Class Review: Cyc Fitness
Let's get ex-CYC-ted! (Maybe that only works in my head?) Over the summer, Flywheel rolled out new bikes and try as I (and many great instructors) might, they just don't seem to fit my body and caused me lower back pain. How was I going to get my cycling fix?... Enter Cyc Fitness.
Each of the NYC studios is a bit different. Chelsea and UES share space with NYSC's Labs and BFX, Hell's Kitchen is a stand-alone, and Astor Place is in the old David Barton Gym which is now part of NYSC. Accordingly, locker room/bathroom situations differ a bit, but from what I've seen, all have every amenity you need and the Cyc check-in desk always has hair ties, mints, and earplugs. Shoes are complimentary and water is $2. (Side note: I really like the Core water that they sell. I know I'm awful and need to save the environment and my wallet- I promise I recycle all of my bottles!) All studios have keyless lockers for your things and they're quite spacious. Lobby/waiting areas have all been clean, not cramped, and have places to sit and merch. Once you're in the room, it more or less looks the same wherever you are, two rows of 2-4 bikes on the sides of the podium and then 2-3 rows of bikes facing the podium. I think Chelsea may be the only studio where the bikes facing the podium are raised, but don't quote me on that. Bikes are well spaced and you never feel like you're on top of anyone.
I've now taken about 14 classes and been to each of the Cyc locations. As with any class, each instructor has a slightly different flavor and some are more challenging than others, but overall classes are pretty consistent in structure, though some instructors teach two arm songs rather than the standard one. (Note: I think Cyc's arms are the hardest in all of NYC) I'd describe Cyc classes as a happy medium of intervals and choreo. What I like about the choreo at Cyc is that it's not treated as the be-all-end-all. Instead, it's about doing you, pushing as hard as you can, and having fun. At times, because of my back and inability to always be on the beat, I'll skip some sets (I've seen others do it too and not that it matters what anyone else is doing, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel better). Unlike some classes in which not being able to do what everyone else is doing is given negative attention, at Cyc, no one makes me feel bad. (Granted, if I was doing my own class or being disruptive, I'm sure things would be different.) At this point in my life and health, this is exactly the environment that I need. At first I was always converting "turns" to Flywheel's torq numbers, but I'm starting to get used to a numberless ride. It's funny because one of the things I always liked about Flywheel was the accountability factor that the numbers provided but it turns out (pun kind of intended) that I think I actually push myself harder without them and overall, I feel this sense of freedom and joy. It's not about making sure I hit X by song Y or Z overall, it's just riding.
The class room is dark and the main lights are black lights so even at it's brightest, you are still in the dark. Do I sometimes dress with this in mind? Maybe. On/around the podium are lights that change color (blue, green, red, yellow, pink- I may have missed one). At first I worried that the colored lights would feel gimmicky, but I find they add to class in a really nice way. Ryan, Aaron, and Hunter (I didn't really notice much about the lights in Ella's class) have used them perfectly, changing the colors/how many lights are on, in sync with changes in a song's beat or the start/end of intervals. Ryan usually does a game at some point during class with the lights and it's so much fun/makes me want to kill him because it's HARD.
As I said, each instructor is a bit different. I'm excited to try more "cycologists," but will always be keeping Ryan and Aaron in my rotation. (Full disclosure, Ryan is one of my closest friends but he leads a phenomenal class and I would count him as one of the best even if I didn't know him.) Every instructor I've taken has been kind, enthusiastic, demanding but never mean, and welcoming.
Hi, my name is Leah and I'm a song counter :) Within my first few classes, I learned that Cyc classes have about 8-9 songs per class. This means that yes, the songs are long, but I have yet to feel like one is dragging. Playlists are mostly full of fun remixes, none of which have felt too clubby/trancey/etc. to me, but music is so subjective so while this works for me, I know that it might not be ideal for others. Just as I've started to stop converting turns to torq, I've started to stop counting songs and instead get lost in class; I love it.
Pretty sure you know the answer here :) From the staff, to the facilities, class to the instructors, I'm very happy riding at Cyc and will definitely keep going as long as my body holds up. I hear that Cyc is getting new bikes soon so *fingers crossed* they work for me!
Have you been to Cyc? What cycling studios do you love?