For Krista Chichester, creating her first cycle studio was almost as easy as learning to ride a bike. For the past 14 years, Chichester has been a cycling instructor at Sport and Health, the White House Athletics Center and Washington Golf, but at the beginning of June, she opened her own studio, Cycle Chi, in Vienna.
Chichester’s regular clients approached her with the idea, and she agreed. The cycling instructor could see that big gyms couldn’t prioritize spin classes amid all the options on offer. As a result, classes became overcrowded, and their routines stagnated.
“I decided to do my own thing just because it’s something that I absolutely love to do, and there was a need,” Chichester says. “I really wanted a place where I could build on positive energy.”
The search for a studio followed soon thereafter. The space, which was formerly a home decor store, already had the black ceiling and gray walls she wanted. It’s also in a great location, nestled between other fitness studios and positioned along the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park bike path.
Although cycling is growing in popularity in the D.C. area, the market in Vienna was wide open for Chichester. The closest boutique-style cycling studio is in Merrifield.
“I wanted something that was really local and community-minded,” she says. “Vienna is special in that it’s a big small town. And even though we might not get McLean people or Arlington people, that’s okay. I’m not here to conquer the world; I just want my own little happy cycle studio.”
The clients at Cycle Chi range in both age and fitness level.
“I wanted the studio to be friendly and not intimidating,” Chichester says. “[At] a lot of cycle studios, you feel like you have to get in shape before you go, which is not what we’re about. We encourage everybody.”
Cycling is trendy right now, Chichester says, because you can ride regardless of the weather, you burn a ton of calories, and you don’t have to be in the best shape to do it.
“Also there’s a great energy with group cycle,” she adds. “You leave feeling like you’re a part of something.”
Cycle Chi has Shwinn Carbon Blue bikes that have power monitors capable of keeping track of your workout, and at the end of class, it automatically emails you the data and logs it on your Cycle Chi account. During class, a leader board takes the data and compares your workout to other riders’ workouts.
Chichester is proud of what her studio has already accomplished within its first two months, but she doesn’t see herself expanding in the future.
“I want to stay small,” she says. “My dream is not to franchise out or become the next Soul Cycle. I just want my studio to be kind of like the Cheers of spinning—where everyone knows your name.”