Kristi Arledge, studio manager of CycleBar, admits that she is—first and foremost—a runner. “When I turned 40, I decided that I was going to dedicate myself to running, so I did,” she says, matter-of-factly.
Her hard work paid off. At 46, she is a five-time marathon winner (the most recent being the 2016 Spinx Run Fest) with a personal record of 2:55. One may find it surprising, then, that the next step in her career path involves not running shoes, but bicycles. And lights. And loud, heart- pumping music.
CycleBar, a premium indoor cycling studio, is a boutique-like cycling experience that combines an oxygenated, Imax-theatre setting with energetic CycleStars (or instructors) to create a guided exercise class for people of all sizes and fitness levels. But if running is Arledge’s love, helping people is her passion, and that’s what drew her to the CycleBar business.
“I’ve always enjoyed leading exercise classes because it allows me to help others realize their potential,” she says.
This same love for people and fitness is what inspired CycleBar owner Eric Skoloff to bring the franchise to Greenville. Skoloff, a medical device sales and management executive for St. Jude Medical who works in pain management, saw CycleBar as an alternative way to help people improve their lifestyles.
“People tell me all the time that they’re too embarrassed to go to a gym,” says Skoloff. “The premise of CycleBar eliminates those concerns. No cycling experience is necessary. The lighting in the studio is low, so you can sort of ‘hide out’ while you exercise. And the instructors are friendly and encouraging.”
Skoloff has spent a fair amount of his own life on two wheels. He began racing BMX bikes at 8 years old, then got into mountain biking. After moving to Greenville in 1994, he met George and Rich Hincapie, who introduced him to road biking. “But visitors of CycleBar don’t need cycling experience,” assures Skoloff.
So what exactly can visitors expect?
“From the time they walk in the front door, they’ll be hugged and high-fived,” says Arledge. “We’ll show them where to check in, and we’ll give them a pair of shoes. We’ll lead them to the locker room, where they can enjoy complimentary fruit and water. They can put their belongings in a locker equipped with USB charging ports, and then go to their pre-assigned bike and receive fitting assistance. It really is a truly personal experience.”
And though the studio is called “CycleBar,” Skoloff and Arledge say it’s not all about cycling. At its core, CycleBar is about getting healthy and encouraging a community of people, making the studio’s location key. Housed in the old Keys Printing building, dubbed “Keys Village,” the complex will house a brewery, restaurant, and outdoor stage. They hope visitors will enjoy a class and walk next door for a drink or dinner. Skoloff says when the weather is nice, they’ll take the bikes outside and hold classes in front of a live band or DJ on the adjacent stage.
“It’s all about fueling energetic communal experiences,” says Skoloff. “I love the city of Greenville. CycleBar is my way of giving back to this wonderful place and encouraging other people to become an active part of our community.”
CycleBar Greenville, 307 E McBee Ave. (864) 326-4468, greenville.cyclebar.com