Indoor cycling craze ‘Flies’ into Philly

A new fitness sensation is about to make its debut in the area. Flywheel Sports, an indoor cycling facility, will open its flagship Philadelphia location in Rittenhouse Square.

The grand opening takes place Sunday, but preview rides are going on throughout the weekend at the Rittenhouse Square location and sold out days ago.’s own Kelly O’Shea was fortunate enough to secure a spot in a preview ride, and shared her thoughts on the experience.


Since opening their doors in New York in 2010, Flywheel Sports has seen rapid expansion. The brand-new Philadelphia location marks their 21st facility nationwide—growth that co-founder and creative director Ruth Zukerman attributes to a customer-friendly approach and proprietary technology.

“We can now see exactly where resistance should be when we’re riding,” says Zukerman. “It’s no longer ‘half-a-turn to the right.’”

Instead, Flywheel’s system allows riders to determine their ideal level of resistance and the precise number of RPMs to optimize their fitness experience. The results don’t lie—Zukerman shared tales of dramatic weight loss and empowerment among devoted class attendees.

“That’s what really set this experience apart—the instructor would say ‘your torque should be at 18 and I want you to hit 75 RPMs for this push,'” adds O’Shea. “It’s nice to know exactly how hard they’re looking for you to push yourself.”

The second aspect of the Flywheel method that sets the company apart is attention and dedication to the consumer experience. A few highlights of a class at Flywheel:

Stadium Seating. “This allows every rider an unobstructed view of the instructor throughout the class,” says Zukerman. Gone is the need to battle for ‘front-row seating’ before every session.

State-of-the-Art sound system. Excellent acoustics in each studio is a point of emphasis at Flywheel, as is the presence of an in-house DJ who plays an eclectic mix of music throughout the class—often created by the instructor.

“This might sound kind of trivial, but the music selection can really make or break a class,” says O’Shea. “It’s always exciting when the music keeps you pumped up the whole time and this class definitely had that.”

TorqBoards. Flat screens above the instructor display each participant’s performance level throughout the session, allowing for in-class competition between friends and peers that pushes your workout to the next level. Additionally, instructors run races where they instruct everyone to go all-out for 30 seconds, followed by attendees jockeying for first place with the standings displayed on the torqueboards.

What’s more, once the class is finished Flywheel clients can return home, log onto their accounts and see how today’s performance measures up against yesterday’s, last week’s or even last month’s. “We track your performance over time, which really allows you to set goals for yourself and follow your progress over time,” says Alana Radmin, vice president of public relations.

Sessions run for approximately 45-60 minutes, and riders attends anywhere from 2-6 sessions per week. “It’s an incredible stress reliever—and everybody needs that,” says Zukerman.

In the three years since starting the company, Zukerman has been inundated with requests to open facilities from all areas. A second Philadelphia-area location is slated for opening this spring in Bryn Mawr. Zukerman attributes Flywheel’s success to her business partners and a dedication to providing a fitness experience that she calls addicting.

“My partners had the idea for this technology, and helped me learn how to incorporate it into my method,” she recalls. “For the first time, a person can measure how hard you’re working—or how hard you aren’t working.”

Another way this is accomplished is by keeping things fresh and throwing in ‘surprise’ elements to each class. “I’ve never done a spin class with an upper body element before,” relates O’Shea. “I thought that was a great way to break up the class. At first it seemed like a short rest—but then your arms are burning while your legs are still spinning!”

Classes at Flywheel are $25 each, but 5, 10, or 20-packs of class sessions are available and may be more effective from both a fitness and financial standpoint.

“We have an excellent group of instructors already on board in Philadelphia,” added Radmin. “It’s a great opportunity for our whole company to come together and make a big splash around the opening.”  

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