Spin Me Right ‘Round: The exercise trend sweeping the province

The latest trend in exercise will leave you spinning

Credit: Chris Thorn Photography

A beautiful ride, or hell on wheels? Either way, B.C. spin class purveyors are going places

“It’s kind of like a cult,” says one spin class participant when asked why she shows up at a specific location to ride a stationary bike. She could be talking about any of the B.C.-based spin studios that have popped up in recent years, all of which revolve around a group of people cycling to exhaustion while music blasts and an incredibly fit instructor yells encouragement. Although they peddle similar services, each of these five businesses aims to create a vibe it can call its own.


Locations: 1 – Vancouver

Founder: Jay Shapka

Origin story: Former bike courier Shapka wanted to start a climbing gym but kept injuring his ankles and knees. Now a competitive cyclist, he teaches customers best pedalling practices so they can get a safe workout

Instructors: 11

Drop-in class: $24

Differentiator: “Low-impact, high-intensity, with data and no BS,” Shapka says. “We won’t sell you a juice telling you how many calories you burned. We will celebrate your hard work and wise choices”

Mantra: “Don’t waste your time and money with fad fitness”

Eastwood Sanctuary

Locations: 2 – Vancouver and North Vancouver

Founders: Craig and Jill Sheridan

Origin story: The Sheridans thought they could improve on Vancouver’s existing spin concepts. Both had full-time commitments, but the couple didn’t let that stop them. “I just said, ‘We’re going to do this,'” recalls Craig, who was in the food business

Instructors: 14

Drop-in class: $19

Differentiator: At its Vancouver location, Eastwood also offers meditation and boxing

Mantra: “Eastwood is more than just a destination, it’s a journey”

Ride Cycle Club

Locations: 3 – Vancouver, North Vancouver and Toronto

Founders: JJ Wilson, Ashley Ander and Moe Samieian Jr.

Origin story: Wilson, son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, and Ander had been to a few spin classes offered by U.S. chain SoulCycle. Aiming to put their own, er, spin on the idea, they teamed up with furniture mogul Samieian

Instructors: 28

Drop-in class: $26 (Metro Vancouver)

Differentiator: “It’s the consistency of the intensity; there’s a certain channel we tap into so well,” studio manager Anna Thorsen says

Mantra: “Ride or die, we ride together”


Locations: 9 – Victoria, Surrey, Kelowna, Oakville, Toronto (3), Ottawa and  Halifax

Founder: Michelle August

Origin story: Kelowna native August missed the camaraderie of varsity basketball, so she opened a studio in her hometown that makes teamwork the top priority

Instructors: About 146 nationwide

Drop-in class: $20 (B.C.)

Differentiator: Each month, Spinco dedicates its 7 p.m. Saturday ride to a different local charity, notes Victoria studio manager Alyssa Halpenny: “We work with anyone from from the Humane Society to the Ride to Conquer Cancer”

Mantra: “One team, one bike”

Spin Society

Locations: 2 – Vancouver and North Vancouver

Founder: Dominik Desbois

Origin story: Previously a consulting engineer, Desbois got hooked on spin after his wife took him to a class. “‘Wow, this is an experience I get,'” the ex-Montrealer remembers thinking. “The engineering side of me took over and went, ‘I can do this'”

Instructors: 19

Drop-in class: $25

Differentiator: A unique customer experience, Desbois maintains: “If there’s a problem, we fix it”

Mantra: “No egos”