Bike lanes are popping up all over the city, and there are plenty of trails to explore, but sometimes hitting your local studio is the best way to get your cycling fix.
You won’t have to worry about the weather or fuss with a flat tire — just sign up for a class and show up ready to ride (and sweat — a lot!). Maybe you own your own pair of clip-in shoes, or maybe you haven’t pedaled since childhood. Whatever your biking status, DC has an indoor cycling studio for you. From flashing lights and fancy projectors to high-tech rides that’ll satisfy your competitive streak, we’ve rounded up the best cycling studios DC has to offer.
You’ve probably heard the hype surrounding this popular studio; SoulCycle’s classes all over DC bring together a tough workout with the latest music. Don’t expect to hear too many old classics, either — it’s all about the new jams here! And if you’re fighting off the urge to pump your fist or raise the roof, then you’re in luck — their classes also use light dumbbells to incorporate some arm work into your routine. Shoes are available for rent (your first time is free); otherwise, bring your own.
This small, no-frills studio in Eckington is unlike most of the other studios in our city. You won’t find any fancy lights changing colors or scented candles here! Most of the classes are taught by serious cyclists who will lead you through more structured drills to prepare you for long bike rides. A projector at the front of class shows your stats compared to the cyclist next to you, and since class sizes are usually small, it can get quite competitive. Make sure to hop onto your assigned bike to get your stats emailed to you after class.
This studio in Cathedral Commons and Logan Circle hosts one of the biggest classes in DC. With tons of bikes and blue mood lighting, the energy of this sweat spot is hard to beat. Instructors’ playlists vary, but usually include a bit of a theme (think The Jackson 5, from their early hits to Janet and Michael). The best part? Classes often start with spa-like music and you’ll be encouraged to set your intention for the day before you start blasting those glutes.
This adorable converted row home in Capitol Hill has barre classes upstairs and cycling classes downstairs. Expect classes that incorporate a mix of hill climbs, sprints, and bike push-ups set to the beat of old-school ’90s hits and the latest jams. And the dark room, with only a few strategically lit candles, will allow you to zone out while you get your sweat on. Want to know what’s really fresh? Cool, damp, mint-scented towels are passed around at the end of class!
If partying on a bike with your own private DJ sounds fun, CycleBar is the studio for you! Their high-intensity, theater-like cycling studio offers a variety of classes— rom themed rides like “Beyonce vs. Jay-Z” to more restorative classes like their “Connect Rides”—whatever your mood, CycleBar can accommodate. Check out their Arlington, Falls Church, and NE studios and make sure you grab a complimentary water bottle and banana on your way out.
Flywheel in both Dupont and CityCenterDC incorporates the latest technology and displays your bike stats on the large screen at the front of room. And since their studio features stadium seating, you’ll get a solid view of the instructor no matter where you sit. The only catch is bikes are assigned, so you won’t be able to walk in and snag a bike right next to your cycling buddy unless you two planned ahead. Cycling shoes are available for rent; otherwise, bring your own. And in addition to amazing showers and facilities, Flywheel offers bowls of free bananas and apples!
Ascend Cycle is a locally owned and operated cycling studio with all the charm of its quiet neighborhood in Alexandria. Classes are designed by instructors to help you reach “peak performance”, or “ascend”. And they’re all about inner power as much as outer power, strengthening your mental and physical health in one class. With challenging climbs, fast sprints, a lively community, and incredible music, Ascend is sure to leave you with a natural endorphin high.
The Dailey Method
This sweat destination on U St. shares its bikes with the barre studio. So, in addition to your basic Dailey Cycle class, The Dailey Method offers hour-long classes that include a half hour of cycling and a half hour of barre. The bike portion of class is a little less intense than some of the other studios in DC, so this is a good place for beginners to start. Fitt Tip: it can be difficult to see the instructor from the back of the class, so get there early to snag a bike in the front. Be brave!
Serving our neighbors in Shaw, this studio offers a ton of classes from TRX to reformer Pilates to bootcamps, and more. The cycling class set up downstairs is strictly business (all exercise, all day) but is still a blast! And their energetic instructors will have you sweating to the sound of fun playlists that will have you wishing you were out dancing with your friends instead of pedaling away on your stationary bike (in a good way). Heads up on the schedule — Reformation likes to give you options, so class times vary on a daily basis. Be sure to check carefully before signing up (we may or may not have learned this the hard way)!
With two studio locations and eight different cycling classes to choose from, you’ll never be bored at Off Road. Want to get a killer core workout after your 50-minute cycling class? No problem. Only have 30 minutes to get an intense sweat going? Yep, they’ve got you covered. Consistently voted as one of DC’s best, this hot spot is literally award-winning. Fitt Tip: if you’re looking to double up on your workout, Off Road also has boxing and strength classes to really round out your fitness routine.. Talk about a jack-of-all-trades.
VCycle is part of the ever-popular LavaBarre in DC. They specialize in a total-body workout on the bike, incorporating exercises to improve cardiovascular endurance, strength, and core. VCycle also offers classes using TRX suspension trainers, resistance bands, and barre moves, so you can add that extra oomph to your strength off the bike, too. Swing by their Clarendon studio to experience the muscle burn firsthand!
H Street’s Election Cycle welcomes elephants in the room, donkeys on bikes, and porcupines to boot (yes, that’s a symbol of the Libertarian party, we promise). DC’s fitness community is all about supporting this kind of party. And their beat-inspired cycling classes combined with HIIT-style workouts will leave you as breathless as a 15-hour filibuster. If you need an extra pump, free weights are available and incorporated into many classes. Here’s to the right to bare arms.
**Updated by Tarah Romano, October 2018