[Updated] Indoor cycling company CycleBar will open Dec. 20 at 55 Memorial Rd. in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square, an will offer complimentary rides for the first week to introduce the business.
By Ronni Newton
CycleBar West Hartford franchise owner Carrie Touchette is overflowing with excitement about the opening of her boutique fitness business in Blue Back Square on Dec. 20.
“It really is a party on a bike,” Touchette said as she provided a tour of the studio on Monday, where just a few finishing touches were left to be made and the bikes were soon scheduled to be delivered.
Touchette said she was inspired to open the studio because of what she saw when she visited the CycleBar corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA. “I got involved because I loved the business,” she said.
She thinks that West Hartford, and specifically Blue Back Square, is the perfect for a new franchise location of this amazing boutique fitness model.
Blue Back Square Marketing Director Amy Cholawa agrees. “Cyclebar’s concept offers a state-of-the-art fitness solution that is ideal for West Hartford residents,” she said in a statement. “This is an excellent addition to the experiences people enjoy here at Blue Back Square.”
CycleBar provides a variety of classes – ranging from “performance” classes which are highly competitive with extra motivation through CycleStats technology; to classic rides that are a mixture of strength, endurance, challenges, hills, and drills; to themed rides; to “connect” rides which allow for a more relaxed and restorative experience.
The classes are fun and upbeat, accompanied by proprietary, high-energy music, and provide a multi-sensory experience as part of a challenging workout.
The 2,400 square foot space has 46 bikes, in a state-of-the-art tiered studio.
The level of instruction that riders receive at CycleBar is unparalleled, said Touchette.
“Instructors go through extensive training,” Touchette said. That training includes a boot camp over the weekend that will be held with master instructors from CycleBar’s corporate training department prior to the studio opening.
General Manager Gaby Pabon said that the instructors need to come to the boot camp prepared with all of the music for the classes they expect to teach, and need to engage in full rides on the last day.
Before being hired, the CycleBar instructors had to audition. A diverse group has been hired, Touchette said, including a former SoulCycle instructor, a West Hartford firefighter, and a man who has never taught before but recently lost 60 pounds doing indoor cycling and is now a devotee. They range in age from the 20s to 50s.
“We’ve hired the best people we can possibly find,” said Pabon.
The bikes used at CycleBar are a key component of the experience. The high-tech Schwinn bikes are specifically-designed for the company.
Riders can bring their own shoes (compatible with SPD and LOGIK) to clip into the pedals, or can rent them. Shoe rental is included in the cost of the class.
“At CycleBar, we take care of everything, so all you have to do is show up, clip in, and ride,” the website states. Other amenities include snacks, lockers with coded keypads, and a locker room that offers complimentary hair ties, wet clothing bags, and toiletries.
“There isn’t anything like it in the area,” said Pabon, who has taught at CycleBar Canton and is also a lead instructor at PureBarre in Blue Back Square. She will also teach some of the classes at CycleBar West Hartford. “It’s a special place from the moment you walk in the door.”
Classes will take place during peak times of the day – in the mornings and after work. During the middle of the day, from noon-4 p.m. when no classes are scheduled, the studio will be available for use by nonprofit organizations looking to hold fundraisers, or for groups looking to do team-building.
Classes are all 45 minutes in length, and weekday morning classes will begin at 5:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and 9:30 a.m., Pabon said.
Evening classes will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 6:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and on Tuesdays and Thursday at 4:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Saturday classes begin at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m., and Sunday classes are at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 10 a.m.
Plenty of staff will be on hand at all times, to help guests through every step of the experience. That includes someone at the front desk to provide a greeting and respond to questions, to staff who will ensure that riders’ bikes are set up properly.
CycleBar will open on Dec. 20 with its full schedule of classes – but the first week is all about introducing the business to the community.
“The first week is all free rides,” said Touchette. She said that everyone has the ability to sign up for two free rides.
CycleBar is located at 55 Memorial Rd. Founders memberships and other packages are available online at WestHartford.Cyclebar.com. Touchette said that pricing is similar to other boutique fitness facilities in the area.
According to a news release, CycleBar has opened more than 150 locations last year, with another 200 in development.
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