By Léo Azambuja
How about going for a bike ride in the heart of Lihu‘e, riding to pumping music, colorful disco lights and air-conditioned, alongside a competitive, yet friendly team? And you can do it before work, during lunch, after work, and even on your day off.
“It’s not your average cycling class,” said Autumn Brodigan, owner and instructor at Island RIDE, the island’s only dedicated indoor cycling studio. “It’s more of an experience. I like to joke and call it extertainment, because when you’re in there, we’ve got the extra lights, and it’s dark, and we have videos and the music.”
Autumn and her husband, Brodi Brodigan, opened Island RIDE last year. Both teach at the studio — along with a half-dozen other certified instructors — regardless of how much their full-time jobs take a toll on them. In the real world, Autumn is an aviation insurance agent and Brodi is a helicopter pilot.
“We’re exhausted when we get here, but the moment we start pedaling, the endorphins kick in and we’re so pumped,” Brodi said.
The workout at Island RIDE is for everyone, whether you are an accomplished triathlete or an absolute beginner. New members build an online profile, which goes into a global system. In their initial ride, the system takes that information and uses it to tailor the rider’s bikes to their ability. Every time the riders take a class, their information is uploaded into the bike they use.
“You can be a professional athlete, I’m a beginner, and we can take the exact same class, and we’ll feel exactly the same thing,” said Brodi, adding if they were to switch bikes during a class, their experience would be completely different.
The moment the class is over, the instructor sends the data from all riders to the online system, where the riders can access their history, track their improvement, and even compare their stats with other riders around the world. Everyone who rides has a profile; every ride is calculated.
“We literally can watch statistics that are happening around the world, and our club members can go after those challenges; and they do,” Brodi said.
All this technology is helpful and encouraging, but the class experience is what really makes the difference at Island RIDE.
Before classes, riders can pick their bikes from their smartphones or computers. The 45-minute classes are inside a room with black walls and fully acclimatized with air-conditioned. Up to 14 riders can take the same class, with the instructor’s bike facing them. As the class starts, the music pumps loudly, and the disco lights immediately react and start pulsating. Facing the riders, a large-screen TV tells each rider their performance, while playing a video clip. Meanwhile, the instructor communicates with the riders through a microphone, giving lots of positive reinforcement.
“It gets loud in there, it is a nightclub,” Brodi said.
Is the music too loud? Island RIDE offers free earplugs. Forgot your hair tie? No worries, they got your back, actually your hair, with complimentary hair ties. But the coolest thing, literally, are the scent-infused chilled towels. You can go right back to work smelling better than before class.
“We are trying to create a first-class experience,” Autumn said.
The elegance of Island RIDE is deceiving. The studio is so clean, modern and neatly designed that it looks like a branch of an upscale fitness corporation, which is far from the truth. “We’re not a franchise, it’s all us,” Brodi said.
A mountain-bike enthusiast, Autumn has also loved indoor cycling for quite some time. Brodi was also into biking, but his passion was riding on the road. So when Autumn decided to open an indoor cycling studio here, she told her husband, “guess what, you’re going to be an instructor, and you’re going to love it.” Brodi quickly repeated his last words as a bachelor, “I do.”
“Basically, I opened (Island RIDE) because I wanted to have a place to hang out and ride with other people,” Autumn said. Apparently, she got a lot more than what she asked for. She and Brodi say the members at Island Ride have become their family.
Island RIDE is open seven days a week, with a varied schedule. The studio is at 4371 Rice St. in Lihu‘e, but the entrance is in the backstreet, on Ewalu Street. Visit www.islandridekauai.com for the schedule and more information. You can also book a class, reserve a seat and pay online.