Here in the Big Apple, the first week of National Bike Month–yes, the one we're in right now–kicks off with Bike Expo New York this Friday and the TD Five Boro Bike Tour on Sunday. Uptown, it's also the first spring since Citi Bike expanded into Harlem–there are now almost 50 new bike stations reaching all the way up to 130th Street. Got a good helmet yet?
Of course, hopping onto a bike and hitting the streets is easier said than done. Happily, uptowners who crave a fast-paced ride but could do without the traffic now have a choice of two dedicated cycling studios above 110th Street. Although each has its own distinct vibe, both are small and thoughtfully imagined, offering friendly encouragement and individual attention when needed–perfect for anyone looking to connect and recharge after a long day (or week) at work. Here's what you'll find at each:
2350 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd between 137th and 138th Streets
Prices: first class, $12.50; single class, $25; three classes, $65; 10 classes, $200; monthly, $185
Space: This two-year-old cycling studio takes up the entire basement of a pretty brick townhouse right around the corner from stately Strivers' Row. A chalkboard wall separates the cozy, welcoming reception area from the spacious studio in the back, which is where you'll find a coat rack and cubby holes for your belongings. Two unisex bathrooms are located behind the main space.
Vibe: Details like exposed red brick, distressed floors and low ceilings make it feel like you're in the home gym of your artsy (but rich) friend. A colorful wall stenciled with inspirational words–Rise, Breathe, Exhale–adds to the casual-but-cool feel. Neat rows of Schwinn indoor bikes are the focus of the studio, but there's also room for strength training. Sample cool-down music: Nicki Minaj's "Pills and Potions."
Classes: Harlem Cycle Intro (45 mins), Hip Hop (45 mins), Strivers' Row (30 minutes on the bike, 30 minutes of circuit training), to name just a few.
Amenities: Cyclists receive a free (branded) bottle of water, a small towel, and are encouraged to grab a piece of complimentary fruit from the reception area after class.
4080 Broadway at 172nd Street
Prices: first class, $12.50; single ride, $25; five rides, $115; 10 rides, $200; unlimited rides, $175
Space: A corner storefront in Washington Heights serves as the home to this 10-month-old cycling studio. Immediately past the sunny reception area are a bench and lockers, two unisex bathrooms, one changing room and the main studio.
Vibe: Clean and spare, Push Pedal's front area is decorated with a graffiti-like illustration that gives it an urban feel. The exercise room–a dark space with soft purple lighting–features the latest high-tech equipment: 20 super-smooth Keiser indoor bicycles with digital power meters that are easy (and fun) to use.
Classes: Intro to Cycling (45 mins), Push Pedal 45, Push Pedal 60, and special events like the upcoming Mother's Day Ride n' Brunch, which includes a live DJ and unlimited mimosas.
Amenities: Push Pedal encourages its members to use the clip-on cycling shoes it provides at no extra cost (you can also wear sneakers if you prefer). Every cyclist also gets their own free small towel, and there is a jar of black ponytail holders in the bathroom for anyone who forgot to bring their own.