When the owner of MADabolic grins at you from her bike and says, “Sometimes this class kicks my ass,” you know you’re in for a good workout.
On Saturday, June 26, about a dozen people clipped onto bicycles in the rows of stationary bikes at Zoom Indoor Cycling, located in the Barracks Road shopping center, for a rainbow-and-love-themed workout. Affectionately named the Pride Ride, this particular session cost $15 per person, and all the proceeds went to the OneOrlando Fund, which provides support to the families of the Orlando shooting victims. A bubbly and theatrical instructor with a long ponytail and a bright tie-dyed T-shirt bounced into the room and onto the elevated bike at the front, where she led the group through an intense 45-minute class. Spinning your legs that hard for that long is great exercise no matter what the cause. But when the floor-to-ceiling mirror erupts in dancing rainbow lights and every person in the room is pedaling in perfect sweaty unison as Beyoncé blasts through the speakers, it’s easy to get swept up and feel like you’re a part of something.
And that’s exactly what owners Justin and Cara Goodman want.
“One of the reasons we put the bikes as close as they can be without infringing on personal space is that the feeling of riding as a pack is tremendously powerful,” says Justin Goodman. “When everybody’s doing a gritty climb to the beat, left, right, left right, it looks cool and feels cool, and it’s really drawing on that group experience.”
With a plan in mind to open a cycling studio, the Goodmans moved to Charlottesville in the summer of 2015 after living in Washington, D.C., for several years. They traveled as far as Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai to visit and research cycle studios all over the world, and Zoom’s official opening day was April 1.
“Charlottesville is definitely growing into a much more cosmopolitan city than when I was growing up here, and we wanted to bring in studio elements that you typically only see in larger cities,” Goodman says. “We really wanted to do something that Charlottesville hadn’t seen before.”
One of those big city elements? The light wall, created by a designer in the United Kingdom. The giant mirror behind the instructor has an elaborate lighting system that syncs up with the music so just when you’re starting to wonder whether you’ll make it through a tough climb, a vibrant light show, hand in hand with the thumping beat, gives you a push.
“It gives this emotional lift and it’s a cool surprise from behind the mirror,” he says.
Right now Zoom offers two types of classes: ZRide and ZPower. ZRide is a rhythm-based class in which the pedaling always matches the beats of whatever playlist the instructor designs. It incorporates climbs and sprints, plus strength training elements like handlebar push-ups and hand weight exercises. Goodman describes the ZRide as more “whole body focused.” ZPower is a more classic, cardio-heavy ride without the upper body movements. Instructors encourage riders to use the computers mounted on the bikes—it’s more metrics based, and Goodman recommends this class for anyone whose goal is to track progress.
You’ll never hear the same playlist twice, according to Goodman, and he often reminds beginners that the resistance knob on the bike gives them complete control. Oh, and the first class is free, so really you’ve got nothing to lose—except a bucketful of sweat. And if you missed the Pride Ride but want to exercise for the greater good, keep an eye out for future Zoom events.
“We definitely want to make charitable giving an emphasis of what we’re doing,” Goodman says. “People our age like to have an impact with the business they start, and they expect the businesses they patronize to have that type of focus. We want to have an impact when we can, and keep it light and fun.”
Sweat all over town
“Really nobody should tell you that any one form of exercise is all you ever need to do for your body,” says Justin Goodman. “You need a combination of strength, cardio, stretching and rest.”
Which is where I Sweat Cville comes in. The Goodmans have teamed up with the owners of three other local boutique fitness studios—MADabolic, b:core methods and treadHAPPY—to offer class packages that incorporate all four of those elements through high-intensity interval training, barre, running and spinning. Class passes expire 60 days after activation.
Intro $49 for four classes (one at each studio)
Plus $175 for 12 classes (three at all four studios or four classes at three studios)
Ultimate $340 for 24 classes (six classes at all four studios or eight classes at three studios)