MONROE, CT — CycleBar members pedal on stationary bikes inside a darkened workout room as music pumps out from speakers and the instructor, cycling on a platform in front of the room, encourages them throughout. Difficulty levels and speeds change to the beat.
“It’s a community where people motivate each other along with the instructor,” said Rachel Giliotti, who owns the Monroe indoor cycling franchise location with her family. The business opened at Century Plaza, 535 Monroe Turnpike, the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
“You can shut out the outside world for 45 minutes,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like a workout. You cycle 13-14 miles and are dripping with sweat, but you don’t realize how hard you’re working. You get an endorphin release and become addicted to it.”
Giliotti said CycleBar offers low impact exercise for a total body workout that increases endurance, improves stamina, lowers your blood pressure and improves your cardiac health.
While participating in the classes herself, Giliotti said her stamina continues to increase.
She runs the new town business with her daughter, Isabella, who is a CycleBar experience associate, and her staff.
CycleBar celebrated its grand opening Friday with First Selectman Ken Kellogg, Community and Economic Development Director William Holsworth, Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Ray Giovanni and several chamber members.
The cycling studio will host a free riding event on Super Bowl Sunday with a football theme. The 45 minute class begins at 9:30 a.m.
Aside from its regular classes, which offer challenges for different levels, CycleBar will have theme rides featuring different genres of music, including glow rides. Monthly packages range from $79 to $179 and can include four classes a month, eight a month, as well as unlimited classes.
CycleBar is refining its schedule, but there are currently five classes per day, mornings to evenings with a noon class Tuesday and Thursday, as well as Saturday and Sunday morning classes. The earliest class is 5:30 a.m. and the latest is 7 p.m.
The class schedule is on CycleBar’s website and members have a phone app to see the schedule and sign up for classes.
CycleBar T-shirts, water bottles and other apparel are on display in front section of the cycling studio, which has red, white and gray colors.
The front desk is red with a white top and CycleBar is emblazoned on the front of it in white lettering. A wall mounted screen hangs from the gray wall behind it.
Giliotti said her parent company, Exponential Fitness, which owns 10 brands, has a specific color scheme and design for its locations. She credits her landlord, David Sippin, CEO of Sippin Commercial Properties, for introducing her to a contractor who followed the playbook for the interior renovation.
Sippin praised the work of general contractor, Bert Audy of TPS Inc., a professional Sippin Commercial Properties has worked with for many years. He also expressed optimism for the future of the new business at Century Plaza.
“We know CycleBar will offer a great cycling experience to help people achieve their fitness goals,” Sippin said.
Beyond the front desk, the space opens up to a large room with lockers on one wall and white shelving on another is filled with pairs of workout shoes members can borrow. “We have complimentary shoes and towels,” Giliotti said.
The room also has a FloWater dispenser for purified water and a small counter with cabinets and a mini-fridge.
Large capital letters above a set of double doors leading to the workout room say: “Rock Your Ride.” Inside are rows of 45 Stages indoor exercise bikes.
“Stages is one of the best quality bikes you can get,” Giliotti said.
Rock Your Ride
The instructor’s bike is atop a small platform in front of the room with a mirrored wall behind it. It has screens for control of the lighting and access to a Spotify playlist. All the rides are choreographed with music.
“The order of the music builds up the RPMs and gears for the first seven songs,” Giliotti said of the rides. “The eighth song has an arm segment. Then there’s a disconnected song, where you can close your eyes and cool down.”
Riders use weighted bars for some routines. The bars weigh four and six pounds and can be used together for 10.
“Before you know it, it’s over and you had a good workout,” Giliotti said. “Some people do it twice a day.”
Members can get the playlist after their workout, along with all the stats on how they performed. Giliotti said members can track their stats on the phone app, enabling them to set their personal goals and follow their progress.
“It’s very statistic driven,” she said. “You’re looking at the leader board.”
There are five class formats, including a foundation class for beginners and an advanced class for performance.
The Monroe cycling studio recently celebrated a milestone when its first member completed her 50th ride.
“It’s inspiring to see people who have never worked out, let alone tried indoor cycling get better and better at it with each class,” Giliotti said. “The room is dark. You can adjust your speed and take a break when you want. No one’s looking.”