Spinning has been around since L.A. trainer Johnny G invented it in 1989, but a new breed of studios is offering such luxuries as clipless shoes, free towels, and filtered water. The experience is equal parts perspiration and pampering. You supply the competitive attitude.
The Front Runner
For serious cyclists Flywheel is the gold standard. The tiered seating makes it easy for you to see the instructors—and for them to see you. The bikes are custom, with computer screens that monitor gear, RPM, and energy output. Participate in the leaderboard and you’ll be ranked against classmates; online you can track your last ten rides. Expect occasional classes led by fitness A-listers like The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels. Flywheel also offers yoga at its West Hollywood outlet, but stick to the spinning—it’s what the place does best. » 147 N. Larchmont Blvd., Larchmont Village, 323-446-2425; $25 per class (first class, free). Also at 8599 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-360-7200.
At SoulCycle, the best (and most expensive) of the spin emporiums, the atmosphere is more nightclub than gym. Many of the instructors are so gorgeous, they must be aspiring actors and models. They’re also hell-bent on leaving you inspired and drenched in sweat. It’s a favorite among celebs (we once worked out with Colin Farrell), and popular classes can fill up moments after they open for registration on Monday at noon. » 8570 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-657-7685; $30 per class (first class, $20). Also at 11640 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310-559-7685; 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-675-7685; 120 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-622-7685.
YAS (“yoga and spin”) is a local mini-chain founded in 2001 by Kimberly Fowler, who was the first to combine indoor cycling with yoga. The hybrid workout features 30 minutes of hard-core pedaling followed by 30 minutes of cursory stretching. YAS also offers standard spin classes and more intense yoga sessions with weights. Riders are expected to wipe down their own bikes, and the brick walls and old-school lockers give off an industrial vibe. » 1101 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-396-6993 or go2yas.com; $22 per class (first class, free). Also at 1932 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, 323-665-6011; 831 S. Hope St., downtown, 213-430-9053.
The Rest of the Pack
At Cycle House the challenging 55-minute classes are frequently packed. The large parking lot is a boon, as is the patio, where you can grab a banana to refuel. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors and flashing lights make AuraCycle look like a disco. The small but friendly Kinetic Cycling has instructors who are motivational experts; don’t get distracted by the TVs playing music videos. CycleLates specializes in a hybrid workout: 35 minutes on the Pilates reformer to stengthen your core and 20 minutes of pedaling to burn calories. » Cycle House: 624 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-358-0888; $26 per class (first class, free). Aura Cycle: 8231 W. 3rd St., Mid City, 323-570-0570; $24 per class (first class, $15). Kinetic Cycling: 11740 San Vicente Blvd., Ste. 202, Brentwood, 310-820-0777; $19 per class (first class, free). CycleLates: 1555 N. Vine St., Ste. 110, Hollywood, 213-373-1758; $25 per class (first class, $5).