Test Ride: Go Cycle Studios – Detroit Suburbs / Royal Oak

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We recently spent the weekend on the southeast side of the state to celebrate my daughter’s 20th birthday. A full two days, including a Saturday morning cycle class at Go Cycle, a boutique cycle studio in downtown Royal Oak. The original plan was to take a class at the Rochester Hills location near Oakland University, but the owners are in the process of moving to a new location just a few minutes away from The Village…set to open by Spring 2014.

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Pre-class/ride planning
At their website, two locations (Rochester Hills and Royal Oak) are listed, but all classes only shown at the Royal Oak location. Go Cycle offers a free first ride with them and you can register a user account and reserve a space at any available class. Most information about their program is posted at their website: http://www.gocyclestudios.com/ including hours, classes (11 formats), instructors (9), and more. I had to call about the Rochester location, left a message and got a call back from the owner with more details on the next day. After creating a new account and reserving a space in Saturday’s class (using my FREE CLASS credit) I was all set. Three others in our group also went through this process…quick and easy. Would be great to get an email confirming our registration and reservation…and even a simple WELCOME email.

Arrival
The drive in from Grand Rapids was quick so I arrived about half hour before our class to check in. Another class was underway and the reception area unattended until the instructor (and owner, Jimmy Wilde) arrived for the 10:30 class. I had plenty of time to check out the space and change. The building was an older, restored concrete and brick structure with exposed ceiling beams and ventilation system…nice space! Other than the studio (equipped for 25 riders), the floor plan is pretty simple: a unisex bathroom (no shower), two changing stalls, lockers and the reception area with a check-in counter (not self check-in). Towels and water are available for purchase if you don’t bring your own. At check-in just a few minutes before class, we found out that we only had two of four spaces reserved, but Jimmy was ready with a few options for us…even though the class was fully booked. As it turned out, two other riders no-showed and everything worked out just fine for our group of four. Jimmy was prepared to teach off the bike, but it wasn’t necessary.
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Time to Ride
Once the prior class cleaned their bikes and cleared the studio, it was time for us to find a spot and get situated. Jimmy spent time with another rider who was taking their first cycle class…working on proper bike fit. It appears that the only staff on site is the instructor, so Jimmy was busy managing the rider check-in and pre-class prep. We started just a few minutes past the scheduled start time.
The studio was dark, with black lights and strings of blue and white Christmas lights strung across the ceiling. All bikes were Keiser M3 cycles with computers that display RPM, gear/resistance, watts, Kcal, heart rate (with compatible HR monitors) distance and time. Jimmy had everyone focused on their cadence (between 40-130+) and resistance (gear between 5-18). There was a short warm up and reminder about the Go Non-Stop format…60 minutes of straight cycling and no recovery period until the end. We spend a good part of the ride out of the saddle (recommended recovery was a standing hand position 3 at ~70 rpm, gear ~12). Drills included cadence building, resistance loading, sprints, seated and standing hills. Jimmy was great leading the fully booked class on this non-stop ride. Other than some off-bike time at the start and end, he was working hard on the bike, encouraging everyone to follow along and make frequent adjustments to gear and cadence on one drill after another. The sound system was simple and effective with only two pedestal-mounted speakers. The music was loud (just right), and the mic clear with no problem understanding the instructor. Much of the music was remixed variations of current pop and dance tracks. This was a pretty standard ride without weights or resistance bands…and a few contraindicated movements (isolations, brief high speed work at 130+ RPM, brief strength work at pace under 50 RPM). At the end, everyone was encouraged to take some time for stretching off the bike or continue riding for another 3-5 minutes. Other than the on-board computers, not much in the way of technology in the studio. With Jimmy’s coaching and hard work on his own bike, that was all you needed for pushing to the limit. It was a great full hour ride!

Ready to go
After cool down, stretch, wiping down the bikes and changing we were on the road.
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Summary
Overall, Go Cycle has a simple and straightforward program with several options for class formats and instructors. Customer service was good, based on our experience with Jimmy. The only issue was due to the confusion about our class reservations…but all worked out in the end. The facility was simple and clean…equipment was in good condition and working order. I would go back for another class…maybe at their new, soon to be opening location in Rochester Hills area.
Like many other studios, pricing details are on their website and appear to be competitive with another studio in the greater Detroit market (Real Ryder Revolution / R3…no complementary first class).

Other resources: reviews, social networks
Find more about Go Cycle via social networks, including: Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. Not to be confused with the Go Cycle Sports in the Chicago area…they are not affiliated.

On Vimeo:

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this review! I have always enjoyed taking others classes and those spin studios offer such a fun atmosphere!!

    1. Thanks Chelsea. I look forward to checking out some of the classes in Texas…unfortunately nothing on the schedule yet.

  2. Hi Steve,

    I enjoyed reading this too! I’m always curious about spin studios as at one point it was a dream of mine. (too little too late)

    I’m definitely on the fence about the weights on the bike thing, but it was interesting to see that they offered a class without the weights. What’s your take on that?

    1. I’ve not used weights in my cycle classes yet, but have thought about some light weights or stretch bands off the bike after the ride and just before cool down. Have done planks afterwards. I agree that it’s probably not the best idea to work with the weights while cycling…yet seems to be what many are looking for. Thanks for the comments!

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