Last year, I checked out a handful of Ottawa’s cycling studios and discovered that a spin class offers more than just exercise and routines: each location shared a unique community culture that fosters friendships and countless moments to brighten your day.
A number of studios reached out following this piece, wanting to share their own spin on cycling studio culture. So I laced up my shoes and visited three more in the Ottawa area!
Cost per class: $20
SpinCo Ottawa opened its doors in early January 2018 as one of seven locations in Canada. But while they might be the new kid on the block, they are equipped with all of the right tools to push your ride to the next level as studio owner Nicole Hilstob tells me.
“We are all about the experience. We’re all about the journey. We’re all about the feeling. We don’t really focus on the workout itself – we focus more on the vibe, the experience, the community aspect. Everyone is family here.”
In the spin studio, you’ll find 39 bikes—the most I’ve seen in a studio so far. Across the front wall is a mirror, the instructor’s bike, and a disco ball on the ceiling. Nicole brought an intensity to my class and motivated the group of riders to keep challenging their comfort zone. “Turn the knob! Turn it up!” she said, referring to the resistance control for adjusting the tension and intensity of your stationary bicycle. Each rider is in control of his or her own workout, so I challenged myself and became completely absorbed in the experience. This class pushed me with intensity, power, and determination alongside heavy music beats that kept me focused. We even pulled out the small free weights for a three minute set.
New riders can experience their first class for $20 or sign up for the $50 unlimited plan that gives you unlimited rides for two weeks. It’s a great way to get hooked, try different instructors, and see what you like! At 6:30pm on Monday nights, each SpinCo studio has a ‘Spin It Forward’ session where the cost is $10 and all proceeds go that month’s selected charity. Since February is Heart Month, SpinCo will be raising funds for the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
SpinCo also features other special event classes such as themed rides and team teaches (where two instructors deliver energy at the same time), while keeping things fresh with new music and playlists.
Things of note:
- Spin It Forward on Mondays at 6:30pm where proceeds go directly to charity
- Intense rides with motivating instructors and heavy beats
- Full studio, featuring 39 bikes (so bring your friends)
Moffat Farm Cycle Club
Cost per class: $5 (by donation)
Moffat Farm Cycle Club studio is located in owner Vivek Kumar’s basement studio, fully equipped with 26 spin bicycles, fourteen fans, three televisions and a fully immersive sound system.
They are also the only spin studio in Ottawa that features the Performance IQ Heart Rate system, meaning that your ride gets captured and displayed on a screen so you can monitor your progress in the moment or view results following the ride. This includes tracking your heart rate, average revolutions-per-minute (RPMs) and the intensity of your ride so you can meet your activity goals when working through a climb, or pushing through a sprint.
“The [Performance IQ System] actually brought us to the next level of fitness,” Vivek says. “Not only our own fitness, but our member’s fitness.”
Vivek and co-owner Celine Filion have been teaching together since December 2014 and one hundred percent of their profits go toward charity.
“We started reaching out to our members because we are so community based,” says Celine. “We said ‘what do you guys want to ride for?” You’re here six days a week, you’re putting your blood, sweat, and tears in it… What would you like to see us represent?”
Moffat Farm Cycle have worked with various organizations including the Candlelighters, CHEO, the Ottawa Humane Society, Breast Cancer Action Ottawa, and Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa, raising just over $40,000 to date. In general, support for each organization rotates every three to six months.
I joined the ‘Hot Spin’ session that is a special event every Friday evening. Both Vivek and Celine motivate the class through fast-paced sprints, standing climbs, and dance moves while sweating it out in a 86°F (30°C) degree space. Heat definitely adds a new element of challenge to spin and we sweat a lot!
“One of the best things about this studio is that it has opened the doors of fitness to a lot of people who would have never walked through the doors of a gym,” says Celine. “We are more approachable… [but] sometimes they need a break from spin, and they will actually join a gym now… They have that confidence… It’s changed lives!”
“We really love that,” says Vivek. “Our youngest member is ten, our oldest member [is] eighty. That’s the beauty about indoor cycling – anybody can do it!”
“This is your ride. Spin. Sweat. Support.”
Things of note:
- Low-cost for a class ($5 donation) and all proceeds go directly to charity
- Performance IQ Heart Rate system to track rides and analyze results
- Hot Spin on Friday evenings – you will sweat a lot
Inner Soul Yoga & Cycle
Cost per class: $15
At Inner Soul Yoga & Cycle, you’ll find both a cycling studio and yoga studio.
I spoke with studio co-owner, Lindsey Roos, and owner, Victor Dirienzo, during my visit that included an hour of cycling followed by an hour of yoga. This popular combination class, called SPOGA (for “Spin and Yoga”) happens every Sunday morning.
In the studio, there are 37 bikes and a screen that plays through music videos. As riders, we followed the lead of Victor and Lindsey as they guided us through a series of climbs, jumps, and sprints. We also trained with weights and played with that resistance knob to extend the difficulty of the ride. At the end, candles were lit and Victor, a certified Reiki Master, guided us through a cycling meditation period.
“[Spin] is one of the best exercises you can do, especially if you’re starting out,” says Lindsey. “It’s good for all fitness levels, great for people recovering from surgery… it’s low impact on your joints, so you can ride at your own pace, set yourself up, and you can push a little harder next time.”
“That’s very important to us,” Victor adds. “We make sure that everybody knows it’s their ride.”
Following the class, I joined yoga for a relaxed period of stretching and movements specifically designed for the riders coming from the bike studio. This same studio, just a day earlier, featured a puppy yoga campaign that raised funds for the Ottawa Humane Society. In fact, $2,500 has been raised to date in support of the dog rescues. Lindsey tells me this won’t be the last time they bring in puppies either.
“It was so much fun and now we are partnering with all of the rescues around the city… so anytime a new litter is ready, we bring them in here, we have a yoga class. We give all the money to the dog rescues. I think they received 120 applications to adopt those four dogs from that one day.”
Inner Soul is always looking to expand their offerings, even leaving their schedule empty on Saturdays to explore workshops and introduce their community to new classes.
“When people come in here they talk about the vibe that we have, and you can just feel it…and it’s really because of them. It’s a family feel, a community, everybody is on a first name basis, everybody who comes in here are friends right away…It’s been a lot of fun. Everybody helps out the new person too.”
Things of note:
- Unique Spin and Yoga classes to elevate your fitness
- Low cost of $5.00 for your first class, no membership fee or class expiry dates
- Charity events like Puppy Yoga for that feel-good community vibe
For those looking to continue a New Year’s Resolution, help out a local charity, or to try something new, you may want to check out these studios.