Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FITNESS WITHOUT THE FRILLS; More Indoor Cycling Studios in London Want to Get You Fit with Punishing, Payas-You-Go Routines That Can Also Be Great Fun, Says Victoria Stewart

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FITNESS WITHOUT THE FRILLS; More Indoor Cycling Studios in London Want to Get You Fit with Punishing, Payas-You-Go Routines That Can Also Be Great Fun, Says Victoria Stewart

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Stewart

THE DJ, clad in Lycra and Thunched over the bike's handlebars, looks menacing. "Work through that burn -- it's nearly time for a break," he shouts, before adding more sweetly, "You're doing a lovely job."

I'm in a darkened basement, cycling in time to the music as it booms out from the speakers at the front. It's tough -- my thighs feel as if they're on fire -- but the 15 people surrounding me urge me on until the session is over.

Part clubbing, part Spinning (Spinning is a trademark so this class is known as an indoor bike ride), this is the kind of experience that several new indoor cycling studios are providing in London, where the emphasis is on the need to get fit but also have fun in the process.

While gyms sell expensive, often unused, memberships, recent openings such as Putney's new Pedal Studio or Cycle on Fire and BOOM! Cycle in Shoreditch now offer nofrills options where the studios are basic but clients can simply book online, pay once, cycle hard and leave, without any distractions.

"This was born out of a desire to create an indoor cycling gym that offered the skill, level of knowledge, fun and convenience evident in some specialised classes in the US but lacking here," says Hilary Gilbert, founder of Boom! Cycle, which opens near Old Street next week.

Having tried a number of classes in America to get fit for her job as a model (indoor cycling can burn anything from 400 to 700 calories per session), Gilbert arrived in London to find there was nothing similar here. She also claims that she has sourced the best bikes but this isn't the main focus.

"We have hired leading instructors and use some of the best specialist indoor cycling equipment. Most important of all, we will be the antithesis of faceless, soulless corporate gyms. Our clients will leave exhausted but they'll do so with a smile on their face," she says.

Like Boom! Cycle, Pedal Studio and Cycle on Fire also offer a pay-as-yougo system with express lunchtime classes, longer cardio workouts or hour-long sessions for first-timers, and prices from [pounds sterling]8 to [pounds sterling]14 depending on the length. …

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