By Stephanie Davis | Photo by Jim Baron
“CycleBar is building on the indoor boutique fitness movement,” Joseph Purton, the owner of the Beachwood franchise that opened earlier this spring, says. “Dedicated, niche-specific, boutique-style workout facilities are growing by 450 percent a year. Fitness enthusiasts are trending away from the big-box gym model.”
CycleBar Beachwood features all things cycling-related under one roof, including classic bike rides with a choreographed mix of upper body work, hills, and drills set to heart-pumping music, as well as performance rides that mix music and technology while riders compete in group challenges and reach personal goals.
The one-stop cycling setup is housed in a CycleTheatre, a studio with stadium-like seating for 49 cyclists, audio, video, and lighting technology. “All bikes are on different levels, and it’s like being in a movie theater with a front stage, DJ booth, and studio. All of this sets us apart – there’s no other indoor cycling experience like it,” Purton says.
CycleBar Beachwood is part of a national corporation headquartered in Cincinnati that, to date, has 200 studios under development or open. CycleBar Beachwood is the first to open in Northeast Ohio and the sixth launch to open in the United States.
As for the Eastside location being first in Northeast Ohio, Purton, of University Heights, says, “This location has great freeway access, parking, and it’s two doors down from the ever-popular Moxie restaurant, which makes it easy to explain where we are located.”
For Purton, CPA, former vice president and controller of Cleveland’s Sisters of Charity Health System, CycleBar Beachwood’s opening is a dream realized. He spent 18 years of his career in accounting and was being groomed to be the charity’s next CFO. Although highly skilled, his career path no longer exhilarated him.
“At that point I had to do soul searching. Is this what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? Though it was a lucrative and rewarding career, I came to realize I’ve always been passionate about cycling -— indoor and outdoor. And I always had the desire to own my own business,” the entrepreneur says. “A startup cycling business would combine my passion and allow me to have my own business.”
That passion is passed on to CycleBar’s clientele through countless features. For example, riders can sign up to record personal stats, which will be tracked as a performance matrix known as CycleStats. These stats record heart rate, calories, power, and RPM while at the gym. Stats are emailed to clients who can also track online at cyclebar.com.
CycleBar additionally owns rights to all music played during class (known as CycleBeats), so it also emails music in a playlist. “So, at the end of class, you’ll have your music, know how many miles you’ve traveled, and how many calories you’ve burned,” Purton says.
As for actual classes, riders can participate in group competitions if they choose. “When you come to class you’ll notice your name is on the board (or TV screen). There are two 80-inch TV screens that function as a leaderboard for races. It keeps you engaged, but you don’t have to get involved,” Purton says.
“Technology is a significant part of the experience at CycleBar. For instance, you can reserve a bike via an easy mobile app or check in in person using iPad stations,” he says.
But if technology requires assistance, CycleBar is prepared with trained staff. “Our staff is trained to get people in and set them up on the bike. Our instructors are there to give guidance to first-time riders and veteran riders alike,” Purton says.
Instructors are not average cyclists—they’re CycleStars. “Instructors have to pass a rigorous boot camp. For the latest round of instructors, 23 people auditioned, 13 made it into boot camp; seven became CycleStars. We are picky about who teaches. We won’t skimp on the talent. To be a CycleStar, you need personality and an ability to follow the beat of the music,” Purton says.
With everything on tap at CycleBar, it may beg the question, “Who is the average CycleBar enthusiast?” According to Purton, “Nationwide, the cyclists who come to CycleBar are 85 percent women. Many are mothers of young children–that’s a core audience.” CycleBar also attracts outdoor cyclists who come in during winter months to train.
As a result, marketing efforts are largely geared toward women ages 25 to 40s/50s. “We certainly welcome all riders and see plenty of men and others who fall outside the general categories,” Purton adds.
When not training cyclists, CycleBar’s staff aims to build community in greater Cleveland through what’s known as CycleGiving. “We are highly motivated to give back to the community, so we offer fundraising events. For example, we will donate a studio to a nonprofit for fundraising. Nonprofit fundraisers can sell bikes for $100 each, and we can help them to raise $5,000 in 50 minutes. They can name their pricing as an organization and then that money goes back to the charity,” he says.
Lastly for those who come unprepared to ride, CycleBar is stocked with every amenity imaginable — fresh food, purified water, aromatherapy, hand sanitizers, lip balm, locker storage, even special shoes riders need to clip into the bikes. “There’s also concierge level service — it’s almost like being at a Four Seasons spa for cyclists,” Purton says.
For more information: cyclebar.com/beachwood