As though you needed any more evidence that Concord is becoming more and more focused on health and wellness by the day, there’s now a new business – well, actually a pair of new businesses – downtown that aim to keep expanding on that theme.
Strive Indoor Cycling, the city’s only dedicated indoor cycling studio, opened Dec. 8 at 10 Hills Ave., the former home of McGowan Fine Art. Since we’ve been in the habit of checking in on places to get in a workout lately, we decided to see what Strive was all about.
Owner Meagan Ferns, a 27-year-old Concord native, has really done this all on her own. Strive never existed before Dec. 8, and Ferns had never owned a business until the studio opened. But she’s been into fitness and specifically cycling for years, and decided she wanted to follow that passion and try to make a career out of it, and in her hometown, no less.
“I did a lot of Spinning at boutique studios in Boston,” Ferns said of the branded version of stationary cycling (kind of like Zumba, Spinning is just a trademarked name for a certain type of exercise – Strive is not a Spinning studio but an indoor cycling studio). “I wanted to become an instructor, so I taught in Boston for a while before moving back to my hometown of Concord.”
Ferns knew she wanted to open a studio in Concord, and specifically, she wanted a spot downtown, which can be hard to come by. As most of you are well aware by now, McGowan moved out of the Hills Avenue location a year ago, leaving a nice downtown storefront vacant – until Strive and another business, Pointe Barre Studio, moved in.
“I really wanted a downtown space, but it’s expensive,” Ferns said. “It’s a great partnership.”
While Strive and Pointe occupy the same building, they are two separate and different businesses that are not affiliated in any way other than they share the same building. Basically, the businesses share the common spaces – the main lobby area and the bathrooms – but each one has its own dedicated space inside. The Pointe studio is upstairs and Strive is downstairs.
Pointe wasn’t open during our visit to the studio last week, which is why we don’t have much to report on it right now (stay tuned). Since the studios just opened, they’re both operating on limited hours for the time being – Strive is currently offering classes only, meaning you can’t just walk in off the street any time of day and start working out. Part of the reason behind this is that Ferns, the brand-new, first-time business owner, still has a full-time job as a corporate trainer that she needs to devote most of her daytime hours to. Luckily, she works from home, so she’s never too far away from the new studio.
Her days will be pretty packed for the foreseeable future – apart from owning the business, she’s also the sole instructor right now, though she is conducting interviews and training sessions to add more instructors as quickly as she can. As if that wasn’t enough, she also built the company’s website herself – a tidbit she was quite proud of – and handles all the web stuff and bookings, too.
“When you want something, you make it happen,” she said.
Downstairs in the cycling studio, there are 20 fully customized stationary bikes, plus the instructor bike at the front of the studio. The walls are brick and stone, which helps keep the temperature somewhat manageable – it does get hot in there when everyone is sweating up a storm for 45 minutes at a time, Ferns said. There are also fans at each of the back corners of the room to keep the air moving.
Her classes are pretty intense – there’s always one “arm track” involved in the workout, in which participants use weights and perform exercises like push-ups on the handlebars to sculpt their guns while they ride. Music is a key component to the classes – riders pedal to the beat of the music, and Ferns changes up the playlist all the time. It’s also a dark experience, as Ferns likes to kill the main lights and opt for just a single, colored lamp to illuminate her at the front of the class, letting everyone else kind of let their guard down and get in the zone.
In order to ride, you need clip-in cycling shoes – Strive’s bikes are compatible with SPD and DeltaLOOK cycling shoes. If you don’t have any, you can rent a pair there. After your ride is finished, you can take a shower, though there is just one shower and a 5-minute time limit to allow for others to have a turn.
For now, classes are offered in early mornings and evenings. Your first ride is $10 and a single ride after that is $18. You can also get a pack of 10 rides or sign up for a month of unlimited riding or even a three-month auto-renew package. These options as well as more info are all available at striveindoorcycling.com.