Pelodog cycles through a successful first month in business
As Jen Kaplan coaches her riders at the 4:30 p.m. 50-minute class Monday, she explained that they were going to be pushing hard on some hill climbs. For the set, she asked them to imagine that they were riding a bike on the moderate incline between Eagle and Edwards.
“And then we go right, and we ride the Cordillera part,” she said.
Kaplan opened Pelodog, located in the Traer Creek Plaza, about a month ago, and so far, she’s loving the way her new indoor cycling studio is already building a community of like-minded athletes.
“It has been, just seeing the community develop, seeing old friends run into each other,” Kaplan said. “In one month, seeing that already develop has been absolutely amazing.”
But that community wouldn’t exist without Kaplan. Her personality – bright, neighborly and fun – invites riders into the studio in an open-arms, all-levels-welcome way.
“There are so many places to go train really, really hard, and be crazy competitive, and there aren’t as many places that emphasize much more the ‘let’s just have fun, listen to good music and get a sweat,’” she said. “It doesn’t matter who walks in this door. Anyone, as long as they can sit on a bike, is welcome.”
Kaplan moved to the valley from San Francisco, where she’s from, seven years ago. She started by teaching pilates and running the studio at the Westin, and right away, she knew she missed urban indoor cycling studios like SoulCycle and FlyWheel. It was in the back of her mind for six years before she started to make it a reality.
Last year, she started looking for studio spaces in the valley. She knew she wanted to find the perfect space because the sound system she uses for classes is loud, and some of her friends have had issues with neighboring businesses being able to hear everything. The beat of the music is so intense that it can travel through the HVAC.
When she found the Traer Creek spot, she liked that she had hallways separating her from her neighbors and just a bathroom upstairs. She started sketching out plans with a pen and paper, and the final design from the architects was almost exactly the same as what she envisioned.
In the classroom, about 20 bikes are arranged around an instructor bike on a raised platform. Like a SoulCycle class, Kaplan and her instructors blast the music while everyone rides, and the lighting is dark and colorful. It’s like turning the post-work gym grind into a Saturday night out at the club.
As for the classes themselves, Kaplan models them off the Peloton classes available in studios and on the tech-equipped stationary bike’s fitness app. They don’t use the small weights that instructors sometimes reach for during Peloton classes because Kaplan said it’s not safe to be riding and doing bicep curls and tricep lifts at the same time. Kaplan hopes to get a rack of free weights that she can incorporate into her classes while riders stand on two feet.
She’s also able to use her experience teaching pilates – she used to own a studio in San Francisco before she moved – at Pelodog as well. She has state-of-the-art equipment and teaches private and semi-private classes.
The bikes that riders use are also state-of-the-art. The bikes are Stages SC3, the same that many Tour de France riders use to train.
In class, Kaplan encourages riders to push themselves, but in the particularly hard stretches, she offered slight adjustments that eased up the intensity just enough to keep riders’ confidence level flying high.
A lot of her riders keep coming back regularly: she knows everyone’s name. After class, she spends time joking about who will ski faster down Vail Mountain and that she has to wear the same sweaty clothes out to dinner.
But the time she spends in class, hearts beating together in a room, is one Kaplan’s favorite parts of the job.
“I was looking around the room, just seeing people focus and learn and progress and see real results,” she said. “I think it’s such a cool thing to actually experience.”