Last week, we got invited to try out London’s new kid on the block of spinning – Psycle London. Spin, otherwise known as indoor cycling, is an exercise done in classes normally in gym studios with a number of fixed gym bikes and an instructor to lead the class. Psycle get these basics nailed down, but approach the exercising from a wider angle. In case you didn’t catch the play on words, Psycle attempt to combine the psychology and mental preparation of exercising with a high energy spin class that would appeal to many. With nothing particularly groundbreaking, Psycle haven’t quite nailed that psychology aspect yet. But a stylish and well thought out design means Psycle is as good a fitness establishment as we have come across. Read on for more detail and check out some photos we snapped.
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First impressions are lasting impressions (and are certainly not limited to interviews and awkward introductions at social events). Stepping through the double glass doors from the manic back streets of Oxford Circus, the first thing that struck me was the simple ergonomics of Psycle’s recently unveiled flagship studio. The interior of the first floor is a design conscious space with a minimalist reception contrasted by a surprising level of attention to detail (considering the nature of the venue). Following brief introductions with two of the lead designers from the Psycle team who had offered to give us a tour before our first spin session, we discovered that the focus on aesthetics transcended the reception area into the changing rooms. Inspired by contemporary London style, the changing rooms featured raw concrete finishes and reclaimed wood juxtaposed by the beautifully designed furniture by young welsh designers Barnby & Day. Where possible, all furniture and fixture were sourced from British designers and brands (minus the unique tiles handmade in Marrakesh, which adorned the shower cubicles).
With plans to expand their London presence (Covent Garden & Canary Wharf next on the list), I quizzed the Psycle team about their distinctive aesthetics/architecture and whether they would be continuing the design trend within their new additions. In reply, they explained their simple philosophy. “If you can enjoy your workout and the environment in which you do it, then there is more chance you will want to keep coming back to do it again”.
Following our exploration of the changing rooms and reception area, we began our ‘descent’ to the lower floor which housed the two spin studios. Whilst traversing the stairs in our socks (cleated cycling shoes are bad news for new floors), we were lucky enough to bump into Psycle CEO (and former CEO of fitness first) Collin Waggett. We couldn’t pass the chance to ask about the vision behind Psycle and Colin was more than happy to oblige us.
“You can create an energy in a spin class which is difficult to create with any other sport or exercise. We wanted to create something in the leisure/healthcare space, which feels like 21st century contemporary London where fashion conscious fitness, savvy Londoners can go to feel happy and comfortable. “
As we entered the spacious, dimly lit room, I was again thankful for Pyscle’s design disposition. British design agency ‘I Love Dust’ (who also designed the infamous Meat Liquor Mural) had been commissioned to create artwork to challenge the monotony of the stereotypical white walled gym studios. Seated on their vinyl-stripped two-wheeled stationary vehicles, our fellow cyclists (spin virgins and enthusiasts alike) coordinated movements under the upbeat commands from our instructor Reynold. As I participated in the synchronised routine to a carefully crafted playlist, I quickly learnt that spin was not about speed (which is tempting in such a energised environment). After 45mins of pedalling, some light upper body exercise (with the help of dumbbells) and plenty of stretches, our session’s slowing momentum signalled the end of our spin experience.
Between London’s growing cycling culture/community, rising public transport prices and the nation’s love affair with Sir Bradley Wiggins, it seems the two-wheeled craze is here to stay. Before our spin experience, I (wrongly) assumed, Psycle would only appeal to a niche audience; cycling and fitness enthusiasts. With classes running from 7am to 7pm, no membership fees and minimal gear and effort required to participate…Psycle’s simple convenience will be a major pull factor for all that fit into the broad ‘busy Londoner’ demographic (e.g. mums with young children, office workers, students etc).
If I could change one thing about our spin experience, it would be to invest in a pair of padded cycling shorts #thankmelater