In New York City, cycling studios like SoulCycle and FlyWheel have a cult following but even after 6 years, their studios have yet to migrate to Boston. Luckily, we don’t need them thanks to a few local fitness enthusiasts.

Weston native, Cate Dwyer lived in New York City right after college falling in love with the dark room, loud music, total body workout persona of SoulCycle. When she moved back to Boston, she missed the cycling studio experience and took matters into her own hands opening up Recycle Studio in the South End in January of 2011.

I have been to class now a total of 3 times and am officially hooked. The classes are 45 minutes long and the ride typically goes to the beat of the music. If the chorus has a fast beat, be prepared for a sprint! The choreography feels like you are dancing on the bike. It’s a total sweat-fest and has changed my feelings on spinning.

I used to hate spin class. It seemed like some sort of torture hour. The instructors that I’ve taken, Emily, Aly and Christina, all helped me get my bike set up. They also rode with us for pretty much the entire ride. I have no idea how they can talk and peddle at the same time. After each song, you get a little break to drink some water before you start back up again. Like SoulCycle, Recycle embraces the arms on a bike philosophy. Unlike my experiences at Soul however, I can barely finish the arm series! You use a set of 2-3 lb dumbbells for one song and your shoulder muscles do burn out.

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I went this morning to Christina’s class at 7 am. I can never motivate myself to wake up on my own, so I signed up with my friend Sara who runs Eventbrite in Boston. The buddy trick always gets me to class on time! I burned over 650 calories including the half hour after class that it took me to eat breakfast. Love the 100 calorie after burn!

Recycle also incorporates the side to side jogging, booty taps on the seat, pushups and crunches (front and oblique). While some spinning aficionados may not dig this type of class, I do! It breaks up the class, helping it go by quicker and really makes it feel like a total body workout. With my first triathlon in June, indoor cycling will be part of my training.

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While Recycle is the only studio to just offer the total body cycling class, Sweat and Soul Yoga also offers a similar class using the Real Ryder. SASY is located in Brighton near Boston University. Similar to Recycle they also incorporate arm exercises, crunches, and pushups into the workout. The bike however moves side to side making it a little more challenging (but a little more awkward too). A ride on the Real Ryder allegedly burns more calories but I burnt about the same as at Recycle (450 calories in 45 minutes).

SASY Cycling

I enjoyed the Real Ryder experience at SASY but it’s not exactly the most convenient for me to get to living in the South End. I took Megan’s class and it was extremely challenging. I loved her choreography and song choice. Clearly as seen above, I was a sweaty mess. I’d like to think some of that is from my water bottle. The room is small and dark with a black light, so don’t wear dirty clothes. The 45-minutes goes by pretty quick. When you first arrive, don’t be alarmed if this space is super warm. SASY also has Yoga classes going on. A single class at SASY is $18 but you can buy a 10 pack for $150.  They also run Gilt promotions. BTone on Newbury Street also has a set of Real Ryder bikes. Class is split 50/50 between the cycling and SPX Pilates.

I’m wearing one of my new Oakley tops in the photo above with a lovely Sparkle Soul headband that is making it’s rounds to all my favorite gyms.

A single class at Recycle is $22. A few people on Yelp said this was pricey but if you have taken a class in NYC or LA, this is way cheaper than SoulCycle or FlyWheel. If (and when), the big guys come to town, you will be sorry you ever said $22 was expensive. The classes sell out regularly so you need to reserve your spot a week in advance.

SoulCycle and FlyWheel in NYC cost $32 per class plus mandatory shoe rental if you do not own a pair. At SoulCycle in the Hamptons, it’s $40 per class!

Cycling Studios in Boston like SoulCycle, FlyWheel

About The Author


  • Kimberly @ Healthy Strides

    I rarely make it to a spin class. The times at the gym where I teach BODYPUMP aren’t convenient, and we don’t have a lot of only cycle gyms. I am trying Real Ryder next week at the only place that’s cycling specific, and I’m super excited.

    • Sarah

      That is why I love studios. I’ve have such issues with big gyms. They never seem to offer classes at convenient times for me. My equinox offers only 30-minute Pilates classes!? So ridiculous lol. The spin classes at Equinox are terrible too.

  • Caitlin

    i am visiting boston in a couple of weekends, and just might have to make this a morning workout! i’ve always wanted to try a class like soul cycle or flywheel yet have never had the chance to do so in nyc. i had no idea the opportunity was there in boston. also, your oakley top is adorable. thanks for the great review!!

    • Sarah

      If you do, you’ll have to let me know! I live like a block away. We can grab coffee or lunch or whatever after if you have flexibility built into your schedule.

  • Monica

    I’ve tried Soul cycle, Recycle, SASY, Spynergy (wellesley) and my gym, Bosse’s spin class. I’ve got to say, it all rides on the instructor (pun intended!). I think Bosse’s classes are great in that they are easy going, but I definitely get a tougher workout at Recycle and SASY. Have you tried spinning at Healthworks, the Training Room, Corpbasics or Commonwealth Sports Club?

    • Sarah

      Healthworks yes. I did actually like it. No the rest though. I agree about the instructor. I had one at Equinox the other days that played slow terrible music and almost put me to sleep. It was only a 30 minute class too. The entire time I was thinking “when the hell can I walk out of this disaster?”

      • Monica

        Ugh i hate those. Bad music = bad class. Wellesley’s Spynergy is just for spinning but I was disappointed with their music selection the time I went. I might give it another spin though! OMG.. too many puns today!

  • Janice - Fitness Cheerleader

    Your reviews make me wish I lived in Boston! I absolutely love spinning class (it’s how I trained for my triathlon as well), but totally agree that I’d enjoy it more if it was a FULL body owrkout. My gym teaches the Les Mills branded classes (RPM etc), so hopefully Les Mills will jump onto this trend soon.

  • Joanna

    I absolutely love Recycle and was one of the very first to try it when it opened up. However, I haven’t been back for a while. I tried a few months ago, but as you said, the classes book up so early that it was impossible to get into any class for at least 5 days. Talk about a motivation killer! I long for the days when I could sign up the day before (or even the day of!) classes. Unfortunately, my schedule just demands more flexibility so signing up a week in advance won’t work. So proud of the studio and happy for the success, but I miss being a “regular” at my little secret studio!

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