Kinetic Cycling: A Celebration on Wheels

An indoor-cycling studio in L.A. that provides a good time and a great workout


“The answer is: ‘Yes, you can.’

The question is: ‘Will you?’”

I had a feeling I was going to like Kinetic Cycling in Brentwood, CA, when I saw that posting on its website. The message struck a chord with me, partly because my personal mantra has always been “Because I can!” while striving to tackle tough challenges in cycling classes. It also resonated with me because I believe most people are stronger and more capable when it comes to their fitness potential than they think they are.

When I took a Saturday morning class at the studio in October 2014, the experience lived up to its credo of achieving “inspiration through perspiration.” During the 60-minute class, which was taught by the friendly, charming John Scarangello, who opened the studio in 2009, there was a vibe of celebration and positivity. The 53-bike room was nearly packed with riders, ranging from their 20s to their 70s, who all came to get their groove on in a hardcore workout.

The studio has Keiser M3 bikes, which rely on a rear-wheel drive to provide a smooth, quiet, efficient ride; a small computer on the handlebars tracks the gear level, RPMs, watts, calories burned, distance, and more 411. Kinetic Cycling has a state-of-the-art audio and visual system and strategically placed, rotating colored lights that give the industrial looking space a party ambience. (Riders were even encouraged to wave their towels in the air and whoop it up at times.)

During the class, we did more jumps and speed surges than I could tally while keeping the resistance between gears 11 and 18 (on the Keiser bikes, 11 is essentially a flat road and 18 is equivalent to a small hill; there are 24 gears total). Throughout the class, Scarangello, a personal trainer and part-time TV actor, would tell us what gear to be in, then he’d push us to exert different levels of effort rather than focusing on the RPMs on the bike.

The approach was really about tuning into our bodies and what they’re capable of performing.

His focus on staying within such a narrow range of gears was unlike any other cycling class I’ve taken. When I later asked Scarangello about this, he said, “Think about jazz: There are seven notes but an infinite amount of possibilities within those seven notes.” By staying within a seven-gear range, he feels like he’s able to create a natural flow between the movements on the bike and encourage people to change their pace based on the emotion of the music or how they’re feeling. “It’s about trying to invoke a euphoric feeling to push performance,” explained Scarangello, who personally trains his instructors and plans to open three more studios in 2015.

From beginning to end, Scarangello kept the collective energy and can-do spirit revving high with his words of encouragement and motivating music. I must admit: It was impossible not to ride hard, even within the narrow gear range. While there were times when I pushed my effort to the limit (and two particular moments when I was working so hard that I felt mildly ill), I emerged from the experience drenched in sweat and feeling as though I were floating on air in mind, body, and spirit.

It was quite a high!

Scarangello’s idea of creating inspiration through perspiration suddenly made sense to me. “It’s not just a workout,” he later told me. “The fitness aspect leads to self-empowerment in general. Being fit and healthy can make you fit and happy.” That's a truism to remember.

What you need to know: Bring your own towel and water. Clip-in shoes are provided at no charge. There isn’t a locker room or a place to store your stuff (but there is a bathroom down the hall) so travel lightly. Single classes are $19; the rate goes down if you buy packages of multiple classes.

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