CycleBar indoor cycling studio opens in Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley CycleBar is ready to rock your ride, now open for fun and fitness in Carmel Country Plaza.The new indoor cycling studio boasts a riding theater that is “part sanctuary, part rock concert” with state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting. Motivational words are splashed on the modern red studio walls:Be the revolution, movement is meditation and when in doubt, pedal it out.

“We try to make it fun for people to come and enjoy the ride,” said owner Praful Shrivastava, who celebrated a grand opening on Jan. 2, attended by San Diego City Councilmember Barbara Bry after an open house weekend of classes.

As the CycleBar franchise emphasizes a passion for giving back to the community through CycleGiving Charity events—the Carmel Valley studio plans to host charity rides for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Red Cross and Feeding San Diego as part of its opening celebrations.

Shrivastava, a 4S Ranch resident, is himself an outdoor cyclist and athlete who enjoys playing the games of cricket, field hockey, squash and tennis. He has been a businessman for 25 years and has owned several different companies in the construction and software industries. After he sold his software business last year, he was looking to try something new.

“I’m an entrepreneur and I like challenges, I’m a risk taker also,” Shrivastava said. “I was thinking about giving something for the community that’s not already there, something that’s not in every strip mall.”

A friend introduced him to CycleBar, a growing franchise founded by Bill Pryor and his sister Alex Klemmer in Boston in 2004. CycleBar began franchising in 2014 and within a span of a year and a half already had almost 100 locations. The Carmel Valley studio is the second CycleBar location in San Diego with the first located in Hillcrest.

Shrivastava traveled to the headquarters in Cincinnati to learn about the franchise business model and to see the studios in action.

“I really liked the concept,” Shrivastava said. “What makes it different from other cycle studios is that CycleBar is a multi-sensory, full body workout. We offer a variety of instructors and a variety of types of classes.”

Shrivastava took over an empty shell of a former pool supply store and plugged in about $1 million of improvements—including the 49-bike theater with its top-of-the-line audio and lighting equipment that can wash the studio in different colors to set the atmosphere and pump up the volume to get the class rocking. There is even a DJ booth for live music-spinning.

Shrivastava said unlike other indoor cycling studios, the instructors are encouraged to infuse their own style into the 45-minute workouts which range from Classic, Connect, Performance and themed rides.

Knowing how important the quality of instruction is for indoor cycling studios to be successful, Shrivastava spent six months interviewing potential instructors, meeting over 250 people. He has hired a staff of 15 CycleStars who have all undergone “aggressive, intense” training in the CycleBar standard but all bring their own personalities to the bike.

In Performance classes, riders are motivated by group challenges and rider competitions projected on two large video monitors at the front of the theater; while in Connect, the video monitors are turned off and the theater becomes a place to revive and restore.

All classes combine a mix of strength, endurance, hills and drills and each bike is equipped with four- and six-pound body bars to incorporate upper-body movements.After each class, CycleStats are emailed to each rider so they can track their progress. CycleStats even include the songs that were played in class.

Shoe rentals, towels, water and light refreshments are provided free for each class and the studio has locker space and two full showers with all amenities offered. Shrivastava said that as his clientele is about 80 percent women, it was important to provide space for riders to be able to work up a sweat and freshen-up before attacking a busy day.

So far the community response to CycleBar has been great— Shrivastava had expected about 2,500 riders to visit in the first two weeks and he’s had about half of that in his first four days of opening.

“I encourage everyone to come in and see what we’re all about,” Shrivastava said. “We pride ourselves on perfecting the cycle fitness experience and are excited to bring it to Carmel Valley.”

The first class is always free to try. Sign up for a class or learn about packages and memberships at CycleBar is located at 12720 Carmel Country Road in Carmel Country Plaza, Carmel Valley, 92130.