Monday, June 26, 2017

Cyclebar is more than a fitness brand; they transform one body via one bike at a time

DTC Cyclebar (Denver Tech Center)
How I discovered the Cyclebar brand is not a typical customer acquisition story.  It started with an episode of 80s sitcom Cheers and a hamburger.

I was on a Netflix binge, rewatching old episodes of  Cheers, the 80s-90s sitcom based in Boston. The feisty waitress Carla had a son who married his teen girlfriend, Annie.  The actress looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t remember her name.  As I typically do when I need to find an answer right then and there, I reached for my iPad and Googled the cast of Cheers.  I learned Annie was played by actress Mandy Ingber.  I then Googled Mandy as I was curious if she was still acting.  I noticed she has plenty of credits under her own name for a long list of TV shows.  I investigated a little further and discovered Mandy has been a Yoga instructor for celebrities for years and has produced DVDs and published several books. I then stumbled upon her book “Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover" and felt compelled to order it. I really wasn’t on a mission to have a mind-body makeover, but I was intrigued nonetheless. 

When the book arrived I immediately skimmed the table of contents and read the first few chapters to get a better sense of why I felt so inspired to buy the book in the first place.  Basically, Mandy takes on healing your mind, body and spirit through the practice of yoga combined with cycling.  I read through the book and put it aside, wondering if it could really work on ‘regular people’ not just celebrities.   

The day after I put the book aside, my family and I tried a new hamburger place near our house.  On the way out of the restaurant, I noticed a red neon “Cyclebar” sign.  I thought that was a curious name for a bar.  When we got home, I kept thinking about the name Cyclebar and proceeded to grab my iPad and Google “Cyclebar” Denver.  Low and behold, I landed at the DTC (Denver Tech Center) Cyclebar page and realized this was an indoor cycling place. I noted this was a bit of serendipity, considering the day before I learned about the power of cycling.  I took it as a sign that I should check this place out, so I proceeded to review the website and photos.  I figured Cyclebar might be a great place to try a class and see what it’s all about.  I noticed the offer for a Free First Ride on the website.  Before I even had time to think about it, my fingers were clicking through the registration process and the next thing I knew I had booked my first class.  That was 5 months ago. 

Little did I know that first class would start me on a journey I didn’t think I was capable of staying on.  [If you are curious about what the first ride experience is like, post questions in the comments section below and I’ll reply.]

DTC Cyclebar Instructor, Katie

After my first ride, I felt euphoric, akin to a “runner’s high” but I was also exhausted; my legs were like jelly, my ‘rear bumper’ was aching, and I felt as if I had been hit by a truck.  But something inside me loved the experience as much as I hated it, and I wanted to try it again. That’s when my transformation began, and where it continues today.  I fell in love with the Cyclebar experience and the intrinsic rewards it provided.

I’ve tried almost every type of fitness program you can think of, with the exception of tough mudders and ninja sports.  I used to be very active until I had my second child. I was even a Bally’s aerobics instructor back in the day.  Since then I have dabbled in fitness activities including hiking, outdoor biking, Zumba, Pilates, kickboxing, and boot camps. The novelty would inevitably wear off quickly and I would move on to the next activity, without having any type of routine in place.

This past January I started going to Cyclebar 2 times a week, then 3 times a week, and when my schedule allowed, 4 times a week. Five months later, I continue to be hooked, and continue to ride bike #38, the same one I booked for my very first class.      

 Cyclebar was never just a place to go work out; it was always something much more.  As I learned more about the company and the brand, I became more impressed. Cyclebar was founded in 2004, long before any other indoor cycling organization opened its doors.  Siblings, Bill Pryor and Alex Klemmer, founded the company.  They had a vision for creating the right environment and experience that was unlike any other, to truly transform mind, body and spirit.  They created a winning formula that has since been replicated by others.  The formula elements include:
a)    an amazing Cycle Theater with state-of-the-art sound system and bikes, which include built in technology to track Cyclestats. The stats are emailed after each ride so you can track your progress.  Great perk: free bike cleats for each ride.    
b)    energizing music playlists, called “CycleBeats”, providing a concert-like experience. You really do “Rock Your Ride”.
c)    instructors who are part Life Coach/Therapist, Motivational Speaker, and Boot Camp Sergeant.

Those 3 elements as well as the concierge-like service, locker room, and other amenities, have been key to create the ultimate experience, resulting in loyal customers and brand advocates.

The instructors take you on a journey like no other – where you enter the “no judgment” zone. It’s all you, letting your body take over and be the machine it was created to be.  The instructors utilize their training and a bit of magic to unleash that belief within you.  They push you out of your comfort zone because they know that’s how transformation happens.  If you want change in some or all aspects of your life, this is how you begin.  Therapists typically ask their patients “how does that make you feel?” – then they focus on the emotion attached to an incident the patient is seeking help to overcome.  Cyclebar instructors don’t have to ask – they see how you feel by your sweat and your performance stats. You don’t need to say a word, you just ride.  The instructors keep you striving for more so you can discover what you think your limits are, then blow past them. 

I religiously go to Cyclebar for the decompression time, to release my stress and frustrations of the day, clear my mind, and pick myself back up after a particularly hard day.
·      It’s a talk-free zone - no conversations allowed during the class.
·      It’s dark – so you focus on yourself, the instructor and your bike. You get in your own zone.
·      It’s packed with pedal power songs – the music gets your mind to places you’ve never gone before; your body tingles when you hear a favorite song, you push yourself more just when you thought you had no more energy to give. When one of my favorite instructors, Katie, played “I lived” by OneRepublic at the end of my last class, I suddenly had another jolt of adrenalin to end the ride stronger than ever. I love that!
·      It’s a total body workout – it’s not just your legs and torso getting stronger, it’s your upper body too. The bike handlebars are used to work muscles in your arms and shoulders.  There’s also a weight bar on every bike, which is incorporated into the workout.  You increase tension on the bike to climb hills, you decrease tension to accelerate on flat roads and to descend hills. You stand up, you sit in the saddle.  The workout is designed to be different for every single ride. You’ll never experience the same workout, music playlist and instructor combination. You are always working your muscles in new ways every time you ride.

Monitor Your Stats as You Ride

·      It’s amazing to hear positive affirmations for nearly an hour from the instructors. They are your guides, your Sherpa, on your journey for each ride. This is when your mind gets clear, your self doubts roll away, and you leave all your “stuff” on the bike along with your sweat. You end the ride feeling whole again.   

There’s no other place in my life where I hear positive affirmations non-stop for nearly an hour. “Yes you can”, “You are good enough right now”, “You can achieve whatever you put your mind to” – are the recordings I take with me outside of the Cyclebar theater. My favorite is “feel the strength of your heart and your soul.” There’s definitely a mind/body connection happening with every ride.

You ride for yourself, you ride for the team in the room, and you ride to achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself. I have 3 goals for every ride:  show up, finish the ride, and don’t get hurt.  That’s it. I keep it simple. I don’t attach any metrics to my goals, but I do receive metrics. Cyclestats track everything you’re doing – from total power (your wattage), calories burned, distance traveled, average speed, and more.  You always know how you are progressing.  Despite not having metrics tied to my goals, I recently achieved a personal best.  My ride is at a whole new level… 
  

I didn’t set out to create weight goals at the beginning.  Once I started to see my body transform, it was a benefit I hadn’t counted on.  Weight loss was always a secondary reason for me to go to Cyclebar. I figured I would never become good enough to see any type of change in my body, as I have seen with the other riders in the class.  But my body did change, and then I found myself making better food choices.  I watched my caloric intake to see if I could move the needle even more. My primary obsession with Cyclebar was the “sanctuary” element; to be in my zone with no other distractions for 45-50 minutes.   That obsession expanded to include a holistic focus on my body.  I then realized I had come full circle - back to the intention of Mandy’s book Yogalosophy and back to Cyclebar’s brand promise – mind and body transformation. 

In just 5 months, I’m down nearly 25 pounds, my Body Mass Index (BMI) has lowered more than 3%, and I’ve lost more than 12 inches around all measurable areas combined. I feel healthier and leaner and I’m much more comfortable in my own skin.  A side bonus is my hypothyroid medication has been reduced – twice!  I’m changing on the inside and out.  Thanks to Mandy and her book, which pointed me to a path, plus Cyclebar and all the instructors at the DTC location, I can say I have successfully nailed the cycling piece and have a regular routine.  Now I want to do more.  I would like to improve my overall performance and incorporate yoga. As Cyclebar instructors say at the end of each ride, stretching is just as important as the ride.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I didn’t have the intention to transform anything. I wasn’t looking for a “daily deal” to discover my next fitness activity. I guess I was going through life hoping for a miracle, since I had not taken any proactive measures to focus on my overall health and fitness. I chocked it up to having two kids and not having enough time to workout, so I didn’t even try. Yet, I’m a testament that inspiration can come from anywhere.  If you look for the signs, and follow your gut, it just might take you to a place you never knew you wanted to be. 


I was merely watching an episode of Cheers and went out for a hamburger.  Little did I know, the Cyclebar brand would make it’s way into my life and completely transform my whole being. How many brands can actually do that?