PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen
“I’m here to push you, but it’s your job to listen to your body.”
Jodi Roper, the owner of Fargo’s CycleBar, said this while teaching a 5:30 a.m. cycling class. This studio, which opened in January 2017, is part of a franchise that she and her partner Dave Jones brought to the Fargo area.
What I liked most about what she said is I think it embodies what group fitness classes are for. Some people don’t work out well by themselves, and they need someone motivating them throughout the workout. It’s still up to them to listen to what their body can or can’t take and adjust from there. Sometimes, though, group classes can be a little scary and we walk in thinking everyone knows what they’re doing and we’re the oddball out.
As the editor of Fargo Monthly, I participated in this class to give you a first-hand experience of what a morning at CycleBar looks like, including the process, class, employees and atmosphere.
I arrived at the studio and was welcomed by the staff who were friendly and excited to have me. I had never been there before, and they were great about walking me through what to do, showing me everything from the check-in process to picking out the right kind of shoes — they supply cycling shoes, giving you the complete experience without having to purchase your own.
We walked back to the locker room area so I could put my things away. Jodi grabbed a bright red water bottle with their logo and filled it — they have both room temperature and ice cold water to choose from. She handed it to me and said it was mine to keep. They give every rider a water bottle if they don’t have one. They also supply towels and weights on the stationary bikes.
I entered the studio and found my bike, which was assigned beforehand and shows up during the check-in process. There have been times I haven’t gone to classes because I knew it would be full and I didn’t know if I would get a bike. This way, you don’t have to guess.
If you need it, they help you set up your bike to your height and what’s comfortable for you. They’ll also show you how to hook your shoes into the pedals. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. The employees sincerely want to help.
I love cycling, but I hadn’t cycled using stationary bikes for about a year. This class reminded me how much I love and miss it.
The atmosphere of the room felt a little sleepy, which is understandable for 5 in the morning. When Jodi walked in, however, I could feel the excitement in the room as people prepared their bikes. Jodi’s energy immediately woke me up. Her music selections were fun, upbeat and fit perfectly with the different exercises we did on the bikes — which were everything from sprints to mountain climbing to arm work. We started off with a warmup ride and it became progressively more intense as the class went on, ending with a cool down and stretching.
It was a wonderful balance of Jodi encouraging us to try more tension or pedal faster and encouragement to stay in tune with our body and what we physically can and can’t do. Never once did I feel pressured to actually turn my tension up if I felt I couldn’t and I knew if I needed a break, I could turn down the tension, sit and take one.
Honestly, the 50-minutes went so quickly. I remember looking down at the timer on my bike throughout the class and thinking, “15, 30 and 45 minutes already?”
After the class, I cleaned off my bike and sat near the locker area to talk with Jodi. It was fun to see her, the staff and class attendees interacting with each other. You can tell the atmosphere is positive and inviting to everyone. They are friends who enjoy each other’s company in and out of class and they make newcomers feel like a friend, too.
I left the studio energized for my day — reminding me why I love morning workouts, especially in the winter, getting me out of bed to start my day when all I want to do is stay warm underneath all the blankets. I will definitely be back. Maybe this time for their themed “Wine Down Wednesday” class.
3163 Bluestem Dr., Suite 106, West Fargo