Cambridge Gets Its First Indoor Cycling Studio

Turnstyle Cycle is opening in Kendall Square in July.

studio image

Where the instructor will be leading the classes. all photos provided by Rich Downing.

While the boutique indoor cycling craze has been taking over Boston for the past year, our intellectual neighbor to the north has been left out of all the fun—until now. Cambridge’s first indoor cycling studio is opening July 14 in Kendall Square.

Turnstyle Cycle, the brainchild of Rich Downing and his team of co-owners and investors, including Boston Cannons midfielder, Paul Rabil, has been in the works for more than a year. Downing was previously teaching indoor cycling at Flywheel and Beacon Hill Athletic Club. The former tech entrepreneur was always an athlete, mainly focusing on running and triathlons until life dealt him a major setback.

Downing was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at age 25, which, he says, left him unable to walk unaided for more than a year. The onset was aggressive, and the muscle atrophy and loss of appetite from depression caused him to lose 30 pounds. Although it was a tough time in his life, it’s also what led him on his indoor cycling journey, and perhaps, what brought him to where he is today, which is opening his own studio.

“The onset of my arthritis was very aggressive. I was on a walker and crutches, and I was isolated and stressed,” Downing says.“Living with RA sucks. I was almost always in some sort of pain. The inflammation would travel around my body, with even the smallest of movements causing excruciating pain. Sometimes my hands would get so bad that I couldn’t pick up a jug of milk. The worst was when it was in my upper spine and neck, because it would prevent me from turning my head even a few inches to the side. Luckily, you don’t really need to be able to turn your neck to instruct a group cycle class.”

Reception and lockers.

Reception and lockers.

If you’ve tried any of (or like us, all) the indoor cycling studios in Boston, then you know that although they are all great, many are similar. Even with top-notch instructors, state-of-the-art-bikes, heart-pumping music, and synced up lights, in the end, you’re still sitting on a stationary bike pedaling away. But that’s where Turnstyle is different.

The studio is using RealRyder bikes, which, personally, I think are the best indoor cycling bikes available. Why? Because the bikes provide lateral movement, as in side-to-side. On a RealRyder bike, it’s as though you’re steering, turning, and balancing on a real bike out on the road. The bikes tilt and lean and you have to use your core muscles to stabilize. This movement also adds an exhilarating element to the class, something that a regular spin class just doesn’t have, no matter how incredible the music is or how motivating the instructor may be. As of now, the only places in Boston offering RealRyder are Btone on Newbury Street and Sweat and Soul Yoga in Allston.

“We researched all of the bikes available, and I went and tried them all for months. The RealRyder bike, I believe, is the future of indoor cycle,” Downing says.

Another unique element is the time and effort spent on music, playlists, and how that contributes to the workout. This studio isn’t just hitting play on Spotify and then starting class. “The playlists and workouts are designed to maximize fitness intensity by aligning physical movement with auditory and visual stimulation,” Downing says. “Movement, music, and lights work together to capture riders’ attention and draw their focus away from their own physical discomfort. We focus on having fun, which requires that every rider feels like they’re moving to the music while demonstrating proper technique, and that every rider feels included and empowered. This is why we do everything we can to ensure that our riders pedal to the beat, why we put so much thought into our playlists, choreography, and lighting.”

The studio will offer 28 bikes, and Downing’s team has spent as much time curating playlists as they have finding instructors. Turnstyle has been holding auditions searching the Commonwealth (and beyond) for the best talent. Joining the team is master instructor, Kelsey Cox, who was a popular San Diego fitness pro before moving to Boston for graduate school.

One Kendall Square, beneath West Bridge restaurant; 857-242-3039; Prices: walk-in $25; intro offer: 3 classes for $25; one month unlimited: $190.

realryder bikes

RealRyder bikes against the back wall.