Cycling studios in Ottawa show that joining a spin class is more than just exercise – it’s a space for focus, fun, and community.
It’s those nagging questions I’ve had as cycling studios appear across the city. What makes them unique? What makes people come back time and again? And, after attending three classes across three different studios, how did they make me sweat so much?
The Dailey Method
Cost per class: $20
At the Dailey Method Ottawa Barre + Cycle studio, you have options. On one side of the building is a barre studio that focuses on activities that strengthen and stretch each muscle in your body, but as co-owner Sarah Thompson tells me, their client base were looking for more.
“People were looking for more cardio, and to add to what they do on the [barre] side. So this was an obvious choice… [The Dailey Cycle] came to be 6 or 7 years ago and has evolved to these amazing bikes that we all have to have. They’re state-of-the-art. Kind of like the Ferrari of indoor cycling.”
What adds to the uniqueness of a spin class at The Dailey Method isn’t just the design of the bike, which also features a digital screen that can track your average revolutions per minute (RPM), but that these sessions integrate all of the techniques and alignment from a barre studio class and bring it into the room.
The spin class I took with The Dailey Method (which was the endurance class) ran for 45 minutes inside a room with 20 bikes and a backlit wall that switched colours depending on the song. We focused on form, function, and getting lost in the playlist.
“I love making playlists for this class. You just get so into it. You move to the beat. It’s still a rhythm ride. You add movements to almost dance to the beat… while staying safe within the alignment principals. You get this huge burst that you wouldn’t get normally from a non-cardiovascular class.”
Each music track chosen for the class plays to the intent. An endurance class might feature endurance-oriented songs, with speed and strength complementing the class structure. At one point during the class, we sweat it out to ‘Colours of the Wind’ which Sarah admits is a preview to their Disney-themed rides.
Currently, there are more than 20 classes a week with opportunity to combine membership offers with the barre studio.
“We are a little smaller than most studios, so we can still give that personalized attention. I can come see every student, come around and give little adjustments if I can.”
Things of note:
- State-of-the-art cycling bikes (digital screen, track your sessions)
- Variety of class styles (including strength, speed, endurance, and themed rides)
- Alignment focus and techniques from barre studio
Cost per class: $20
Wheelhouse is not “just another bike shop,” which co-founder Nadine Hogan tells me was a common misinterpretation when the studio first opened in the Westboro neighbourhood. And it’s certainly not just another cycling studio. Think dance party, but on a stationary bike.
“I like loud music. I have a lot of energy. I like that it’s a dark room and it’s not about anyone else: just you. And it has a bit of a yoga vibe in it… I like the mindfulness piece, getting away from my day and sweating it out on a bike.”
When you enter the Wheelhouse studio, there is this sense of spirit and enthusiasm from the staff, and equally so from the riders. There is a sense of community as laughter and chatter fill the space.
“It’s the best group of humans all in one little space. We’re all here for our own reasons, but also for each other… the community, people, the energy they bring. Some days you come with a lot of energy to spread around, some days you need a little more. That’s what that room is all about. We elevate each other, get each other a little further.”
In the cycling room itself, there are 32 bikes. The space is dark, filled by candlelight. Nadine, who ran my session, focused on motivating and pushing the riders through each movement. Roughly halfway through the class, you reach what they call the ‘dark track’. The candles go out, and you get to focus on your own personal goal and commitment. Maybe you dial it back. Maybe you pour it all out. This lasts about three to four minutes. Then you bring out the small weights – which I found elevated the session into a well-rounded full body exercise.
Wheelhouse will be opening a second studio in late October at Bank/Gladstone, allowing them to reach a broader community, and allowing them to connect and partner with businesses in the area. There are 15 instructors currently and all will be found at both locations.
You can purchase a single class pass, or sign up for the spin addict package. New riders will find the unlimited two week package especially useful for getting into a cycling schedule.
“It is intimidating to try something new. [Wheelhouse] is a welcoming environment. All shapes, sizes, all ages. If you can peddle a bike, you can try it out. It’s okay to be intimidated, but don’t let it hold you back.”
Things of note:
- Strong sense of community, motivating classes
- New rider, spin addict, and monthly memberships that tailor to your lifestyle
- Second location opening late October
Cost per class: $20
Spin City is located near the downtown core on Bank Street. When you enter the studio, you notice the aesthetic and design – every fine detail was crafted and hand-built by the owners.
“Spin City was the dream of our owners. Sébastien [the owner] is an avid cyclist and has been for a very long time. He had this vision and dream of essentially opening a studio where people could ride from January to December, no restrictions in terms of weather, no restrictions in terms of fitness level, that we could really open our doors to anyone,” says KG, a Spin City instructor.
The cycling takes place in the most spacious of the studios I visited, with high ceilings, coloured-hue lights, and even a disco ball that made me feel like I was pedalling my heart out at a club. There are 25 stationary cycle bikes in the space.
“My favourite thing about a Spin City class is the high intensity workout that you get from it. It’s a 45 minute class, so shorter than your typical or standard endurance class. But you get your workout in a shorter amount of time and you take each track as its own circuit. In terms of challenging yourself, you can really focus one track at a time.”
The session I joined featured a dark track, a circuit with light weights, and a sprint (featuring the disco ball), and after 45 minutes, we were all glad to have our towels handy. The pace was intense, yet there was also a spiritual manner in the way we pushed toward our goals each track.
Each instructor at Spin City brings their unique personality and flair to classes, while maintaining the foundation and exercise base that Spin City was built on. It’s something that new clients can look forward to when signing up for their first session.
Did I mention that Spin City also offers energizing protein shakes? You can reserve yours while online and have it ready by the time you finish your ride.
Things of note:
- Convenient location, spacious studio with unique aesthetic
- Personality of instructors that build on cycling foundation
- Protein shake bar to give you a full post workout recovery
As winter approaches, cycling studios are a great way to keep up (or start up) your cardio, dance your heart out, and make new friends along the way.