GoRecess Studio Spotlight: Revocycle; Portland, OR
About the Founder & Owner: Michael Hosking was a track and field athlete in college, but took up cycling after transferring to Creighton University for pre-med studies. While in graduate school at Indiana University he raced road and mountain bikes and staged various races with friends for the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) series.
Cycling and science were his passion, and Michael was always interested in the body and health care. After earning his Ph.D. in biology he went on to teach at Davidson College in North Carolina and later took a special interest in the mind-body connection and how aerobic exercise affects mental health and the brain. After reading Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey, M.D. of Harvard, Michael took a continuing education class from the author at Esalen, the famous spiritual retreat center in Big Sur, California. That life-changing experience at Esalen inspired him to bring the newly understood body, mind and brain benefits of exercise to the public through a new indoor group cycling concept.” Revocycle was the resulting business venture, which opened in September 2012 in the Pearl District with a focus on mind, body and brain health. The name captures two concepts: the very recent revolution in neuroscience that shows how exercise can dramatically improve brain health and function, and the revolution of the wheels and pedals in the cycling motion.
Types of classes offered: Revocycle offers daily morning and evening 50-minute indoor cycling classes. Our 30-minute Icebreaker classes are for those new to our studio - we personally fit you to the bike and teach you proper pedaling motion and form.
What makes Revocycle unique and why should someone try it? Revocycle is an absolutely new approach to indoor cycling that focuses on proper bike fit, proper pedaling form, mindful movement and the power of good music presented well. In many ways we approach indoor cycling like a good yoga studio approaches the asanas of yoga.
Our bikes are infinitely adjustable in saddle and seat height AND fore/aft positioning so that you are perfectly fit to your bike. We see no reason why if you are going to spend several hours a week riding with us you shouldn’t be personally fit to the bike just as you would be if you bought an outdoor bike from a bike shop.
Once you have the proper fit, we teach you the proper pedaling motion that utilizes all the muscles of the lower body. Our bikes have a unique freewheel attachment to the flywheel, which makes a huge difference in how you pedal. Every other type of indoor cycling bike has a fixed-gear attachment to the flywheel - the rotating mass of the flywheel actually pulls your leg around in a circle, cheating you of the calorie burning and toning benefits of actual cycling, and encouraging a ‘stomping’ style of pedaling that is the very opposite of mindful movement. With our bikes, you must mindfully pedal the full 360-degree pedal stroke, incorporating all the muscles of the lower body- the calves, hamstrings, the hip flexors, the glutes (especially the glutes!); if you don’t your feet stop! So as we learn to pedal the full circle, and work toward being smooth and supple, we actually engage many more muscles than on a standard indoor cycling bike, burn more calories as these muscles work, and tone more effectively. New students who take a class from us always comment on how they can actually feel their hamstrings, calves and glutes getting used in a way they never were in an indoor cycling class with fixed-gear bikes.
We have always been amazed that most indoor cycling classes have no way of actually measuring resistance and pedaling speed - the exact variables used to create the workout! Have you ever looked around a cycling class and noticed that everybody is pedaling at a different cadence? We are moving indoor cycling into the modern era by using bikes that have power meters (force applied to the pedals) and cadence meters. Our instructors precisely calibrate their various sections to the beat of the music and can tell students exactly the cadence to be at - everybody is on the same page! It’s a beautiful sight to see a room full of students climbing out of the saddle at the exact same rhythm!
Music is a huge part of indoor cycling. As a musician and music lover, I have noticed that the sound system is often just a second thought in gyms and indoor cycling studios. Sure, they go loud, but the quality of the sound is just poor - small speakers thrown into the corners of the room and then played with bad amplifiers so loud they distort. That distortion is not only painful; it harms your ears and triggers the body’s stress response. At Revocycle, we put in the world’s best speakers, positioned them properly in the room for great stereo sound, and then connected them to a state-of-the-art Allen and Heath mixing board. The result is music you that you feel emotionally, that inspires and motivates you. The engineers of the world’s best sound halls know all of this, of course, and we bring that knowledge to Revocycle.
Advice for first-timers? We always suggest that people sign up for the Icebreaker class first so we can spend a lot of personal time fitting them to the bike, talking about the mechanics of the pedal stroke, and showing them the proper positions for various types of efforts we do in regular classes. The Icebreaker class also allows new students to internally adjust their perceived exertion scale to the greater work load of full-circle pedaling. We go over the computer power and cadence metrics in the Icebreaker as well.
Favorite things to do in Portland: I love riding my bike in the West Hills, visiting the Japanese and Chinese Gardens (both of which are world-class examples), and sampling the vast number of coffees and beers available in this wonderful city. On weekends I’ll often stop by one of my favorite vinyl record shops to add some new music to my collection. If you are a music lover, I highly recommend going back to vinyl - the sound is warm and amazing, and there is an intentionality to record playing that is just missing from mp3s and cds!
Ready for a ride that will benefit your mind, body and brain health? Check out a class at Revocycle on GoRecess today!