It's for these external experiences that I ride bikes—but looking out on the bleak black-white world outside my office window one recent day, I also realized that moving the legs in a concentric fashion over and over, heart beating in the throat, has an appeal of its own. On one of those dichromatic days, I decided that this Fit Week, I was going to try out indoor cycling, wind in my hair or not.
- Nicole Vulcan
- Preferred habitat. But when that's not feasible, a deprived cyclist can opt inside.
While many local gyms offer indoor cycling classes, and others offer options that require you to bring your own bike, I checked out three in Bend that offer drop-in options for the fickle, I'd-rather-be-outdoors types like me.
Juniper Swim & Fitness
Perhaps the most approachable option for spin classes in Bend is at Juniper Swim & Fitness—a good starting point for many types of exercise you might endeavor to take on for the first time. Drop-in rates are $8, by far the most cost-effective option mentioned here. I hustled to instructor Jen's Cycle Core class after work one day—a one-hour class that's topped off with a stretchy exercise band workout that offers an additional challenge at the end of what proved to be a challenging session. The vibe is mellow here, and you're the only one who knows how hard you're working (more on that later).
Best part: Without the idyll of the outdoors, music becomes center to the experience—and Jen scored points with me by selecting Cardi B's "I Like It" as the first track. Why yes, I do like it.
Heading to JoyCycle541 on a Saturday for the Performance Ride class was a study in contrast. Unlike Juniper's brightly lit gym-type feel, JoyCycle541 gets it lit with nightclub lighting and an equally nightclub-like loud sound. The ride was a lot tougher, too, with instructor Stacy calling for more time off the saddle and more sprints. It was a full hour of riding—with the added competitive nature of having screens showing your stats and how they stack up against other riders in the room. Riders can opt to keep their stats off the screen—but hey, isn't this about crushing it in the indoors?
Best parts: JoyCycle541 had its creature comforts dialed, including two sets of locker rooms, a post-workout protein shot and optional child care. First class is $10, with reasonable packages after that.
Instructor Sean came highly recommended, so I headed to his 45-minute Classic class one workday—a ride that included that nightclub feel, plenty of sprints and hills, plus a short upper-body workout using long, weighted bars. Sean got the room popping with lots of fun pop music—adding encouragement for us to tune into the message of the lyrics for inspiration. Screen stats are optionally public here too—though in this class, Sean only publicly displayed our stats during select times, such as during a sprint or a hill workout. Bonus to this mountain biker for "winning" the hill sprint once during the class—definitely something motivating that made me try harder in the subsequent "races." A drop-in class is $25, or $29 for an intro week.
Best parts: A bright, sunny, inviting reception area and a great central location in the Old Mill—and a fun instructor who inspired me with his dance moves while on the bike. Turns out, he teaches dance fitness, too.
For those just starting out, who might not care as much about slaying it in relation to those riding around you, Juniper is your jam. For those into a more dedicated cycling culture, and for those who want their stats delivered to them via email, both JoyCycle541 and CycleBar are great. Deciding might come down to class offerings, times of classes or location—that is, if you're the type who actually deigns to cycle to your cycle class...