Crash Course: CHS-Revolution is a boutique cycling studio close to the heart of historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina. CHS-Revolution offers two to five classes each day of the week. Most classes are the signature 45-minute REV Ride, which promises a “full-body and high-energy” workout during which you will “experience an incredible mind and body transformation!” The REVival Rides on Saturday and Sunday last 60-minutes, adding 15 more minutes to “channel your passion and achieve your goals.” These classes deliver an intense and high-quality indoor cycling workout.[line] [left]where: 441 Meeting Street Suite A | Charleston, South Carolina
bring: water bottle
perks: shower, toiletries and hair dryer, towels, lockers, filtered water, SPD-compatible cycling shoes are FREE to rent
sweat score: 9 out of 10[/left][right]wear: clothing you feel comfortable cycling (and sweating a lot) in – tight fitting bottoms are best
instructor: SJ Slear
class: REVival Ride
cost: $20 for a single ride | $10 for first-timer South Carolina resident | $18 for students and military [/right][line] For anyone who has ever visited Charleston, South Carolina, you can easily understand how the picturesque southern city has become a prime destination for bachelorette parties and weddings. The pastel homes and cobblestone streets seem to ooze sweet tea, biscuits and bridal parties.
But when you’re in the land of low-country cuisine and brides-to-be, it’s nice to know there are ways to balance the shrimp and grits with a solid workout.
I headed down to Charleston this past weekend for a dear friend’s wedding, fully prepared to partake in many a champagne toast and fried chicken feast. Therefore, I also knew I would want to fit in a workout.
Charleston has a few different options in its small but growing fitness scene. While many people might simply choose a running route by White Point Garden or Rainbow Row, I knew I would need a scheduled class (with a cancellation fee) to get me out of my morning-after-the-rehearsal-dinner slumber.
I chose a 9:30am REVival Ride class at CHS-Revolution – a boutique cycling studio close to the heart of Charleston’s historic downtown area. The goal of the class is for riders to get “revved up and power through” so that they leave feeling “REVived and accomplished.”
The REVival Ride was the perfect 60-minute cycling class to get me energized for the day’s wedding activities (in other words, eating biscuits and dancing the night away).
CHS-Revolution has a bright and open studio in the bottom floor of a recently built apartment complex. The front desk and merchandise area reminded me a lot of a typical SoulCycle studio (as did a lot of other things about the class…in a good way).
High ceilings, large windows, and some flashy photos of models whose bodies have apparently been transformed (or REVolutionized?) by the cycling scene at CHS-Revolution, all help to give the studio a definite sense of professionalism and commitment.
There are plenty of lockers with built-in combination locks, and a spacious bathroom with a shower and amenities like a hair dryer and shaving cream. Even though there is currently only one Revolution location (with possible plans for a San Antonio location), the studio has the vibe of a franchise that has perfected its fitness experience.
All of these details sound like they might add up to a sterile or impersonal environment, but I was pleasantly surprised by the friendly and welcoming vibe upon my arrival. There were two women working at the front desk staff who greeted me and my friend. They gave us cycling shoes (renting is free!), and showed us where to find the locker area and restroom. When we entered the cycling room, the instructor SJ greeted us enthusiastically and made sure we had our bikes set up properly.
When we signed up online, we were able to choose our bikes ahead of time, so we both chose bikes in the middle of the room. As in most cycling studios, the bikes were very close together, which proved a minor hindrance during the arm exercises later in the class. I saw some people’s elbows bumping during the shoulder presses. However, I think the tight quarters have unfortunately become the norm in most small cycling studios.
Up until the minute before class began, SJ was circulating the room, making sure everyone had everything they needed. his kind of attention to customer service is (or should be) typical in most boutique spinning studios, but the staff at CHS-Revolution seemed genuinely happy to have everyone in class and support them during their workout. Beyond that, many of the class participants seemed to know each other and were chatting before and after class.
I have a feeling that this genuine hospitality and sense of community is a product of the location. Nothing compares to true Southern hospitality, and CHS-Revolution seems to embrace this in the way they treat their customers.
Once everyone was settled, the lights dimmed and the music started. The one-hour class followed a routine similar to SoulCycle and other boutique spinning studios. Note: One of the co-founders of CHS-Revolution actually informed me that much of his training is from SoulCycle.
SJ led us through sprint intervals, hills, tap-backs, and side crunches. The class was rhythm-based and SJ had a fantastic playlist to match the intervals. Of course, he was not going to forget the arms in this full-body workout, so she included various push presses and a short, but challenging series of exercises with two-pound weights.
At the end of the class, SJ took everyone through a cool-down song and a series of stretches both on and off the bike. My towel was soaked, and my water bottle was nearly empty. Every rider got a high-five from SJ as they left the room and stepped back into the sunny front lobby. The REVival Ride was a seriously challenging, but fun and energizing workout – the perfect way to prepare for an evening of celebration at my friend’s wedding.
CHS-Revolution offers high-quality cycling that rivals the boutique classes I have taken in other cities. Whether you are just visiting for the weekend, or you are lucky enough to call Charleston your home, CHS-Revolution’s challenging, full-body workouts and strong sense of Southern hospitality make it a great workout option for indoor-cyclists of all levels.[line]
about the author // Julia McGuire is a teacher in DC and a self-proclaimed non-runner. Julia prefers to stick to strength and conditioning workouts that remind her of her days playing Division III field hockey. She swears by ClassPass for the body, DC Public Library for the mind, and TripAdvisor for the soul. When it comes to working out, she thinks everyone should find something they enjoy and stick with it.