First Wind Cycling is now open in South End

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Not 24 hours after stating “there are no Flywheel competitors in Charlotte,” I got an email about a new cycle studio opening in South End. Wrong again!

First Wind Cycling

First Wind Cycling

First Wind Cycling, located in The Design Center, is shaking up our cycling scene (quite literally) with indoor classes featuring RealRyder bikes that tilt and lean “to provide the fluid sensation of an outdoor road bike.”

RealRyder bike

The benefit of an unstable bike is that it throws off your center of gravity, triggering the core muscles to engage. According to First Wind’s site, RealRyder bikes can help you burn up to 20% more calories than a traditional stationary bike.

Riders have the option of wearing cycling shoes (provided by First Wind) to clip into the bikes or you can opt to wear your own tennis shoes. Everyone is also given a heart rate monitor that’s worn under your shirt across your chest. There’s no resistance or “torque” number on the bikes so you’re instructed to perform on perceived rate of exertion, which is easier to deduce when you’ve got a heart rate number staring you in the face.

My heart rate sat between 150-160 throughout the 45-minute class, which is on target on the high end of the target heart rate zone for a 30-year-old.

First Wind Cycling

Pricing is $185/month or $20/class, but your first two classes are just $20 total.

In addition to cycling classes, First Wind offers barre classes, cross training classes and personal training.

barre First Wind Charlotte

First Wind Charlotte

Founder Karen Hill left a 10-year career in banking to open the studio, a decision she says feels right. “My mom says I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I think it’s because I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” she said on opening day.

After suffering from heart disease and other medical conditions, this venture could be seen as her second wind, but Karen describes it differently, “My journey has just begun and I’m just starting to build, grow, and appreciate fitness being a part of my life.”

First Wind Charlotte

Agenda Tip: The studio is a little tough to find if you’re not familiar with The Design Center (and I was not). The address is 1930 Camden Road, which will pretty much bring you to Pike’s Soda shop at the corner of Tremont and Camden. If you’re looking dead on at Pike’s entrance, walk to your right down Camden and turn down left the first alley-type street you see after Barlfour Beatty Construction. First Wind will be on your left at the end of that alley.

First Wind Charlotte

Connect with First Wind Cycling


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Katie Levans Loveluck
| @katie_levans |
Co-Founder and Creative Director