◊ THE CLASS: Spin ◊
◊ THE INSTRUCTOR: MICHAEL SMITH ◊
WHAT TO BRING
If you haven’t heard of Quad Spin, I’m sure you’ve actually seen it. Located on King Street West just east of Portland, this basement studio has perpetually steamy windows and shares the same entrance with veteran studio Elle Fitness, so the amount of beautiful sweaty Lycra covered fitties strolling out the front doors of the old heritage building, is a constant attention stealer. As one of the OG spin studios in Toronto since 2002, the vibe is laid back yet energised set in a below ground old bank with exposed ceilings, white washed brick walls, and fans every which way. The layout is unlike many spin studio out there in that the space isn’t compartmentalised with a separate spin room. Nearly 60 bikes fill the open-concept space and classes are more traditional (hills and sprints vs choreography on the bike). With clip-in shoes not required, free first time classes, and no pressure to stay on the beat, this studio is a welcome pace for beginners and cycle truists.
Quad Spin has one location on King Street West, in between Portland Street and Brant Street on the north side. Tucked away in the brick heritage building between The Keg and Lee Valley, Quad shares the building with Elle Fitness and The Everleigh Nightclub. Being in the heart of the Entertainment District it’s easy to get to by public transport with the King streetcar, and the St. Andrew subway station is about a 15-minute walk down King. Parking is more challenging in the area for sure and street parking is your best bet if you can snag a spot.
Quad’s class schedule is geared to accommodating the 9-5 crowd with mostly all 45-minute classes starting as early as 6:30am, a lunch hour ride, and 3-4 evening classes starting up again around 5:30pm. There are some exceptions with a quieter schedule on Fridays, but for overall the week is consistent in offering ~5 classes every day. Most are their signature Quad Ride which is an interval class focusing on tempo, timing and rhythm, but there’s also a Tabata Ride once a week which is a fast-paced high-intensity interval training class that blasts calories. The space fits nearly 60 people so the chances of a completely full class are low, so its a great option if you want to pop in last minute.
Prices are some of the lowest I’ve seen in Toronto. They’re on par with Torq Ride in Leslieville with a drop-in rate around $22, but they offer membership and class pack options that drive the price as low $13 per class if you went 2x/week with a membership. Also, the first class is free, which I rarely see, and they have plenty of class pass and membership options to find something that suits you best. Memberships make more sense than class packs if you’re committed to more than 2 rides/week, and class passes are valid for a year.
- Drop-in: $22.12
Intro trial week: $35 + HST
Current Promo – 5 Class Pass: $66.37 +HST ($14 per class)
- 5 Class Pass: $100 ($20 per class)
10 Class Pass: $190 ($19 per class)
20 Class Pass: $360 ($18 per class)
30 Class Pass: $510 ($17 per class)
1 Month Unlimited Membership: $160
3 Month Unlimited Membership: $339
6 Month Unlimited Membership: $652
Annual Unlimited Membership: $1250
Quad Spin is owned by Micheline Wedderburn, a cool mother of three who first discovered spin in California and self-proclaimed that she “pedaled miserably and puffed her way though an intense 45 minutes.” Micheline’s real, energetic, and relatable nature is what makes the vibe at Quad Spin what it is. Who knows, if you’re not a spin fan, she might make a believer out of you too. The rest of the staff I’ve met were helpful, friendly and cheerful, ensuring we had everything we needed to properly set up our bikes and be ready for class. The instructors also knew 80% of the riders by name, it’s obvious there’s a loyal biker gang that resides here.
The design aesthetic at Quad has a 70’s basement vibe with unexpected pieces of art scattered amongst white washed brick walls, unfinished concrete, old school record players, and soft brown leather couches. There’s an un-fussed, relaxed and imperfect way about the studio that makes it feel familiar and worn in. You enter the studio into an open concept studio space that’s packed with nearly 60 bikes next to the sign-in desk. The men’s and women’s change rooms, washrooms and additional stretching area are further into the studio past the sign-in desk/spin room. Change rooms are compact with locker space, a changing area, 3 showers and 2 washrooms.
Depending on the time of day, busyness of the class and when you arrive, there’s potential for a heavy traffic jam between the sign-in desk, small walkway area to the back, and within the small change rooms. The open layout of the spin room also means that if people are running late (which many people were for our class), they can slide onto a bike relatively unnoticed. However it can make for a distracting start to the class as people leaving from the previous ride need to walk through/beside the next class. Because the open-concept spin room is housed in the basement of an old heritage building on king, the street windows and time of day dictate the type of light you’ll get for your class. Unlike many spin studios that have a separate spin room that’s purposefully dark, Quad will only feel that way at night or early mornings. Middle of the day classes are bright and awakening. We enjoyed the switch-up but it’s noticeable if you’re used to getting hardcore into your ride in the solace of a dark room.
The crowd at Quad is a mix. A large portion of the class was full of regulars who were fully decked out in their padded shorts and personal clip-in shoes and knew the staff well. There was also a fair amount of “Soulcycle” types, i.e. groups of young, beautiful, fit women wearing the latest athletic gear very well. In addition there was a smattering of people that were new to spin, less fit but giving it more effort than the rest (props), and a great age variety from low 20’s to north of 60.
- Towels included on the bike
- Shoes can be rented for $3, although not a requirement and you can wear your regular runners. Bikes are equiped with SPD compatible pedals.
- Clean gel seats available for every class
- Lockers – bring your own lock or locks can be purchased. Can also be rented for $10 a month, $100 for the year plus taxes.
- Quad merchandise including padded shorts available for purchase
- Blowdryers, hair brushes, and plenty of hair products (hair spray, hair powder, shampoo and conditioner) and face and body products are available (deodorant, hand/body creams)
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
I’m rating the classes at Quad Hard, although like any spin class, most of the work is up to you and it’s in your hands if you want to push that to a Way Hard or back it off. Because the room is able to fit nearly 60 spinners, you can’t necessarily see the instructor from every bike, so if your somewhere in the middle back it can be tough to pick up on instructions. The biggest difference with most of the classes here is that they do not fuss about choreography, obsessively riding to the beat, or using weights. They are strictly about spin. They focus on hills vs sprints (speed) and we would mix it up with rollers (a version of both), or pyramid suicides where we would ride off the saddle for 60 seconds, have a 10 second break, than ride for 50 seconds, 10 second break, etc. until you were only down to riding off the saddle for 30 seconds. We chatted with a few men afterwards and they said they felt more comfortable in this style of class since there was less to worry about and it allowed them to focus solely on pushing to their personal max vs trying to keep up with the class doing dips, curls, and tap-backs. Regardless of your personal style, I was sweating like a beast and there was definitely something refreshing about only having to focus on my “ride”. I’ll be back.
To try a class click here!