It’s not about the bike. That’s what I was thinking as I pushed my grocery cart into the parking lot of Studio City Plaza and noticed the new spinning studio EvolvCycle. As a multitasking, freeway-weary, working mom, it was an “aha” moment: I could park, walk, exercise and shop in one place — and all before work.
It wasn’t till a year later, however, that I managed to return to the family-run studio, lured by its friendly vibe, teachers and eclectic programming. With more than 30 classes a week, complimentary spinning shoes, luxurious interiors and free parking, EvolvCycle makes me feel like I’m doing something nice for myself.
And after cooling off with a eucalyptus-scented towel after 45 minutes spent burning up to 600 calories, I feel tranquil enough to walk across the parking lot and tackle Trader Joe’s too.
12038 Ventura Blvd., Suite B, Studio City. (818) 505-1020; evolvcycle.com
The modern studio has the feel of a spa with sleek tile floors, George Nelson bubble lamps and complimentary chilled towels after class. The spinning studio in back is simple, with new Schwinn AC Performance Plus Carbon Blue bikes. Owner Rosaline Paronyan is friendly and will remember you. She is also open to suggestions — she added 6 a.m. classes upon request — and keeps programming lively with theme rides, charity events, happy-hour rides, even an off-site hike at nearby Fryman Canyon. The studio feels like a comfortable neighborhood haunt, which distinguishes it from larger chains.
Completely up to you. I tried four instructors, and each had his or her own style, ranging from highly choreographed to more mindful. Class basics, however, remain similar as you attack tap backs, side bends, push-ups, sprints and uphill climbs together. In a surprise move, we used a hand towel instead of weights to work our arms. I was skeptical at first, but after several repetitions of pushing and pulling and curling the towel, my arms and upper back were burning.
I have taken half a dozen classes at the studio and the overall vibe is warm, welcoming and enthusiastic. Class participants range from beginners to advanced with the more experienced riders in front. I like the fact that bikes are not assigned. We are grownups after all. Everybody should be able to sit where most comfortable.
At a recent Cinco de Mayo ride, master instructor Cara Tramontozzi was sweating before class even started. As we began to pedal to songs in Spanish by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, we could tell by Tramontozzi’s enthusiasm that we’d be riding to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” before the end of class. (We did.)
All the instructors jump off their bikes to check on riders and make adjustments as necessary. If you’re shy, don’t worry, as the room is dark and you won’t feel singled out. One of my favorite moments in Tramontozzi’s class, in fact, was when she turned off all the lights, asked us to close our eyes, and we pedaled in total darkness.
First ride $12. One ride $22. Special introductory offer of $49 for one month of unlimited classes. Other packages available. Classes are also available on Class Pass subscriptions. Free parking for 90 minutes. Please note that this is enforced. When I returned to my car after class and grocery shopping, I noticed that my rear tires were marked with chalk. Lockers and filtered water available.