Indoor-cycling Studios are taking over Boston.
Indoor-cycling is popular all over the country. Cities like New York and L.A. were swarming with a plethora of studios, while we were lagging behind. Well, the indoor-cycling craze has officially hit Boston. In the past year alone Boston has seen four studios open up, with another —SoulCycle in Chestnut Hill—on its way this spring.
Prior to this past fall I had never taken a spinning class. I didn’t know what I was missing out on!! After being invited to Flywheel for my first spinning class, I was hooked!
During the past few weeks I’ve been checking out Boston’s indoor cycling studios and wanted to share my experiences with you. I hope this helps you figure out which studio is the right fit for you!
Location: 800 Boylston St. (Prudential Center)
Flywheel is a boutique indoor studio with locations across the country. Flywheel offers intense 45-minute indoor cycling classes that are both challenging and fun. About three-quarters of the way through the class, we used weighted bars to do upper-body arm work.
One of the best parts of Flywheel, and what makes it so different from any other studio in Boston, are the bikes. Each bike has an electronic screen that tells you exactly where you are when it comes to resistance and RPM. This way, when you turn the knob there is no guessing. Flywheel also has a Torqboard, a jumbo screen that displays the class’s performance throughout the ride. If you opt in, it’s totally optional, your performance numbers are displayed on the screen and you can see how you are doing compared to everyone else in the class. Only the top 10 riders are displayed, and I found this to be a huge motivator; I wanted my name on the board, and this made me work harder and pedal faster.
What is also unique about Flywheel is that the bike’s technology allows you to track and measure your progress. The information is saved and compiled online, where you can view your stats on your own Performance Page – AWESOME!
Flywheel offers stadium style seating so you can see the instructor from any bike in the room. Flywheel has a more competitive vibe, due to the Torqboard, but I personally didn’t find it too competitive or uncomfortable; I actually really enjoyed the energy in the room. My instructors have always been great and keep the class interesting. There are several staff members in the studio before class to help you clip in and adjust your bike.
Classes are offered seven days a week at various times. Your first class is complimentary and shoe rentals and towels are included in the class price. Flywheel has locked lockers and one shower.
Location: 569 Boylston Street on the 2nd floor
Pursuit Boston is a dedicated, officially licensed Spinning® studio located in the heart of the Back Bay. Like Flywheel, Pursuit Boston has Stadium-style seating with 26 state of the art bikes complete with performance tracking technology. Each bike is equipped with a small screen that tracks your speed, pace, distance, and calories burned as you ride!
My instructor Amber was motivating and clearly very passionate about spinning. She kept the class energized and the 45 minutes flew by. I really enjoyed both the class and the atmosphere here. The owner Jennie, who was manning the front desk, was friendly and welcoming and I felt welcomed and comfortable from the moment I walked through the door. I loved the brightness and open space.Because Pursuit is an official Spinning® studio, we didn’t do any arm work or strength training, although this might change soon (Spin Flex classes, which are 60-minutes long and include 20-minutes of weight training are being demoed soon). Rather, Pursuit has an area for stretching, complete with free weights that you can use after your class.
There is a small locker room with three changing rooms. There are also cubbies where you can store your stuff. The room is very secure and a staff member is always at the reception desk, but you must bring your own lock if you want your stuff locked securely. All of the bikes are SPD compatible, and Pursuit has a limited number of shoes available to borrow free of charge, on a first come first serve basis. You may also wear regular shoes.
Pursuit Boston donates a portion of EVERY ride back to a local charity. Classes are offered seven days a week. Your first class is complimentary. Arrive at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the class. If the class is full, they will open available bikes up to those on the wait list 3 minutes before class starts.
Location: in Public Alley 442 off of Fairfield Street between Boylston Street and Newbury Street
Velo-City Studio is located in a basement; it’s cool, low-key, and has a great nightclub vibe. The room is large with plenty of space for the 40-plus bikes. The instructor sits up on a little stage in the front of the room.
The 45-minute class was high energy, music driven, and a total body workout. Like Flywheel, we spent about 4 -5 minutes using free weights to do upper-body work and strength training. My class also focused on ab work, which I loved! It was such a great workout. My instructor, Jenn, was awesome. She was motivating and kept me energized throughout the class. The staff are super friendly and very helpful, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions or to ask for help.
Velo-City does not have lockers. There are cubbies so store your belongings, but no way to lock your stuff. A staff member is present in the reception area at all times.
Classes are offered seven days a week at various times. Shoe rentals and towels are included with each class. Classes do have an expiration date, so be mindful of this when purchasing mutli-class packages.
The Handle Bar
Location: 141 Dorchester Ave
Located right by Broadway Station, this sleek studio is equipped with 30 bikes, and offers both 45 and 60-minute classes (weekends only). There are no lockers here, but they do have cubbies for every rider, and there is always a staff member present at the front desk so bags are not left unattended.
The fast-paced cycling session was set to the beat of the music that really gets you going— I loved the playlist. Weighted bars are used for a portion of the workout to incorporate upper body toning into the class. There is only one bar, no options here like at Flywheel, Velo City and RealRyder, and for me it was too heavy.
The workout was infused with intensity, my classes was dubbed EN FUEGO, but still suitable for all skill levels. My instructor Lena was awesome; super peppy and energetic! We did a lot of abdominal and oblique work while riding the bikes, it was tough but I really enjoyed it. This class was a great workout; legs, abs, arms, wow! Classes can vary in routine depending on your instructor.
You must wear spin shoes, regular sneakers are not allowed. The shoes, unlike the other studios, are not included in the class price and cost $2 to rent. You can also wear your own SPD compatible shoes.
Classes are offered in the mornings and evenings, and some days during lunchtime. If you are thinking about going during your lunch break, keep in mind there are no showers. The reception area is small, there isn’t much room to get ready and move around.
Also be aware that bikes will be released 5 minutes prior to class for walk-in riders. If you are running late, please call the studio and your bike will be held.
RealRyder at Sweat and Soul Yoga
Location: 1032 Commonwealth Avenue
Located in Packard’s Corner, this small, 14-bike studio offers 45-miunte classes seven days a week. The studio has painted black walls and chandeliers along the walls, giving it a gothic feel and cool vibe.
What makes RealRyder bikes different is that they move side to side and require you to engage your core and upper body. I definitely had to engage more muscle than you would on a traditional indoor bike. The class also incorporates arm exercises, crunches, and pushups into the workout, truly giving you a full body workout.
Because the bike moves side to side, this class was more challenging than the others. It didn’t take long to get the hang of the bike, but I had a hard time when we made ‘’turns’’; it takes a lot of upper body (not my forte) and core strength.
My instructor Jenn, was super friendly and very welcoming. She helped me get adjusted and explained to all us first timers how the bikes moved. She was enthusiastic and kept me motivated.
My class was made up entirely of students, given the location and time I took the class, I wasn’t surprised. Despite this fact, I enjoyed the Real Ryder experience, but SASY is not the most convenient for me to get to, but for those of you who live in the Brighton/Allston area, it’s worth a try.
Although there are no lockers, and the lobby space is very small, there is an office attached to the studio where you can store your stuff. There’s only one door, via the studio, and therefore no one can access it during the class, ensuring your stuff stays secure. SASY does not provide towels so bring your own! Although they do not offer shoe rentals, you can wear sneakers or cycling shoes that are SPD compatible.
Location: 9 Newbury Street, Fifth Floor and 643A Tremont Street
*Please note, I have not been to a cycling class at Recycle Studio
Boston’s first indoor-cycling studio has two locations (South End and Back Bay) and offers an upscale, boutique spin studio. There are seven different kinds of classes offered from beginner to advance; from traditional style classes to core focused yoga for athletes and upper-body toning, there is something for everyone.
They have a few pairs of cycling shoes at the front desk you can borrow. They are available on a first come first serve basis so their availability is not guaranteed. Bikes are compatible with SPD cleats, so you can wear your own if you have them.
View Boston Indoor cycling studios in a larger map