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Pop-Up Forest Hills Cycling Studio Gets Bikers Into Gear With Storytelling

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 18, 2013 7:58am

QUEENS — A Forest Hills cycling studio owned by a company that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy  is putting a spin on fitness — offers riders imaginery escapes through storytelling.

Suncycle Studios opened its new location in a small space in an alley, called the Mini Mall, along 71st/Continental Avenue, between Queens Boulevard and Austin Street.

Its instructors, the studio said, specialize in telling stories, allowing people to imagine that they are riding through mountains and desserts, fleeing from cartoon character like Wile E. Coyote pushing a rock from a cliff, or trying to make a red light on Queens Boulevard, said Kenny Pena, one of the owners.

“You escape the rainy day or the heat wave that’s going on outside,” Pena said. “You just forget.”

The new pop-up-style studio has no showers and no locker rooms, and fits about 25 bikes.

Pena said the small space provides intimacy, which is a necessary part of the experience.

“Cycling is meant to be kind of a pack ride,” he said. “You ride together as a team, and you are sharing the same feeling of climbing the hill, jumping over hurdles or whatever is the voyage the instructor takes you on.”

The studio offers spin-fusion style, combining spinning with some body sculpting, Pena added.

Suncycle has another, bigger location in the Rockaways that was hit hard during Hurricane Sandy.

“After Hurricane Sandy hit, we turned the original studio into a relief place where we kept Pampers, clothes and where we cooked food for people,” Pena explained.

The studio resumed its classes in December, giving out free memberships to local residents who could not afford it, Pena said. It was running on generators for months, and got back its electricity only about three weeks ago, according to Pena.

Classes at the Rockaway location, Pena said, include elements of kickboxing, boot camp and beach workouts.

Because of its limited space, the Forest Hills location will have fewer options at first, but the owners said they have plans to expand.

Suncycle Studios is located at 5 71st/Continental Avenue. A single walk-in class is $25. 30-day unlimited packages cost $150. Classes are about 45-55 minutes long.