Crash Course: Revolve is a spin studio located just a few blocks from the Clarendon metro stop. Their “real ride” class is a traditional 45-minute spin workout, complete with loud music, mirrored walls, and lots (and lots) of sweat. There weren’t any upper body shenanigans, and the ride focused mainly on quick intervals and climbs. Bike shoes are required and can be rented at the studio. Classes typically fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early on the Revolve website to secure your spot.[line] [left]where: 1025 North Fillmore Street, Arlington VA
bring: water bottle, bike shoes (SPD and Look cleats)
perks: limited free parking, combination lockers, filtered water, bike shoe rental
sweat score: 9 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: recommend spandex bottoms, bike shoes required
cost: drop in rate is $18[/right] [line]
Revolve opened in Arlington in late 2011, making it one of the first boutique spin studios in the area to help DC kick off its love affair with indoor cycling. If it’s any indication of how popular this workout is, six other studios have opened in the greater DC area since. Washingtonians must have a penchant for punishment, because being packed shoulder to shoulder in dark, steamy rooms with low lighting and dance-club level music while whirling your legs wildly to the commands of a microphone-clad teacher is not everyone’s idea of a good time. That said…it just happens to be a pretty darn good time.
The Revolve DC studio offers three different classes to choose from: real ride, barre ride (a two-for-one special combining spin and ballet barre), and body ride (spin class using upper body weights). The space is bright, sleek, and clean, with iPads greeting you when you walk in the front door for easy sign-in and sign-ups. Tip: many of the instructors have a cult-following and classes fill up fast. Be sure to sign up early to get into the class you want. Also, you will be asked to sign up for a specific bike. I made the rookie mistake of picking one in the front of the room (thinking it was the back), so double check the numbers. Lower numbers in the front, higher numbers in the back.
The studio lobby area has a small retail section selling Revolve merchandise and a few spin-centric items like socks, water bottles, and headbands. After passing the front desk, store your gear in the row of white lockers to your left. They have built-in combination locks (love these!) for extra security. It can get really crowded in here with lots of students buzzing about, so if you’re running late and a bit frazzled, just be prepared to find some zen before walking in the door.
There is only one changing room and it is all the way in the back of the studio to your right. It’s nice and big, so you have plenty of room to transition from work/street clothes into your spandex-clad spin-superhero gear (at least that’s what I told myself it was). To save time, I recommend changing before arriving if you can. Bathrooms are located outside of the studio – go out the back door and make a left down the hallway. They are bright, clean, single units.
You cannot wear gym shoes on the bikes at Revolve – bike shoes with Look or SPD clips are required. If you don’t own any, don’t worry, they rent them in the studio for $2. Before heading into class, fill your water bottle at the filtered water spout located just to the right of the spin studio door and grab an extra towel or two – you’ll need them once class starts.
Like many other spin studios in the area, the bikes are packed tightly into a small, mirrored room. Find your bike number and get settled in. The lights turn down once class starts, so try to make any adjustments before the door closes.
Grant Hill led the Real Ride class I crashed. I have been following Grant on Twitter for quite awhile now, and was very familiar with his motivational attitude and favorite phrase, “don’t stop, don’t quit.” Because the class was just under an hour, we wasted no time getting knee-deep into climbs, intervals, sprints, and (everyone’s favorite) tabatas. Let’s just say you won’t have any problem getting warmed up during the first song. Speaking of songs, I hate to admit that I didn’t recognize one single song Grant played. This was actually kind of refreshing, since the soundtrack at every other studio I’ve visited has been a mix of current and past pop hits. While I did miss singing along to familiar favorites, the lack of any recognizable tunes returned my distraction-seeking mind to the task at hand: working hard and spinning like crazy.
Things that didn’t make my wheels turn:
- I had a really hard time hearing Grant, which made following along to his prompts especially difficult. This seemed to be a combination of microphone fuzziness and loud music. It helped that I was in the front row so I could follow his lead, but for riders in the back, I bet it was difficult to figure things out sometime. If you are new, I’d recommend trying to be up front.
Things that spun my fancy:
- Free parking. For someone who commutes by car, this is a huge incentive to stop by Revolve on the way home from work.
- Everyone – riders and Revolve employees- was incredibly friendly from start to finish. They helped me set up my bike, figure out where to dump my used bike shoes after class, and helped me laugh off my jitters when I discovered I had reserved a bike smack dab in the front row. The
- The class was a solid spin workout with no funny push-up business (if you read my ZenGo review, you know what I mean). I never once looked at the clock, and when Grant called out “last song,” I was in shock. It flew by and packed a calorie-burning wallop.