There’s a new gym in Soho taking a refreshing approach to the fitness experience. I was invited to take a look around and have since not stopped singing its praises. Here’s a tour from the perspective of a typical cycle commuter.
Leaving your bike safely around London is always a challenge. Therefore, it has always amazed me we don’t see more secure bicycle parking in the city. H2 Bike Run seems to have understood this need and has jumped to provide a brilliant solution.
You enter through the access controlled doors and leave your bike in one of the 250 bicycle parking spots. The area is monitored by CCTV cameras so you know your bike is safe.
A great small addition that shows the thought going into catering for commuters is the lock rack.
Deal with my laundry and repair my bike!
Once inside H2 Bike Run, you can hand in your clothes for the laundry, schedule a Spinning® class, shop for various cycling gear or even book your bike in for repair. It is incredibly convenient to have all these services from one central hub. Saving plenty of time. The prices of bike repairs are reasonable and can be viewed online. As a new member, you also get a free bicycle safety check.
The use of a touch screen computer system that you can log onto also means that during busier hours you should still be able to quickly book any services.
After the reception, you reach the changing rooms and showers. Both have obviously had a lot of thought put into them and it shows. Nice big showers, plenty of room and bright colours are the order of the day. Also, for female commuters, the presence of GHD straighteners is a nice touch.
There is also the option of renting a permanent locker for an additional fee which will no doubt appeal to many who prefer carrying less each day on their bike.
These are the basic services and are absolutely super for any commuters that find themselves working near the gym. However, for those who have loftier fitness ambitions, then the club really does excel in two areas.
Spinning® classes like never before
The first are the Spinning classes. H2 Bike Run have partnered with the official Spinning® studio and work with professionally accredited trainers. For those training for a long ride, wishing to improve their fitness or wanting to lose some weight around a busy schedule then the classes will be of much interest.
While I was there I met with one of the trainers (a person who you wonder if he has a single ounce of fat in his body!). He was very passionate about the training potential of the classes and explained how they work the full body.
Each session commences by asking about any injuries or weak areas people are looking to improve. The session then commences and the visual display systems kicks into play. As an example of the capabilities of the system, I was told that it is possible to show the map of the Tour De France up on the screen and compare the performance with that of the professionals. This definitely adds an interesting extra dimension and throughout the year different rides will be featured. The system can also be setup to project heart rates and other data.
The classes are designed to build all round fitness and the trainers are on hand to answer questions related to your own personal training. It was an impressive setup and it was good to see Spinning® was being taken so seriously.
I had to ask if the sessions were only attended by the more hard-core cyclists amongst us. The trainer explained that there is a really mixed group in there and it is welcoming to everyone.
The gym is also partnered with Lomax to offer elite personal training. Members get free 20 minute sessions with a member of the Lomax team. Physio, podiatry and other forms of sports therapy are also available.
From casual to heading for pro
H2 Bike Run seems perfectly setup for those who simply want somewhere safe to leave their bike, shower facilities and extra services such as bike serving and laundry. For those who want more, the gym also excels at Spinning® classes and personal training.
The big disappointment is perhaps there is only currently one of these gyms available in London. However, the future is looking good. London Wall and Marylebone are just two of the locations that are being researched. In the mean time, H2 Bike Run is always adapting based on member feedback. They told me they wanted to encourage commuters to suggest any services they need.
It’s excellent to see a service such as H2 Bike Run springing up to serve London’s growing cycling community and I thoroughly recommend a visit.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.