Two women turn pas­sion into spin bike bou­tique

Salt Cy­cle Stu­dio has 20 sta­tion­ary bikes to sweat over

Maryland Independent - - Business - By DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @somd_bized­i­tor

“We’re nuts. We get in here and just go crazy; we can’t han­dle our­selves.”

Hope An­der­son of Me­chan­icsville was speak­ing of her­self and busi­ness part­ner Alexa Spin­ney of Lusby and their pas­sion for rid­ing sta­tion­ary spin bikes. The two re­cently turned that pas­sion into a new busi­ness in Great Mills: Salt Cy­cle Stu­dio.

The spin­ning bou­tique — the first in South­ern Mary­land, An­der­son said — opened its doors Oct. 29 with two sep­a­rate hour-long rides led by An­der­son and Spin­ney, who hap­pens to have an ap­pro­pri­ate last name.

“We’re not re­ally here to com­pete with the gyms. We, ac­tu­ally, both work at World Gym in Me­chan­icsville,” An­der­son said. “We’re just try­ing to bring something dif­fer­ent to the area. This is big in the city.”

Salt Cy­cle Stu­dio, oc­cu­py­ing a new space on Route 5 near In­dian Bridge Road, has 20 spin bikes in an 800-square­foot room with a raised in­struc­tor plat­form at the front and stretch­ing area in the back. The rest of the 1,500 square feet is given over to a lounge, re­cep­tion area and chang­ing rooms.

“They’re the tried-andtrue spin bikes that have been around for­ever,” Spin­ney said.

“It’s the best in­door bike that gives you a true feel of an out­door road rid­ing bike,” An­der­son added.

The seats and han­dle­bars are ad­justable for a good fit and the ped­als can clamp in place using or­di­nary tennis shoes, dis­pens­ing with the need for spe­cial clip-in cy­cling shoes. “We want the aver- age per­son to be able to come in and not feel like they need to go out and buy a $100 pair of shoes,” An­der­son said.

She added that new rid­ers should al­low 15 min­utes be­fore the first class to get the bike set up for them to en­sure a com­fort­able ride.

“Spin is low im­pact with the op­tion of be­ing high in­ten­sity,” Spin­ney said. “The setup is so im­por­tant be­cause peo­ple with knee is­sues or back is­sues, ob­vi­ously with a doc­tor’s per­mis­sion, can ride on this bike and not feel any sort of dis­com­fort.”

“Peo­ple who have knee prob­lems, they feel like ‘I’m never go­ing to get ahead of this game be­cause I can’t go out and do any­thing to get my fit­ness level up,’” An­der­son added. “This gives peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to work them­selves up, and then maybe they can step out­side and go for a run.”

The room is equipped with an up-to-date sound sys­tem, con­trolled by the in­struc­tor, and a mul­ti­tude of light­ing ef­fects for dif­fer­ent ses­sion fla­vors and in­ten­si­ties.

“We have black lights and other fun lights,” An­der­son said. “We have a Big Ass Fan, which is lit­er­ally called the Big Ass Fan, be­cause ever yone needs one of those. I didn’t just say that to be rude,” she added with a laugh. (The com­pany is Big Ass So­lu­tions, thus the name of the fans they pro­duce.)

The rid­ing space is also cell­phone free — not that you’d be able to take a call while the mu­sic was boom­ing.

“There’s no out­side dis­tur­bances. It’s the one hour a day you give to your­self,” An­der­son said.

The two women, along with a dozen or so other in­struc­tors, will of­fer 26 classes a week, plus be­gin­ner classes. The stu­dio is open Mon­day through Satur­day with oc­ca­sional spe­cial rides on Sun­days, such as fundrais­ers for or­ga­ni­za­tions. Be­tween morn­ing and evening classes, the stu­dio room is open for rid­ing “where peo­ple can just come in, put their head­phones in and use the bikes for an hour,” Spin­ney said.

Classes range from $12 for a sin­gle class, $33 for a pack of three, $100 for 10 and a monthly mem­ber­ship for $65, which al­lows un­lim­ited classes and open rid­ing ses­sions.

“We want this to be for ever ybody in­ter­ested in spin — the avid out­door cy­clist that has been do­ing this for years, the be­gin­ner that has been ner­vous to get started,” Spin­ney said.

The two tread sim­i­lar paths on their way to open­ing Salt Cy­cle. An­der­son was a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher at Me­chan­icsville Ele­men­tar y School when she got preg­nant with her now 16-month-old daugh­ter and ended up not go­ing back, though she loved her work. She ended up in a spin­ning class led by Spin­ney at World Gym in Me­chan­icsville. Spin­ney con­vinced her to get cer­ti­fied — which she did, at seven months preg­nant — and start lead­ing classes of her own at the gym.

“I have a sim­i­lar story, but it started eight years ago with my first daugh­ter,” Spin­ney said. “Af­ter hav­ing my daugh­ter, I didn’t want to go back to work full time. I was a di­rec­tor of a Boys & Girls’ Club down at Spring Ridge Mid­dle School [in Lex­ing­ton Park]. I didn’t want to go back to work, so I worked off the ‘baby weight’ and found my­self again, on the bike.”

Over a cup of cof­fee one day, they hatched their plan to open a spin stu­dio. A lit­tle over a year later, their first two spin ses­sions were at ca­pac­ity a week be­fore the doors even opened to the pub­lic.

They did strug­gle with find­ing a good name, but soon landed on Salt Cy­cle Stu­dio af­ter hash­ing out what spin meant to each of them.

“We started talk­ing about how we sweat so much,” Spin­ney said, “and how it is some­times such an emo­tional thing — you’re just rid­ing the waves and you’re lis­ten­ing to beats, push­ing and pulling like those waves, the sweat, the tears and the salt came to us. Salt is every­thing. It burns and it pu­ri­fies, all at the same time. We want peo­ple to leave here feel­ing re­stored.”

STAFF PHOTO BY DAR­WIN WEIGEL

Hope An­der­son, left, of Me­chan­icsville and Alexa Spin­ney of Lusby pose on the in­struc­tor spin bikes at their new Salt Cy­cle Stu­dio in Great Mills.

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