Over the years my love for indoor cycling has grown significantly. These days I almost look more forward to clipping in and tapping back than running. As a creature of habit I have my go-to studios and workouts but love to check out new studios. I’ve heard of CycleBar as it is franchised nationwide, so when I got wind of the grand opening of CycleBar Columbia Pike in the DC area, I knew I needed to give it a try.
I’ll start off by saying that I’ve tried many indoor cycling studios and for the most part they all follow a similar routine: 45-50 minutes of pulsating music, hills, sprints, push ups, a weights track and sometimes a dim the lights track where it’s just you and the bike. CycleBar’s setup was certainly no different but for me what sets studios apart are the little things.
When I first stepped into the studio I felt at home. The decor was warm and inviting with contrasts of red, white and black. One of the owners, Marina, greeted me warmly and I was just taken in by the sleek look and newness of the place. Definitely a score.
To take a step back, the studio is located in Arlington, VA on Columbia Pike near S. Glebe Street. It’s on the corner and there is a parking garage right there with free parking (double score). While I have a limit on how far I’ll travel to a studio (generally 20 minutes) accessibility, particularly in the DC area, is a big factor.
Marina showed me where to get my shoes, which are complimentary, and walked me to the locker room area which has plentiful and spacious combination locks. The bathrooms are immaculate with plenty of toiletries. There is also a water filling station with FREE water bottles (I didn’t take one, I have SO many but they’re nice!) I thought I read they had pre-ride snacks but I didn’t notice if this was the case.
The cycling studio which is referred to as the CycleTheater is pretty big. It boasts very smooth and easy to clip in/out of Schwinn bikes and seats 47 + the instructor station. Each bike is equipped with a personal monitor that tracks RPM, resistance, power and more. Similar to my experience at Flywheel you create an account and are emailed your stats and/or opt out of your stats displaying on the 2 large screens in the front of the room. I’ve never really been a fan of the monitor. There is definitely a time and a place for me to track my stats but for indoor cycling it’s not that important. But if that’s your jam, you’ll nerd out over it!
Now for the workout itself, I definitely pushed myself and got a good sweat going. The arms track was fun and used a weighted bar instead of hand weights. The options are a 4 or 6 pound bar of which I used the 6 and felt sufficiently challenged. However, there was no holder for the weight bar and it sat across the handlebars which was a nuisance because I kept hitting it during the push ups and dips.
One other thing I wished had been different was the instruction at the beginning. Even though there were several newbies to CycleBar, the positions and moves could have been explained more, not to mention how to turn on the monitor! I assumed (incorrectly) that it turned on when you started the ride. By the time I found the on switch (in the dark mind you) 6 minutes had gone by in the workout. My stats were off the entire time so I showed up dead last on the leader board which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a huge deal since I wasn’t really going for that but it would have been nice to have a complete view. Small things of course but overall I enjoyed the experience.
What sets CycleBar apart from a lot of boutique studios is the price. They offer free 30 minute rides for newcomers to indoor cycling and currently new rider packages for $10/session. If you are in the DMV area I definitely recommend trying out CycleBar. While my regular studio is within walking distance I can see me hitting up CycleBar on occasion or to meet up with friends. They are running grand opening specials through Sunday, November 13 and all rides are FREE so if you’re local, I suggest you take advantage!
Have you heard of or ridden at any CycleBar locations? What is the one thing that you look for in a fitness studio?