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Cycling studio smackdown

Time Out Chicago compares three local cycling studios.
 (Photograph: Megan Carreon)
Photograph: Megan CarreonRealRyder Revolution108 W Hubbard St,312-587-7933.Imagine that unnerving sensation ofalmost falling off your bike in cycling class as you jump forward. That´┐Żs how you´┐Żll feel leaning into the side-to-side movement (they call it ´┐Żbanking´┐Ż) of the RealRyder bike, which simulates speeding around a street corner on your two-wheeler. Add in a projector screen hung from the exposed brick walls of the subterranean studio playing a virtual ride through country roads, suburban neighborhoods and city streets, and you can picture a 45-minute RealRyder Revolution ride.Locker roomA bathroom features a handful of small lockers and two shower stalls, but the shampoo, conditioner and towel is up to you; you can dry off with the complimentary hair dryer.PerksBring your own clip-in shoes and sweat towel´┐Żotherwise you´┐Żll be slipping and sliding off those handlebars as you ´┐Żbank.´┐Ż Water is available for $1.Class varietyThere´┐Żs only one ride on the menu here.DifficultyWhile sprinting and adding resistance present the usual challenges, the lateral movement on the bike really amps up the focus on core strengthening and even provides an upper-body workout as you push your handlebars to either side.Price$20 for two classes for first-timers, $20 per drop-in after
 (Photograph: Nina Pagano)
Photograph: Nina PaganoGo Cycle501 W North Ave,312-878-4999.Cycling enthusiasts (the age range on a recent class was around 25-60; Mayor Emanuel recently took a class here) cram into this Old Town boutique cycling studio for a variety of classes. The space goes for an upscale vibe with crystal chandeliers adorning the studio, which houses about 25 odometer-outfitted Keiser M3 bikes. Most of the bikes are hooked up to an above-head monitor, so you can track your progress as well as take part in a friendly competition with the rest of the class.Locker roomYou´┐Żll find six small lockers in the bathroom, which also includes a shower stall, towels and shampoo.PerksSweat towels are provided; don´┐Żt forget to bring your own water.Class varietyIn addition to standard classes, you´┐Żll also find sessions that extend the ride by 15 minutes or incorporate yoga, push-ups and light weight lifting.DifficultyForm was a big focus in the class we visited, so getting that right as well as keeping up with the pace can be challenging´┐Żin a good way.Price$20 per class
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Flywheel)
Photograph: Courtesy of FlywheelFlywheel710 N State St,312-624-8485.After regularly selling out classes in its NYC studio, Flywheel brought its boutique concept to Chicago in July 2011. Your power output (a combination of how fast you pedal and with how much resistance) is displayed on a leader board so you can see where you rank among the fit, lululemon-clad exercisers.Locker roomThere are two bathrooms and two changing rooms´┐Żlines form outside them before and after classes´┐Żbut neither has a shower. Lockers are located just outside the cycling room.PerksYour class fee gets you clip-in (sanitized!) shoes, a towel and as much bottled water as you need.Class varietyClasses are 45 minutes or 60 minutes long and the vibe differs depending on which instructor you get. (We´┐Żve tried them all and you reallycan´┐Żt go wrong.) Flywheel also hosts theme rides, like the recent Britney Spears class.DifficultyExpect to sweat buckets, expect quivering muscles. And just a heads up: Each class utilizes body bars for about five killer minutes of on-bike upper-body strength training.Price$25 per class
By Kevin Aeh, Jessica Herman and Liz Plosser |

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