Q&A with Ruth Zukerman, Co-Founder/Creative Director
Flywheel Sports combines all our favorite elements of indoor cycling — pumping endorphins, upbeat music, and motivating instructors. But Flywheel’s tech-equipped bikes also allow riders to monitor their speed and resistance numbers, and compete against other riders on the digital scoreboard. Flywheel is a total experience: the studios are welcoming with electrifying blues and smooth, light wood; the shower rooms feel like mini spa experiences, and the common spaces invite you to stay a while. It’s a formula that has spread like wildfire, from the first Flywheel studio in the Flatiron in 2010, to Flywheel now in over 12 major cities across the U.S. Co-founder Ruth Zukerman explains how she “re-invented the wheel.”
How did the original idea for Flywheel come to be?
I had been teaching indoor cycling for several years and began to feel that it was time to bring this form of workout to the next level. I was observing that most riders were never clear as to where their resistance should be, and/or how much they should be pushing at a given moment. I wanted to take the guesswork out of indoor cycling and help my riders achieve maximum results.
I met two incredible people who shared my vision, and I decided to join forces with them in 2010. Together, we opened Flywheel and set the bar for indoor cycling by integrating technology into an empowering and highly effective workout. Additionally, we made customer service a priority so that every rider who walks through the door at any of our studios is always encouraged, never intimidated, and most importantly, feels welcome.
What is different about Flywheel than other spin classes?
Flywheel classes provide an upbeat, inspiring, indoor cycling experience that is not only fun, but effective. Our performance tracking technology keeps our riders accountable with every pedal stroke they take.
Every Flywheel bike is equipped with a small computer screen (or “tech pack”), allowing riders to view and adjust their speed (RPM), resistance (Torq), and total energy exerted. Additionally, every bike communicates with the central electronic system in the studio, giving our riders the option to put their names up on our TorqBoards, large flat-screens at the front of the studio that display class leaders and allow for friendly competition. After each ride, performance data is stored and made available to riders on their Performance Page on the Flywheel Sports website, as well as on the iPhone app. This allows our riders to track their progress over time.
Flywheel studios also feature unprecedented amenities including stadium seating, custom-made indoor cycling bikes, as well as complimentary towels and indoor cycling shoes for riders. We pride ourselves on offering a seamless experience from the moment you enter our studios to the moment you walk out the door.
You’ve said that Flywheel re-invented the indoor cycling experience through “camaraderie, technology, music, and fun." How are each of these an important part of the workout?
We believe that the best form of workout is not only energetic, empowering, and fun, but is also effective and produces real results. The entire Flywheel experience begins the moment you walk through our doors. Our friendly staff and best-in-class instructors help ensure that our riders (and Flybarre pulsers!) feel comfortable and welcome. The minute the lights go down in the stadium and class begins, our riders are meant to feel transported, challenged, and ultimately, elated. Our technology is there to enhance the experience, and ensure that all riders — from beginners to advanced cyclists — get the most out of their workout.
To me, the best part of the Flywheel experience is that you don’t even realize how hard you’re working! After class, riders are amazed to see just how well they performed when they view their stats on our website or iPhone app. They are able to see things like total calories burned, total miles rode, average speed, average resistance, and more. They can also view their progress over time and see how they measured up against others in the class – anonymously, of course.
There is truly nothing better than watching our riders bond with one another in our studios, whether they are comparing Power Scores or celebrating a personal achievement. We offer so much more than a workout – we are a community. #FlyFam is seen all over social media because no matter how much we grow, we maintain a family feel and treat both our employees and riders with respect and appreciation.
The first Flywheel studio opened in New York in 2010, and you are now in over 12 different cities just a few years later! How did the company grow so quickly?
We’ve created a workout that is meant for everyone. We are constantly receiving requests to open in new cities. When people visit the studio from out of town, they immediately go back and tell their friends at home just how much they loved the workout. This has helped us quickly grow across the country.
Additionally, we’ve put a great deal of research into each of our studio openings. We look for markets that embrace boutique fitness, a healthy living lifestyle, and a strong sense of community. We look to resonate with these communities, and introduce people to a form of exercise that we’re extremely passionate about.
I can’t believe we just celebrated our 5th year anniversary! We just opened our 32nd studio in North Miami, and we’re continually seeing a demand for additional studios in cities we’re already based in — as well as new cities we’re eager to tap into.
You have also expanded into FlyBarre? Why is this a good compliment to spinning?
We saw the need for an additional workout that would perfectly complement our indoor cycling classes, an opportunity to strengthen and stretch in ways that would be impossible on the bike. FlyBarre works to quickly reshape the body for lean, strong, and elongated muscles. Combining both workouts leads to fantastic results — it truly takes core-tightening and body-lengthening to new levels.
The Flywheel motto is "Never Coast" - what does that mean to you?
Know your limit, but don’t be afraid to push yourself and truly give it your all. And, of course, this applies to all facets of life!
Entrepreneur, leading fitness instructor, and mother all describe Flywheel Co-Founder Ruth Zukerman. For the past 25 years, Ruth has changed the minds and bodies of thousands of fitness enthusiasts along the East Coast, and now nationwide.
Ruth received her education at Mount Holyoke College and has taken extensive courses in anatomy and exercise physiology. Originally a dancer with a strong passion for music, she later became a certified indoor cycling instructor, and has taught indoor cycling at both full-service fitness centers and specialty cycling studios. In 2006, Ruth co-founded the first exclusive indoor cycling studio in New York City, and is widely credited as the driving force behind the surge in indoor cycling's popularity in New York and beyond. Ruth later joined forces with Jay Galluzzo in 2010 to co-found Flywheel Sports, which has quickly expanded from New York tri-state area into Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and more.
Ruth resides in New York City with her amazing twin daughters, Kate and Rachel. When she is not on a bike, she is taking advantage of the city, enjoying the museums, theatre, dance, concerts, and of course, eating at great restaurants and drinking really good wine!