taking a spin around the world
Over the past two years, I have experienced 27 indoor cycling studios around the world and spent more money than I care to admit (spoiler alert: it was worth every penny)! Simply put, I love studio fitness. This love led to owning and operating PowerCycle, Nebraska’s first and only boutique fitness studio dedicated to cycling. PowerCycle was born out of my passion and this same passion led me to document my journey on social media to studios around the world.
I travel quite often for my “day job” and I decided visiting cycling studios would be a fun way to stay in shape. As we all know traveling and healthy living don’t always go hand in hand. It would also allow me to experience wonderful communities of people around the world dedicated to fitness. Boutique studios are a place to connect, interact, sweat, smile and mingle with the locals. I hit studios in LA, Toronto, New York City, Phoenix, Austin, Chicago, Vancouver, London, and even in obscure places like Vero Beach, Florida to name just a few!
Upon landing in a new city when the flight attendant announces I can use my phone, I open Yelp to research nearby cycling studios and occasionally ones that aren’t so close. In Florida, an instructor’s reputation motivated me to drive 90 miles from my hotel for a class in Miami (that’s dedication)! I hit all the major players in the indoor cycling world such as SoulCycle, Flywheel, Swerve, CycleHouse and CYC. Once I made it through them (multiple times), I visited the locally owned and operated studios.
My trip to 27 cycling studios was my 50 minutes of fun and escape. It was my time for self care and a break from a sometimes very grueling travel schedule. I met amazing people, from studio owners to badass instructors to fellow riders. My experiences were always positive. I walked out happier and healthier. That alone is worth every penny to me!
I can trace my love of indoor cycling back to the the first class I took at a local gym ten years ago. An injury from training for a half marathon motivated me to cross train. As I walked into my first class, I was unsure about the whole thing! There was a lot spandex and everyone looked intense and serious.
In that first class, I fell in love. It’s hard for me to put into words how spiritual a spinning class can be as it forges a mind body connection similar to that of yoga. You have to experience it for yourself and I strongly encourage you to run out and find your closest studio. This connection of mind, body, and heart is why people are so devoted to spin. It’s not just a workout where you burn calories. It’s something much greater and when you combine spinning with a boutique studio environment, it results in the most amazing community of people.
Three years ago, my family was devastated when my father lost his battle with cancer at the young age of 59. I spent almost the entirety of the previous year helping my mother care for my dad. Taking him to appointments, sitting with him during chemo treatments and calling the doctor at 3 am when he couldn’t stop throwing up. It was a very dark time and when it abruptly came to an end, I was unsure what my next step should be.
I distinctly remember sitting down with my family and the grief counselor advising us to not make any big decisions in the next six months. Two months later, I decided to open PowerCycle. Whoops. I didn’t know the specific details or what it entailed. I just knew I was going to do it.
I credit PowerCycle for keeping my mom and I sane. We worked on the studio tirelessly and it gave us something to think about other then my dad passing. It gave us a reason to keep going when all we wanted to do was quit. A wonderful thing I discovered while opening my studio and visiting countless others, is that passion attracts passion. From the instructors to the riders, we all share a common love for killer beats, self care and sweaty cycling classes!
Some important things I have learned along my journey:
1. Life is not about the destination. At first, when visiting new studios, I would take the quickest transportation route so I could get in and out quickly. Eventually, I discovered that by walking or biking to these studios, I could enjoy the city and ground myself in the present.
2. Expectations kill the fun. Whenever I walked in with a preconceived idea, it ruined the entire experience. Each cycling studio was distinctive. Some we danced on the bike, some were driven by watts, and some had music videos in the background. Each studio had unique personality and was wonderful in its own way.
3. Energy attracts energy. When my energy was running low from exhaustion, people steered clear. No one spoke to me. No one even made eye contact! On the flip side, when I entered the studio space with good energy, I received good energy. People interacted with me and this made the experience that much better.
4. Always challenge yourself. Each class I took was an opportunity to challenge myself both physically and mentally. Through my 27 studio journey, I realized how many excuses I was making on a daily basis. You know the common go-to excuses: I’m too tired to workout, I just got off a 14 hour flight I can skip the class, I’m feeling run down and I shouldn’t workout. Excuses get you nowhere.
5. It’s ok to be uncomfortable. Traveling alone to a strange city can be very isolating and trying new things can be uncomfortable. But that’s ok. Don’t let fear of discomfort keep you locked in a hotel room!
Finally, just enjoy the ride! Life isn’t always a nice flat Nebraska road with the wind at your back. It’s bumpy, hilly, windy with sprints and climbs. All of those things reveal who you truly are and what is truly important to you. Don’t discount the hard times. They are our greatest teachers. You learn as much in those trying times (and maybe more) as you can when the sun is shining! Oh and one more thing … life is better on a spin bike!
Tigh was born and raised in Nebraska and is proud to still call it home. He travels regularly as a conference and marketing consultant in addition to owning Nebraska’s only boutique fitness studio dedicated to indoor cycling, PowerCycle. His newest venture is a marketing agency called PowerUp, that is dedicated to helping boutique fitness studios make an impact in their community through social media strategy and online marketing. You can follow all of Tigh’s fitness travels on instagram, @tighrant.
Cycling studios Tigh visited included: PowerCycle, SoulCycle (NYC 19th, NoMad, NoHo, SoMa, Santa Monica), Flywheel (NYC Tribeca & Flatiron, Boca Raton, Chicago), Monster Cycle, Swerve, CYC NYC, Peloton (NYC & Studio III Chicago), CycleHouse (Santa Monica, West Hollywood), Eastwood, Spin Society, CHS Revolution, SWC, Mojo, RPMSpin, Psycle, LOVE Studio and Rocket Cycle.