Petite Version of This Post
Given that the Fourth of July was on (what I call) a “school night”, I decided to celebrate early in the evening with a friend at a spin class. The Wheel House Theme Ride: Battle For Independence featured music from both the U.K. and the USA – and it was just what I needed to close out the long weekend. It was a great way to change things up![line]
So this might be my first attempt to do a full studio / class review. Why have I been holding out? Well, I have my favorite studios and I generally love the staff and instructors there, so I’m not sure how much value the reviews would be if they were all positive. I guess if I had anything “constructive” to say, the review might just be vague.
But with the changes that took place with ClassPass memberships, I figure I should share my thoughts on studios I encounter. Note that I chose to remain on the ClassPass plan which limits me to 10 classes a month. I want to see if I can survive with only 10 classes a month that I book on the ClassPass platform. If you have yet to try ClassPass, use my personal link here to get $30 off your first month. (Note that I myself would get a $30 credit good towards my next cycle. Also note that at the time of this post, the “Give & Get” promotion was bumped up to $30 versus the normal $20.)
When one of my workout BFF’s, Mariah, mentioned that she recently took a Britney Spears themed cycling class at Wheel House, I had slight FOMO (fear of missing out). She also mentioned the instructor, Carl, did high kicks and I got excited. Mariah invited me to take Carl’s theme ride on the Fourth of July. The theme? Battle For Independence, which is quite fitting as Carl is British. They even gave us glow stick bracelets to rock during class!
Tip: Try to get to class early. More experienced riders will know what settings their bike should be, but I don’t spin enough to remember mine. They have staff members ready to assist you. For someone petite like me, I’m probably at the smallest, or most compact setting, but depending on the day, I might need a few adjustments compared to my normal setting. I am very happy that I meet the minimum height requirement of 4’10” (as I am 4’11”, on a good day) =D
Note that spin shoes are NOT required. I like coming to Wheel House specifically for that reason as I am not a seasoned indoor cyclist. I’m still trying to get used to the seat, and I don’t really like feeling “locked” because I sometimes like to take breaks and turn my legs out to stretch. Not that I spin with my legs turned out from my hip sockets, but for me, keeping my legs in parallel for a long period of time is very unnatural. So if you are new to indoor cycling, Wheel House is a great place to start as you can wear your own sneakers. I suggest sneakers with a thicker sole, not the Nike Frees I wore (because I wanted to match to a degree) LOL
Things that I enjoyed in class:
- Music with accompanying music videos
- It’s been a while since I’ve taken spin/cycling here. I’m not sure if they have music videos during every spin class, but I think they play the videos only during themed rides. Music selection was on point and matched the music videos! Though I did get distracted with the videos from time to time, or decided to dance while I spin.
- During the warm up, Carl told us what to expect during class (basically a few sprints, some hills, and some exercises around the bike)
- I like how energetic music was timed with the sprints, and how the more “ballady” music was timed with the hills.
- Carl provided us the foundation for the maneuvers around the bike.
- 1 is hands at center,
- 2 is hands at the bottom corner edge of the handles, and
- 3 is the top of the handles.
- Not only did we do some crunches and push ups during class, which other studios do, but we also do quite a few moves that required both balance and coordination. I actually enjoyed the choreography Carl had us do on the bike because it felt like I was in dance class.
- Carl’s infamous high kicks executed with great precision – and on beat!!!
- Ok, so I secretly liked the music from the U.K. better, but this play list was created by a British man. When Carl played Lil Mix’s “Black Magic” within the first seven minutes or so, I knew this was going to be a good class
Room for improvement:
- My overall feedback is positive, so not sure how helpful this is
- Sweat factor – I got a good sweat on my own, but because they do not use heat lamps, I sometimes had to push harder to stay warm. This is room for improvement for me, but just an FYI, there are no heat lamps. Given our stance on “no to body odor” (see below), I can understand why Wheel House does not have heat lamps, and even uses the air conditioning in class from time to time.
- It might not be a bad idea to start off the class wearing a long sleeve, though once you take it off, be mindful of where you place it underneath your bike.
- Length of class – Given the music, I think I could have gone for a full 60 minutes versus only 45 minutes
- We did a wave, which was fun, but I wish the class was full so that the wave could last longer. Given it was 5:30pm on the Fourth of July, lower turnout was expected.
Class Info: Wheel House Theme ride: Battle For Independence
Instructor: Carl (owner as well)
Time: 5:30 – 6:15pm (45 minutes)
Bike booked: 22 (next to Mariah on 23)
Work out is good for: Cardio and core stability
Workout is bad for: Strength training, though my legs felt the work up the hill
Would I come back to Wheel House for indoor cycling?: Yes!
Out of my 10 ClassPass bookings available in one cycle, how many bookings would I use at WheelHouse for each cycle?: Around 1 per cycle. The reason is that I no longer work in the city. I drive for the most part and making it up to this part of down town isn’t always a breeze
How social media friendly is this studio? How “instagrammable” is this studio?: Very. Note that they do ask no phones in class and no photography unless approved by the staff. Given that we were the last class, the staff was more than accommodating and helped us move bikes around. They even opened up the curtains for good lighting. If you can’t get a photo in the cycling room, there are a few bikes out in the lobby which would make good photos.
I know some of you will ask “How does this compare to Soul Cycle?” Honestly, I am not the best person to ask this because 1) I am not an avid spinner and 2) Carl is my fave spin instructor at Wheel House and I have yet to take enough teachers at Soul Cycle, though I did enjoy this one class where I met up with a few of the BBG Bay Area girls. If you are new to spin, I think Wheel House is a great place to start because the environment is very welcoming. I mean, they give you free snacks (read more below)![line]
In case you’re interested, thought this section might be helpful for prospective students.
Studio Name: Wheel House
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/wheelhousesf/
Address: One Embarcadero Center; Lobby Level, R-1213; San Francisco, CA 94111 (One level up from street level)
Phone: (415) 666-2288 then press 0
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Based on my experience, it might take a day or so for them to respond, but to be fair, I may have emailed during the weekend.)
Classes Offered: Cycling, Yoga, TRX, Pilates (mat), Strength Training – You can read more here
Class Schedule Website: www.wheelhouse-sf.com/reserve/
- When to book: Seems like you can book out way ahead in advance
- Note: The front row is for more “advanced” students. I don’t think this means you have to be the best at cycling, but it does mean that you should be able to execute the moves and set the tone or cadence for the rows behind you. I personally like to sit in Row 2.
- When to book: At the earliest, book a week out at noon PST. Although, it appears that for a good chunk of classes, you can use ClassPass to book the day of.
- Generally speaking, the software will assign you a spot. But if you are not advanced, such as myself, I encourage you to email them and ask them to remove you from the front row if you are not comfortable setting the cadence for the riders behind you. If possible, they will move you around.
- When to book: At the earliest, 9pm PST the night before
Parking: Street (metered – I use the PayByPhone app); or discounted rates at Embarcadero Center as they DO validate. Tip: look at their FAQ here (Bullet Point 8). I happened to take class after 5pm, so they can validate up to four hours at that point (same on weekends!!!)
Public Transit: I’m not familiar with the bus lines in San Francisco, but given it’s proximity to downtown, there are plenty of ways to get to Wheel House via public transit, including Bart.
Etiquette: This is something that I’ve been thinking about writing about, but I really do like how they set expectations here. I especially love Bullet Point 4. Deodorant IS a requirement! Let me tell you why this is my fave. As someone petite, next to most people, I am either at or just below arm pit height. And the air does not smell as fresh down here, especially at studios, I’m afraid. =/ Not pleasant at all. When given a choice, I choose to breathe. I wish other studios were more adamant about this requirement. LOL
Amenities: Ok, so their website is actually pretty thorough and they showcase their showers and fancy Malin + Goetz products. But just so you know, they do have the following:
- Locker room with a few restrooms and a few showers
- I believe there are three showers, all of which are fully equipped with shower products
- Locker room has a vanity area equipped with hair dryers, q-tips, hair ties, bobby pins, floss picks and a few electrical outlets
- If there is no room in the vanity area, once fully clothed, I actually just kneel down near the entrance as there is a big mirror that I can use for makeup application. I then move over to the vanity once I need a hair dryer or if I need to plug in my mini flat iron.
- Water Fountains (both average and petite height!!! LOL)
- Digilock Lockers (both in the lobby and and inside the locker rooms) – Code to lock and unlock is “C’ + Your own 4 digit combo + the key sign
- Retail – great in case you forget to pack a shirt or pants because we all have those days; this includes Malin + Goetz products as well
- Towels – I also like that they wash and dry their towels in-house, which means, I might be lucky enough to grab a warm towel just before I shower.
- Snacks! I’m serious! It may vary, but I have seen fruits (like dates, bananas, and apples) and trail mix or maybe pretzels, something small to nibble on pre- or post-workout. I think this is quite generous! And it makes me look forward to take a class at the studio.
They do not, however, have the following:
- Childcare (I felt the need to write that as they posted it online.)