Sick of boring spinning classes, uninspiring coaches and bland music? Get ready to be blown away by URBANRIDE – Geneva’s first fitness studio focused exclusively on high-end interactive indoor cycling.
The newly opened studio in 15 rue Sautter has set the pulses racing of fitness fanatics with their promise to make you hot, healthy and incredibly sweaty!
I fell for it.
“The idea behind the studio is to revolutionise indoor cycling by offering the ultimate riding experience,” says Marc Belser, former private banker and one of 4 partners, who co-own the studio.
The concept was born out of their own frustrations with inadequate spinning classes offered at gyms around town.
“People are looking for a clean, efficient experience – here you can have a great workout, healthy meal and shower in one place during your lunch hour,” added Marc.
Spinning is said to be one of the most efficient ways to burn calories – you need to run 4 hours to burn the equivalent amount.
Marc, who lost 10 kilos over the past 3 months doing 2 classes a week, is living proof of this.
OK, enough said, I’m in!
Your first encounter with URBANRIDE is likely to be online to book your class. No more fighting over bicycles or frustration at being turned away at the door because you can’t pre-book. The process couldn’t be simpler – choose your class, choose your bike and pre-order your cycling shoes. WHAT? Cycling shoes?
If you’re the competitive type, you can opt to have your power and speed displayed on the high-tech display board in the front of the studio. I confess I did opt for this, but only out of curiosity.
It’s hard to believe that this modern, bright space had a former life as a derelict garage. Behind the humble façade awaits a beautifully renovated, clean upmarket studio, with a stylish health food restaurant – Café Green Zebra.
I was warmly welcomed and after choosing my shoes and getting changed I was ready for action.
The ladies’ restrooms are pure luxury with huge mirrors, excellent lighting, six showers, hairdryers, fluffy towels and a range of beauty products to choose from. I didn’t want to leave!
Walking into the studio is like entering an upmarket nightclub.
The subtle lighting means you don’t to have to worry how your bottom looks from behind and is designed to encourage you to lose your inhibitions.
The 25 top of the range bicycles come equipped with a set of dumbbells for the hybrid classes and a panel with unique technology showing your rpm, speed, calories burned and is connected to the display board up front.
The five coaches have been hand-picked by Marc and were flown to London to learn from spinning masters at several top spinning studios how to influence with awesome music, including hip hop and funk, and loads of attitude. They are encouraged to use maximum creativity, as you can see with themed classes such as Beyoncé vs. Rihanna.
I had Daniel G, who was encouraging, tough but also gentle, but God help you if you get Steeve B – who recently qualified for the Iron Man World Championship!
Sergio, a classically trained dancer from Brazil, will get you to dance, whether you like to or not.
Choose between 20 odd classes (CHF30 per class), including weekends. Your options include the classic UrbanRide class, which promises to “Burn that belly”; the Ride and Core, which includes 15 minutes of abs work or the Ride and Race class – “Be first or die trying”. This one is for hardcore cyclists who compete in short timed races.
Check out the URBANRIDE Facebook page for their latest events, such as the Thursday night live DJ classes or Retox Party – after workout drinks.
I chose the classic URBANRIDE, 50 minutes promising a full body workout.
It’s been a while since I did a spinning class, but it all came back to me and before long I was losing myself in the music, even singing along at some point when I still had some breath left. I was sweating profusely before the end of the warm-up and was very grateful for the darkness.
You can regulate your own resistance, so even though the classes are tough, you could cheat if you need to.
The scoreboard changes all the time ranking the cyclists, but as Marc points out, most people are only interested in their own performance.
After 30 minutes of being pushed to our limits, we picked up our weights for some arm exercises and then ended the class with a few stretches.
I stumbled out of the studio on wobbly legs feeling 5 kilos lighter and 10 years younger. WARNING: This may become addictive.
On your way into the studio you can pre-order your juice, smoothie bowl or poke bowl for after the class, either to be enjoyed in the restaurant or taken out.
Green Zebra is run by Luca Voirol, who is a self-taught health food fanatic and his poké bowls (priced under CHF20) look absolutely delicious. I’ve got my eye on the salmon poke bowl with lentils, mango and avocado.
A few hours after my first class I received a personalised email telling me how many calories I burned – 250! Awesome!
OVERALL EXPERIENCE: 10/10
Seriously, it’s the best fitness experience I’ve had in Geneva so far.
Fun Factor: 10/10
I’m yet to try the food, but everything looked delicious.
TOP TIP: There is a trick with the shoes – get there early the first time if you need to grab someone to help you set up your bike and slide your shoes into the pedals.