Recycle Studio Underwent a Complete Renovation

The Back Bay's transformation is complete, and the South End's redo begins in April.

All photos provided.

Photo provided

It seems like there’s an indoor cycling studio on every corner in Boston. But just a few years ago, there was only one.

In 2011, Recycle Studio in the South End opened its doors as the first boutique indoor cycling studio in the city. Right around the time the big boys (Flywheel, SoulCycle) and other boutiques (Handle Bar, Pursuit, Velo-City, B/Spoke, Turnstyle, and more) started popping up around town, we spoke to Recycle’s owner Cate Brinch to get her take on the influx of studios. Because the 31-year-old Back Bay resident started her studio in Boston after falling in love with the SoulCycle classes she had taken in NYC, she knew the day would come when the city would be inundated with studios. But even though Brinch says there are enough customers to go around, when she opened her second location in 2013 in the Back Bay, there were some challenges, namely noise and design.

“I was ready to re-invest in the business,” Brinch says. “When we took over [our Back Bay location] there was just one shower and we weren’t using it. But I starting getting requests for more showers. If there’s one thing I learned it’s to listen to the community. I wouldn’t offer a 5:30 a.m. ride if it wasn’t requested. Showers were a huge request. But I said if we are going to add showers then we are doing a full renovation.”

Although Brinch didn’t want to have to close her business, the studio shut its doors for five weeks.

“I was going insane. Our customers were going to the South End location for classes,” Brinch says.

The renovation is now complete and the studio is re-open. Brinch and her team added three showers and new flooring. “It’s the coolest synthetic flooring. It’s wide plank, durable, and it can go in the bathroom,” Brinch says. There’s also tiered seating, a dedicated men’s and ladies’ locker room area (both filled with Skoah products), a much wider hallway (from 3 ft. to 5 ft.), and the drop ceilings were removed—all while keeping the historical charm.

But that wasn’t exactly enough. When Brinch opened the Back Bay location, there was one thing she wasn’t prepared for: noise complaints. “We built a sound-proof wall because when we moved into the space, it’s something you learn in these old buildings, there’s not a lot of insulation between walls and ceilings,” Brinch says. “[The renovation] created a great relationship with [our neighbors] the Taj Hotel because we built a sound wall in-between the hotel and the spin room. Also, in order to insulate us from the hair salon below, we now have a tiered seating system.”

That relationship has opened up a whole new aspect to the indoor cycling studio: parking. “The Taj now offers our customers their valet service,” Brinch says.

The South End studio is going to be next. Brinch says this renovation will be less extensive—meaning, no plumbing additions. “It’s a special, neighborhood vibe in the South End, and showers aren’t as necessary,” she says. “But it will incorporate the same flooring and special touches like custom built-ins.”

As for when the South End renovation will begin, Brinch says that they are waiting for the thaw. “When the snow melts in April is when we’ll begin the next renovation,” she says. “We worked with artists to make sure that it feels like a new space but that it is still Recycle. It’s important to me that nothing feels generic. Everything is custom designed with texture and personality.”

643A Tremont Street; 9 Newbury Street, Fifth Floor;