** Photos used with permission from Ride Culture.

The first time I went to a spin class, it was in a giant generic gym. The lights were florescent and harsh, the music was blah and the instructor kept telling me to pretend I was climbing a hill, to imagine the scenery. If I wanted to climb a hill and enjoy the view, I’ll get on my mountain bike, thank-you. I left that class unimpressed and never went back.

Fast forward years later when my friend Caitlin Walker invited me to try a spin class with her in Vancouver, BC. I knew there was a newer genre of spin studios (think SOULCYCLE) that people seemed to love so I figured I should give it another shot. This class was much different than my first experience years earlier! The music was loud, the studio was dark and nobody tried to get me to imagine I was climbing anything! What did happen was something more like this: I clipped into the pedals, the music started and I began one of the most intense workouts of my life! I’ll admit, there were a couple moments when I wondered what I’d signed up for and if I’d make it through the class without passing out. But by the end, I felt amazing. Not only did I get the workout of my life, I also felt inspired, energized and maybe like a little bit of a badass! I wished there was something local so I could get that kind of workout on the regular.

This is where I get to tell you… Bellingham is getting its very own spin studio and you’ll have the chance to see what I mean! The same Caitlin Walker who introduced me to spin has dreamed up a beautiful new studio called Ride Culture, located next to the future home of Scotty Browns in Barkley Village and it is exactly what Bellingham has been missing!

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join in on a training class prior to Ride Culture’s opening. The class was challenging and my heart rate definitely got up there! If I could describe how it felt to be in this spin class, I would choose ‘supported.’ Caitlyn’s constant encouragement to push hard coupled with reminders to listen to my body created exactly what I look for in a workout class. I want a workout that will challenge me but I also don’t want to feel stupid for not being able to stay at the class pace the whole time. You won’t feel this at Ride Culture.

I had a chance to sit down with Caitlin to get a little more info on her new project and I’m excited to share with you!

How did you come up with the idea for Ride Culture?

Pretty much the way I approach life. If I want it and it doesn’t exist, I’ll create it! After taking a SOULCYCLE class in 2012, I started dreaming of what it would take to create something similar for my community.

What is your inspiration for the name?

The word “Culture” incites memories of travel to new countries and experiencing other cultures which, having grown up in Thailand and Costa Rica, is close to my heart. Culture = Community to me. Every home, office, etc has its own culture. I wanted to create a place where we could all bring our cultures together and create a place full of diversity, energy and kindness for everybody and everyBODY.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by a desire to take care of others. As a child I thought I’d become a nurse. I grew up watching my parents give back to the less fortunate in Asia and Central America. As an adult I’ve found my way to give back by helping others become healthier and happier through exercise. Now if I could just find a solution for the obesity rate, food insecurity, etc…

What would you say to someone to who has never tried spin?

I hope your first class is as life changing for you as it was for me. Riding in sync with others in a dark room with the beat of the music driving you to push yourself makes you feel like you can accomplish anything!

How is Ride Culture prepared for opening safely during the pandemic?

We had the advantage of our building being under construction during 2020. We learned we could enhance our safety protocols by installing UV air scrubbers and lighting into our studio. This technology will ensure our space is not only sanitized but also thoroughly disinfected.

 When you think about people coming into Ride Culture for the first time, what do you hope they experience?

I hope they are wow’d by the design, feel pampered by the amenities; that they feel welcomed and become slightly addicted to the workout!

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Ride Culture has an open house on Saturday, March 27th from 10am-12pm to check out the studio, purchase a ride class pack and get entered for some great prizes! Doors open for business on Monday, March 29th and you can visit their website www.rideculture.com for more information. I cannot rave enough about Ride Culture. It’s a beautiful and inspiring place to work out and you’ll leave feeling more at home in your body, grateful for all it can do. I hope I see you there!

xo Bonnie