Two women turn passion into spin bike boutique
Salt Cycle Studio has 20 stationary bikes to sweat over
“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.”
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.