Taking their bodies out for a spin

Inside Pedal Spin Studio where music pumps and people glisten with sweat 15 minutes into their workout, instructor Cindy Bell demands the best her students can give.

Minutes into a recent session, Bell asked her students, “What are your goals today? What are your goals this week? This month? This summer? This year? We’re gonna get there.”

Before opening Pedal Spin Studio in Montrose three years ago, Bell and her sister-in-law had been repeatedly turned away from spin class at a gym that didn’t carry enough bikes for the weekend demand. On one such day, they ditched the gym, grabbed coffee and started dreaming. What if there was a studio that offered towels and online enrollment?

They now have locations in Claremont, Rancho Cucamonga and one coming in South Pasadena.

Bell, a mother of three, lives minutes from the Montrose studio. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Bell grew up on a dairy farm. She moved to California in 1999 and worked long days in advertising before turning to spin.

In her studio, she strives to learn everybody’s name, story and goals. She said she misses the friendly people of the Midwest, but weighs whether she could ever go back.

“You miss that, people knowing who you are. I guess I’m just trying to bring a little bit of it here. Maybe it will rub off,” she said.

Luann Chou began spin classes at the studio two years ago after dropping her son off for preschool around the corner. She has since moved to North Hollywood but continues to make the 25-minute drive two or three times a week.

“I love the class so much,” she said. “Her class is so dynamic, and she plays really good music.”

When she first opened, Bell said people would stop on Honolulu Avenue and watch with intrigue and intimidation. But she’d coax them onto a bike.

“Just try it,” she’d say. She understands it looks intense, which is why the first class is free.

During class, students set their own difficulty level. The bike has a challenge range from one to 10 and can be controlled by the user with a turn of a red knob.

The upbeat music can fill in for inspiration to keep working hard, and at several intervals, Bell commands her students to “Grab that water! Grab that towel!”

The cardio can have tremendous benefits, she said, especially if you keep your heart rate elevated for at least 20 minutes.

“It’s not beyond your reach,” she said. “Basically, you could have Lance Armstrong and your grandma in the same class, and they could still be getting a great workout but taking it at their own level.”

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