turn of the 20th century motif. Absent from Peloton Cycling is the stark palate of the modern; present is the old world charm of honest competition. We focus on character – not reputation. With this focus, we are committed to building a healthy and active community in DC.
Rebelling? Nostalgia? Charm? Oh my! After crashing every spin studio in the metro area, I had a very clear idea of what this studio was trying to rebel against. There are a few indoor cycling locations where the atmosphere is part dance-party, part rave, part self-empowerment session. This is not that studio.
So what is Peloton all about and what makes it different? After going to their “breakaway” class the other week, here’s what I took away:
- The students seemed to be a mix of cyclists and non-cyclists.
- The class cues were built around meeting target RPM (rotations per minute) vs. levels. For example, you’ll be asked to get your cadence clock between 80 – 90 instead of being asked to “find a level 6.” To me, this was awesome and gave students a more concrete idea of exertion levels.
- The music is great, but you won’t leave with ringing ears.
- The atmosphere is casual and spacious. You won’t be assigned a bike and you won’t feel like you’re getting sprinkled in someone else’s sweat.
- The session is built around real ride experiences, including hill climbs, time trials, flat open roads, and pace lines.
- Riders can use bike shoes or street shoes.
- Another thing that sets Peloton apart? I have never been to a spin studio that charged for towels. Spin = sweat, so it goes without saying you’ll need one. If you forget, you can rent towels at the studio for $1.
Peloton is located just a few blocks from the U Street metro and next door to Crossfit Praxis. I didn’t see a sign hanging outside the building for Peloton, so you kind of have to know it’s there to find it. It’s good you’re reading this!
On the night I went to class, I got a bit lost trying to find my way. For those who haven’t been, you need to walk into the entrance for Crossfit Praxis and make a hard right to find the door to Peloton.
It’s not entirely intuitive, but look lost enough and the kind folks at crossfit will help point you in the right direction. When you walk in, you’ll find yourself in a very swanky reception area. There were plush leather chairs (leather+sweat don’t mix…but I digress), a large glass table sitting on a cowhide rug, wooden fans in the studio, and the bathroom looked like it was right out of Restoration Hardware. I loved the little details they put into giving the space a very nostalgic feel.
One thing worth mentioning: the fact that Crossfit Praxis is next door means there is a constant sound of boom, thud, and clash resonating throughout the studio when crossfit classes are in session. It’s incredibly disconcerting to be using the restroom and have everything start to shake as if the place is being shelled from some invisible enemy army. Ahem. It’s also annoying to try and have a discussion or calmly put your things into a locker when it sounds like there’s a war on (or one heck of a bowling match). Thankfully, you can’t hear or feel anything during the class itself. It’s very possible this experience was unique to my visit. But it was so overwhelming that I had to share. For those of you that have been, did you find this to be the case?
Bottom line – despite being brand-spaking new to the DC scene, Peloton is a quality studio that you should put on your radar if you’re looking for an excellent sweat. I had an incredible workout, and I look forward to going back for the “all rounder” full body ride I’ve heard so many great things about.
Be sure to check out my other spin crashes:
On Thursday evening Revolve hosted a group of local bloggers and fitness personalities for a special spin class. There have been quite a few recaps of this event from other bloggers out there, but I wanted to throw in my two cents because it was such fun and unique evening.
First things first, let’s clear the air. This was an enormously bizarre experience at first. Picture it: walking into a room full of people you have never met in real life, but know everything about. I could have hovered around the room and yelled out excruciatingly-specific details about every single one of their lives. Like how I loved their wedding invitations, drooled over what they made for dinner last night, also enjoyed watching reality tv while foam rolling, or wondered if that new puppy was still chewing their running shoe collection. And yet, I have never spoken a word to any of them. Utterly bizarre. So very 2013.
Introductions went something like this: “Hi, my name is Meaghan” *blank stare* “…I write DC Fit Crasher.” *eureka* It was wonderful to finally meet the personalities behind those blog posts and tweets that fill my queue each morning. Call me old fashioned, but there’s just something lovely about good-old-fashioned talking. I wish we had more time to mix and mingle and meet – but since this was an event geared toward fitness fanatics, the clock struck 7:45 and it was time to strap on our bike shoes and get down to business.
Tonight’s activity: a “body ride” class with Francina, who totally owned us for 45-minutes of leg-spinning, iron-pumping, music-blaring craziness. The class is about 40 minutes of spinning followed by 5 minutes of arm exercises with free weights. While Francina confessed to being nervous leading a class full of reviewers, once the lights went down, she led like a total pro. From the awesome music playlist, the verbal cues, the singing-along karaoke moments, and the dancing on stage…I was sold. It was so much fun and honestly one of the most enjoyable spin classes I’ve been to. It takes a special personality to lead a class that feels more like a party than a pain-train. Hats off.
Seated to my left was Deanna Jefferson, owner of the Fab Body Factory and a Nike personal trainer. I first met her at a free Monday night workout at the Nike store in Georgetown where she worked me into a puddle of sweat in under five minutes flat. Impressive. And to my right was Anne from one of my favorite healthy-lifestyle blogs, fANNEtastic food. After reading her blog for a few years, I was a bit star struck to see her jump off the Internet pages and into real life. Bloggers really do exist!
And here is Sara from Magia e Pasta and Allison from Wicked Healthy Washingtonian. So great to meet you too!
And one more shot of a few other bloggers and fitness personalities posing with our fearless leader, Francina. This was after the class, mind you. Who looks that fabulous after a spin class…WHO? You ladies are unreal. I’m a fan.
There were many other awesome guests at the event who I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo with. What does that mean? It means we obviously need to do this again, stat. And perhaps with a built-in happy hour after. Speaking of which, we were all treated to some delicious post-sweat treats from local vegan sensation Goûter. I reviewed a few of their tonics back in December and have been a huge admirer since. It’s been fun watching their family-owned small business grow and thrive – can’t wait to see what else 2013 has in store!
V brought a few of her best-selling tonics for us to try, including my favorite Mexican “hot” chocolate and a brand new blue concoction called “Protect.” That’s not blue gatorade you’re looking at, it’s a hand-craftic tonic with high-grade spirulina. How cool is that?
Nothing like ending a sweaty evening with a sweet nugget of raw, vegan goodness. Thanks Revolve and Goûter for the wonderful evening!
Crash Course: Revolve is a spin studio located just a few blocks from the Clarendon metro stop. Their “real ride” class is a traditional 45-minute spin workout, complete with loud music, mirrored walls, and lots (and lots) of sweat. There weren’t any upper body shenanigans, and the ride focused mainly on quick intervals and climbs. Bike shoes are required and can be rented at the studio. Classes typically fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early on the Revolve website to secure your spot.
where: 1025 North Fillmore Street, Arlington VA
bring: water bottle, bike shoes (SPD and Look cleats)
perks: limited free parking, combination lockers, filtered water, bike shoe rental
sweat score: 9 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex bottoms, bike shoes required
instructor: Grant Hill
cost: drop in rate is $18
Revolve opened in Arlington in late 2011, making it one of the first boutique spin studios in the area to help DC kick off its love affair with indoor cycling. If it’s any indication of how popular this workout is, six other studios have opened in the greater DC area since. Washingtonians must have a penchant for punishment, because being packed shoulder to shoulder in dark, steamy rooms with low lighting and dance-club level music while whirling your legs wildly to the commands of a microphone-clad teacher is not everyone’s idea of a good time. That said…it just happens to be a pretty darn good time.
The Revolve DC studio offers three different classes to choose from: real ride, barre ride (a two-for-one special combining spin and ballet barre), and body ride (spin class using upper body weights). The space is bright, sleek, and clean, with iPads greeting you when you walk in the front door for easy sign-in and sign-ups. Tip: many of the instructors have a cult-following and classes fill up fast. Be sure to sign up early to get into the class you want. Also, you will be asked to sign up for a specific bike. I made the rookie mistake of picking one in the front of the room (thinking it was the back), so double check the numbers. Lower numbers in the front, higher numbers in the back.
The studio lobby area has a small retail section selling Revolve merchandise and a few spin-centric items like socks, water bottles, and headbands. After passing the front desk, store your gear in the row of white lockers to your left. They have built-in combination locks (love these!) for extra security. It can get really crowded in here with lots of students buzzing about, so if you’re running late and a bit frazzled, just be prepared to find some zen before walking in the door.
There is only one changing room and it is all the way in the back of the studio to your right. It’s nice and big, so you have plenty of room to transition from work/street clothes into your spandex-clad spin-superhero gear (at least that’s what I told myself it was). To save time, I recommend changing before arriving if you can. Bathrooms are located outside of the studio – go out the back door and make a left down the hallway. They are bright, clean, single units.
You cannot wear gym shoes on the bikes at Revolve – bike shoes with Look or SPD clips are required. If you don’t own any, don’t worry, they rent them in the studio for $2. Before heading into class, fill your water bottle at the filtered water spout located just to the right of the spin studio door and grab an extra towel or two – you’ll need them once class starts.
Like many other spin studios in the area, the bikes are packed tightly into a small, mirrored room. Find your bike number and get settled in. The lights turn down once class starts, so try to make any adjustments before the door closes.
Grant Hill led the Real Ride class I crashed. I have been following Grant on Twitter for quite awhile now, and was very familiar with his motivational attitude and favorite phrase, “don’t stop, don’t quit.” Because the class was just under an hour, we wasted no time getting knee-deep into climbs, intervals, sprints, and (everyone’s favorite) tabatas. Let’s just say you won’t have any problem getting warmed up during the first song. Speaking of songs, I hate to admit that I didn’t recognize one single song Grant played. This was actually kind of refreshing, since the soundtrack at every other studio I’ve visited has been a mix of current and past pop hits. While I did miss singing along to familiar favorites, the lack of any recognizable tunes returned my distraction-seeking mind to the task at hand: working hard and spinning like crazy.
Things that didn’t make my wheels turn:
- I had a really hard time hearing Grant, which made following along to his prompts especially difficult. This seemed to be a combination of microphone fuzziness and loud music. It helped that I was in the front row so I could follow his lead, but for riders in the back, I bet it was difficult to figure things out sometime. If you are new, I’d recommend trying to be up front.
Things that spun my fancy:
- Free parking. For someone who commutes by car, this is a huge incentive to stop by Revolve on the way home from work.
- Everyone – riders and Revolve employees- was incredibly friendly from start to finish. They helped me set up my bike, figure out where to dump my used bike shoes after class, and helped me laugh off my jitters when I discovered I had reserved a bike smack dab in the front row. The
- The class was a solid spin workout with no funny push-up business (if you read my ZenGo review, you know what I mean). I never once looked at the clock, and when Grant called out “last song,” I was in shock. It flew by and packed a calorie-burning wallop.
On the hunt for the perfect spin studio for you? Be sure to check out my other spin studio reviews:
Off Road DC
Crash Course: ZenGo is a spin studio with a work-hard play-hard hardcore attitude. I have never been to Soul Cycle – the cycling studio in NYC with an enormous, cult-like following of sweaty spin devotees willing to shell out $35 per class – but from what I have heard of its intensely energetic, full sensory experience, ZenGo seems like it’s on the same wavelength. Loud music, use of upper body weights, lots of movement on the bike, all set in a mirrored, sweaty, candle-lit studio. Weekend classes sell out in less time than it takes to brew your morning cup of coffee, so be sure to plan this visit at least a week in advance. Click here to see the full schedule.
where: 4866 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda Md.
bring: bike shoes with clips if you have them
perks: shoe rental, fresh towels, showers, lockers, first class free
sweat score: 9 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex shorts and tank
instructor: Melissa K.
cost: drop in rate is $21*
Driving up to this quaint little Bethesda building on a sleepy Sunday morning, I spent a few moments bracing myself for impact. I had seen news stories about ZenGo and knew it was going to be a loud, sweaty, in your face experience. This seemed to be the pied-pipper of spin studios, where students flocked week after week to the feel-good sweat-party vibe. After crashing at each of the three spin studios in the District, I was interested to see what all the buzz was about and how ZenGo would compare.
The entrance to the studio sits below street level, so keep an eye out for it when you pass by. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by bright colors and lots of energy. I attended what I thought was an “early morning” Sunday class at 8:45, and people buzzing about, chatting in corners, giving high-fives as if it were a Friday evening.
There is a big, bright lobby area lined with combination lockers for storing your gear. I love that the lock is already embedded into the locker and I don’t have to lug my own around. In the corner is a filtered water spout to fill your water bottles – believe me, you’ll want to bring at least one with you to class.
There is also a clean and lovely women’s locker room, complete with two showers, a changing area, and a few items to help you get ready (hairdryer lovers rejoice). With the amount of sweat spin classes create, this is an enormous perk when you’re on the go and want to freshen up after your workout.
I did not get a look at the barre studio, which is all the way in the back of the building. But here is what the spin studio looks like in an unusually tranquil, empty moment.
So what do you need to know about signing up for a ZenGo spin class?
- When you register for a class, you will be asked to register for a particular bike. Check out the seating chart and find a spot that’s comfortable for you. I sat in the back right corner and had no issues seeing the instructor.
- You must wear bike shoes to class with either LOOK or SPD clips. There are no cages for regular shoes. If you don’t own bike shoes, you can rent them from the front desk for $3.
- Weekend classes sometimes sell out in minutes. If you want to snag a spot, be sure to get online on Monday at 1 p.m. when reservations open for the week.
What do expect during a 45-minute class:
- The music is really loud, and some folks even brought ear plugs. I didn’t think it was any louder than other classes I had been to and was most on par with the decibel level of Biker Barre or Sculpt DC, but just know that it’s similar to being in a night club.
- Enormously energetic instructors. I was blown away by the intensity, passion, and sheer enthusiasm that showed up at 8:45 on a Sunday morning. It truly felt like a religious experience at some points, when instead of yelling out instructions, she yelled out motivational phrases and self-empowerment quips. At times, it felt like someone should have shouted back, “Amen!”
- There is an incredible amount of moving around on the bike. Every song contained some combination of standing, sitting, and pushups. All of these are done fast. If you are looking for a more traditional spin class focusing on cycling only, I wouldn’t recommend this class as your top pick.
- Each class uses free weights to complete a series of arm exercises toward the end of class.
- You will sweat….a lot.
I don’t think I’ll be making this class a part of my regular schedule because of the location and the price. I’m also not a huge fan of freeweights or pushups on the bike – call me a traditionalist. But it’s a great option for those in the Bethesda area who want to experience a “party” class on a spin bike. Let me know if you’ve tried it and what you thought.
After class, I made a pit stop at Puree Juice Bar. I have been hearing great things about this place, and since I was in the area, it was a perfect opportunity to check it out.
It is bright, clean, and absolutely adorable inside. They had an extensive menu of juices, smoothies, and some food items…but since I just sweat in a hot room for 45 minutes, I craved something cold and refreshing with lots ingredients to help me refuel.
I couldn’t decide because everything looked so good. While I stood in awe in front of the menu on the wall, the woman behind the counter offered me a sample of their home-made kombucha. I’ll take it! They had two kombucha flavors on tap, just like you would see at a bar – how cool is that? I tried the ginger flavor and it was really good.
After much hemming and hawing, I settled on a best-seller: the coconut greencicle. It had whole pieces of raw coconut in it, along with kale, orange, coconut water, and some other yummy and fresh ingredients. It wasn’t sweet and tasted very healthy. I don’t think I’d order this particular smoothie again – mostly because I realized I’m not a huge fan of coconut – but I will certainly look forward to going back to Puree to try something else. Cheers!
Be sure to check out my reviews of other spin studios in the area:
Crash Course: Sufferfest is a downloadable video series featuring follow-along spin workouts set to footage from professional cycling races. Off Road DC hosts a workout every Sunday dedicated to one of these videos, and the class is extremely popular. Show up between 2 – 2:30 p.m. for an optional warmup, and the “suffering” begins at 2:30 on the dot. This is a great option for any experience level, from cyclists who want to get out of the cold to beginners who want to see what the video is all about. Need another incentive? Through January, use the code RESOLUTIONS to get 20% off class prices.
where: Off Road DC
bring: two water bottles
perks: water refills during class, fresh towels, look and spd pedals
sweat score: 9 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex shorts, bike shoes optional
cost: drop in rate is $20
Sufferfest. Sounds like just the kind of thing you want to do on a Sunday afternoon, right? But walk into the spin studio at Off Road DC and you’ll be surprised at just how many folks elect to make this two hour pain-train a regular part of their weekend schedule. In fact, this class was completely sold out a day in advance, so if you want to try it out I recommend signing up early. An optional 30 minute warm up starts at 2 p.m. and the Sufferfest video begins at 2:30 p.m. I arrived at 2:25 to a packed house and took a seat on the only bike left: the one right in front. Oh joy.
So what is Sufferfest? It’s a video series that takes riders through a simulated race course using footage from pro cycling events. Think of it as a spin class with video entertainment. Some of the classes focus on intervals, others are all about climbing big hills, or there are some that offer a grab bag of training techniques. The workout is broken down step by step on the screen, and a little timer in the corner shows riders target cadence and effort during each phase. See?
The particular video playing in class today was called, “There is no Try.” It was 60 minutes long, interval heavy, and featured film from the Tour de France. Check out a video preview from the Sufferfest website here. I took a shot of the full workout breakdown so you can see what we did:
The owners walked around and helped refill water bottles during the class so riders didn’t have to hop off their bikes to hydrate. Awesome service! They did this at Studio S in Cincinnati and I thought it was a helpful touch. And there was an instructor on hand to lead us through the workout and provide a bit of encouragement through the “suffering.” Thanks Colleen!
To be honest, despite the name, it was a really enjoyable way to get in a spin workout and I’d go back in a heartbeat. I really liked having the video to follow along to, the footage of France was beautiful and blissfully distracting, and the music was fun and upbeat. From what I could gather from the other cyclists, they enjoyed it too. And this wasn’t a class full of pro-cycling junkies, either. It was a great mix of everyone from beginners who wanted to try the video-spin-class environment to amateur cyclists who wanted to escape the cold.
Also, I was SO HUNGRY after class that I had to dig into these almond pecan clusters I had hanging out in my backpack from a previous crash. I guess an hour and a half of sweating like crazy will do that to you. So if you go to Sufferfest, bring some rations or have a plan of action for refueling after.
Also, if you can’t make it out to Off Road on Sundays but want to try Sufferfest, you can also download the Sufferfest videos for $13 and use them at home on your bike trainer or at the gym. Click here for more information. If you try one and love it, let me know!
Two hour sufferfest spin: crazy or crazy fun?