◊ WHO THIS IS FOR ◊
Younge, urbanites who are into a bad-ass, choreo-filled, ride
WHAT YOU NEED
Everything else is provided
My first impression of Spokehaus was from an article in Toronto Life when they opened in 2016, dubbing Spoke one of “the fanciest new places to work out in Toronto”. Founded by corporate career woman turned entrepreneur, Christine Tessaro was one of the first to pave the way for boutique fitness studios in Toronto. Since then, there has been a surge of spin studios opening their doors with more studios that are starting to offer a similar vibe, the same prices, amenities and styles of classes. So what makes these guys different? Well first off, they’re one of Toronto’s OG’s. Spokehaus opened before choreography and the playlist was an integral part of spin classes, before a zillion amenities like spin shoes and the use of free natural spa-like products was a baseline, and before all of this had to be packaged in a beautiful and inspiring setting. Spoke is literally the Canadian SoulCycle, before SoulCycle came up North, with a similar ‘ride with strangers in unison’ goal and some of the most challenging high-intensity full-body workouts we’ve ever taken in TO. If you’re looking for a high calorie burning, incredibly challenging, 45-minute class in an environment that’s gorgeous, energising and the epitome of a boutique fitness studio, then this is for you.
The HAÜS, as they say, is downtown in Cityplace, that area near the waterfront and west of Spadina that’s chokers full of apartment complexes and some cute little parks and restaurants. It’s located on Dan Leckie Way which is across from the Canoe Park and just north of the Gardiner. There’s street parking available on Dan Leckie Way as well as Fort York Blvd for $2.25/hour. If taking transit, the 511 Bathurst streetcar runs to Fort York and is a 5-minute walk from there. If not a local cityplaceite, the studio is easily accessible no matter what your means of transportation.
One thing we love about the classes offered at Spokehaus is that most are 45-minutes, and they’re all hard as hell, making them a really great efficient and sweaty use of our time. They offer three different styles of classes; Spokehaus 45, which is their signature high intensity, low impact, full-body workout, the High/Ride which is ideal for intermediate to advanced riders, includes 2 instructors and is described as their version of a “rave on a bike”, and Hotbox, which is based on the Spokehaus 45 but heated in a room of 80-84ºC so you can expect a greater detox and increased calorie burn. It’s ideal to sign-up online before coming to class but if walk-in space is available they will, of course, accommodate. If you’re running late though, sorry Sally, they won’t let latecomers into the spin rooms to avoid the disruption.
Class times are definitely catering to the working crowd with an early morning slot most days at 6:30am or 7:00am, no classes during the day with the exception of a Friday lunchtime class, and 2-3 classes in the evenings with the last class at 7:30pm. Weekend classes are leaner with Sunday having the fewest and being done by 11:00am.
Class prices are competitive with other spin studios in Toronto now (same as 6ix, cheaper than Soul, a bit more than Torq). With spin shoes, lockers and all amenities included in the price, a $25 drop-in or $17.00 per class for buying in major bulk, is definitely on the lower end. The only membership is an ‘unlimited 30 days’, and besides that you buy credits, which equal classes and don’t have an expiry date.
1 ride: $25
5 rides: $115 ($23 per)
10 rides: $215 ($21.50 per)
20 rides: $390 ($19.50 per)
- 50 Rides: $850 ($17 per)
- Unlimited 30 Days: $199
It was one of Christine’s goals to make the space at Spokehaus beautiful and inspiring, and that she did. The studio is modern, minimalist and full of light with 2/3rds of the front studio space being floor to ceiling windows. The details in the interior design are feminine but contemporary with black and white features paired with industrial and statement rose-gold lighting. The spin studio is all black and dimly lit to allow a vanity-free class. Fans blow hard at the front of the room to keep you cool and there’s space for 39 bikes which was perfect, close enough to lean over to your hommie to commiserate, but far enough that you don’t bump uglies during class.
The flow of the studio is a bit like a squished diamond with the front sign-in desk, a Spokehaus store and two areas in the front foyer to store your things. The change rooms (both male and female) are beside the spin studio as well as filtered water. The space can be cramped during a change over of classes, especially during the busier Saturday mornings with everyone trying to leave the studio, get water, or get to the change rooms. The change rooms have everything you could need with all hair products, razors, showers and washrooms included (the male change rooms are a little less glam.) There isn’t a ton of a space if getting ready for work after a class, ideally there’s enough space for 2-3 women to get ready at a time. Finally on vibe, we’ll talk energy and music. Music is a huge part of what they do at Spoke, with every instructor putting a ton of energy and thought into each class’ playlist, and sometimes the beats get blasted REAL loud. Like club dub.
The crowd at Spokehaus is on the younger end, Millennials and Xennials for sure from 20’s to mid-30’s, which isn’t a huge shocker considering the downtown condo heavy neighbourhood they’re nestled into. The studio is a busy one with most classes about 80% full with a heavy participation of regulars but always a handful of newbies. Spoke is also fantastic at running speciality classes, promotional events and partnering with other businesses in the community to draw in new riders and generally celebrate life. They’re particularly strong supporters of rose and the 5 o’clock cocktail (which makes us strong supporters).
- Towels included on the bike and in the change rooms
- Cold eucalyptus towels 5 minutes at the end of class – love this touch
- Spin shoes included
- Free filtered water
- Water ($2) and Greenhouse Juices for purchase
- All natural and award winning Malin and Goetz products in the washrooms (shampoo, conditioner, body wash)
- Hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons, hairspray, razors, deodorant, they have it all
- Wicked selection of sexy, meshy, and sportluxe activewear from Spokehaus x Tully Lou, Michi NY, Varley, P.E. Nation, Stone Fox Sweat, and Koral Activewear
- Free coffee at the morning classes. LOVE this.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Class: Spokehaus 45
instructor: Christine Tessaro (founder)
Spoke deserves a rating of WAY HARD for the Spokehaus 45 class – their traditional low impact, high intensity full-body workout. This class is designed to target your core, legs, butt, arms and heart through a series of carefully choreographed movements that will “transform your body”. If I spun here on a weekly basis, I have no doubt that would hold true. The class started with a gentle warm up, allowing us to get used to the bike, and ride to the beat of the music. Then the 80% of the class (and intensity) began with sprints, hills, a ton of arm work involving dips, criss crosses, and weights and full-body choreography like butt drops and ’round the worlds. The final push before cooling down was a full song ride however you chose; sprinting, off the seat, or just at your own pace to the beat of the music. One thing I can guarantee at this point in the class; you’ll be sweaty, tired, and feeling amazing that you came to class and if you allow yourself to sink into the music, that two and a half minutes is blissful ‘you time’. The cool down that follows offers wonderful relief and you’ll be guided through 5-minutes of full-body stretches. We rolled out of this class with an obscene amount of sweat, a bit fatigued, but blissfully happy. So to sum up, you gotta go.
Try Spokehaus here.