Town gets its first cycling studio: JoyRide

JoyRide Wilton, the town’s first dedicated indoor cycling studio, will have its grand opening Saturday, July 18, but not before offering two full days of free spin classes July 16 and 17. Interested people should sign up for the free classes now; there are only 15 spots left.
First in Westport, the JoyRide brand has since expanded into Darien, Ridgefield, now Wilton and even San Antonio, Texas, with a Boston studio in the works.
Wilton and Ridgefield owner Amy Pal wants her customers to “get the best workout (they) can get,” and part of that is maintaining a certain atmosphere within the studio.
“What you want is: You want someone to come in here and switch off the outside world; you don’t bring your mobile phone in here; you come in; you sit down; you tune into your body; you check into yourself; you listen to the music; you know, you’re working hard; you’re working your body hard and you’re relaxing your mind,” Pal said.
That immersion in the studio’s environment is underscored by blue sconces and movie theater-style floor lights that give the studio a “night-club” feel, further cultivated by modern tunes from artists such as Pitbull, Flo Rida, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Skrillex, Diplo and Major Lazer.
“The instructors play with the lights, too,” said Pal. “They might dim them during a hill-climb and then crank them to max-intensity during sprints.”
According to a press release, “JoyRide Wilton offers spa-like men’s and women’s changing rooms with lockers, showers, complimentary towels and high-end toiletries. The studio also has an inviting lounge area with comfortable seating, TV and free wi-fi so clients can comfortably socialize and linger before or after their workout.”
One of the defining features of JoyRide Wilton/Ridgefield is the fact that, unlike most gyms, it does not require memberships. Individual classes as well as bundles of five, 10, 20 and 50 classes may be purchased, with appropriate bulk discounts applied as the number rises.
That being said, monthly memberships can be purchased if desired, with a minimum three-month commitment.
“We are offering a flexible model that allows riders to drop in any time for a single class, buy a package of classes at a discount, or become a monthly or annual member for even more savings,” said Pal’s husband and co-owner of Joyride Wilton Kevin Manley.
Although JoyRide Wilton’s studio at 3 Godfrey Place is, in most ways, an exact replica of the Ridgefield JoyRide model, and similar to the other locations in several areas, there is one feature that sets it apart.
JoyRide studios all have the same “top-of-the-line” Schwinn A.C. Performance Plus indoor bicycles, except for Wilton.
Wilton’s Schwinns have what is called “Carbon Blue” technology. With Carbon Blue, a carbon fiber-reinforced belt replaces the sometimes noisy, higher-maintainance metal chain that is the drive system in JoyRide’s other fleets.
“It’s quieter, smoother and requires less maintenance for us,” said Manley.
“These bikes also use magnetic resistance, which is completely silent and allows for very fine control. The combination of the Carbon Blue belt and magnetic resistance makes for a fantastic user experience,” he added.

The JoyRide Method

“Our secret sauce is the ‘JoyRide Method’,” said Pal.
“The way that the class is structured is different than, say, if you went to a YMCA spin class, because everything we do is very methodical.”
“The JoyRide Method makes our classes consistent, so that if you go to Tara’s or you go to Lynn’s or you go to Adam’s class, it’s always the same experience,” said Pal. “When you take classes at other places sometimes the experience is a little bit different from class to class because they don’t spend as much time on that. We only do one thing: spin, and we do it really well.”

Tested teachers

It takes more than fitness to be a Joyride instructor.
“Not only do you have to be in tip-top athletic shape, you have to be able to talk and multitask,” Pal said.
But athleticism and interpersonal skills are no guarantee. New instructors have to jump through certain hoops before being hired, resulting in a fastidiously selected team of competent professionals.
“People come; they audition, and then a small percentage of them will actually make it through the auditions. If they get through, then they go through two weeks of training. Then they have to do an internal ride, where we evalu