Intimidated by all the hard-core Spinners? There’s a class for you.
With plenty of classes priced at $25 to $30 each, Spinning has become something of an elusive — and elitist — trend. Studio owner Ruben Martinez is trying to change that at his affordable new Sunset Bike House in East Hollywood. “I wanted to open a studio from a different perspective,” he says. “I come from modest means. My parents were farm workers. I want to be able to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Martinez, 48, speaks from experience. When he graduated from Fresno State, he weighed 349 pounds and lost 160 of them over three years. “If someone like myself can make a 180 change, anyone can. What’s really important is being healthy and building a community and making people feel like they are welcome.”
Sunset Bike House, 5115 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, www.sunsetbikehouse.com
The Spin studio is inside the living room of a 1929 bungalow on Sunset Boulevard. Fourteen bikes are lined up in two rows facing a wall of mirrors. The class is dim yet sparkles courtesy of a single disco ball overhead. A simple sound system rests on the fireplace. The unorthodox setting creates a sense of intimacy and camaraderie. It’s a diverse crowd, with lots of first-timers and some participants who stay on their bikes for a second round, given the prices. There is nowhere to hide in this studio, and that’s a good thing as you’ll get instant feedback about what you’re doing wrong — and right.
The classes are focused on resistance, jumps and sprints. Unlike other Spin classes, there is no upper-body segment with weights. The emphasis is on endurance with Martinez hosting a 75-minute power ride on Saturdays and a 60-minute “happy hour” ride on Fridays (other classes are generally 45 minutes). Martinez also hosts a gospel ride on occasion and hopes to take the bikes outdoors in the future. He’s a former DJ, and it shows in playlists that span Taylor Dayne to Korn. I tried four instructors, and each had a different style while all focused on form. Martinez, who has taught for 16 years, has a warm, paternal nature and greets everyone by name. “Focus on what you can do,” Martinez says into his microphone mid-ride. “Not what you can’t.” He’s also funny. He fantasizes about chorizo during triple jumps and tap-backs. And when a client complains that he talks too much, he thinks for a moment and then jokes, “I’ll have to give you your money back, as I can’t stop talking.” (She still comes to class.)
Simple and low key. You won’t bump into David Beckham in the parking lot. There are no computer screens, complimentary Spin shoes or Jonathan Adler candles. There is free parking in a lot behind the studio off Normandie Avenue, however, which is a luxury in Hollywood. You feel like you’re Spinning in someone’s living room.
First class is $5. Single classes are $10 to $13, monthly unlimited, $99. Beginning Oct. 1, single classes are $15; 5 pack is $65 ($13 a class); 10 pack is $110 ($11 a class); 20 pack is $180 ($9 a class); monthly unlimited, $129 or $99 for those who sign up for auto-pay. Bring a water bottle and Spin shoes if you like, but you can bike in sneakers. The studio provides water and towels.