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A Journey Under The Stars

A conversation with Jenna Vinyard, owner of StarCycle in Des Peres.

Describe the StarCycle experience.

We ride in the dark. The instructor is illuminated by natural candlelight, and, except for music, there is no technology. The goal is for riders to let go and lose themselves in the music. We ride to the beat of the music and each rider creates their own mind-body connection. Our classes are so much more than the amount of calories burned or a number on a screen. It's very rejuvenating when we turn the lights on at the end of class. Riders feel like they've been on a 45-minute journey in the dark.

Do you have to be an experienced cycler to ride here?

StarCycle is for anybody and any body regardless of experience or injury. It goes against our brand to offer beginner, intermediate or advanced classes. Our instructors provide modifications because we know that every day will feel different. Some days simply showing up is the hardest part. It's a safe place to work at your own pace in a supportive studio.

People come here for the experience. We work hard to create a sense of community. Friendships are formed here. Parents become friends because their kids play together in our childcare. Young people go out for coffee with retirees in their class. Road bikers build friendships with people who have never cycled before. We have eight instructors with a wide range of personalities and class times, so there is something for everyone, for our members to people booking private classes for parties or corporate team-building events.

Do your members have similar fitness goals?

People sign up for our spin classes to improve some part of their physical health. But we find as time goes on that this indoor cycling experience becomes more about mental health. Our classes allow you to check in with yourself and other community members. People will attend a 6:00 am class on Monday to celebrate a member hitting their 50th ride. Our studio has one of the highest retention rates because of how supportive everyone is here. We are all on this journey together.

How did your journey with StarCycle start?

I'm from Oregon, where StarCyle first started. I was a junior in high school when I rode for the first time in 2014. I was a competitive dancer and had never taken a spin class. I fell in love with music and how empowered the instructors made me feel. From that moment, I felt like StarCycle was a part of me. I began working for StarCycle in college, starting in childcare and working my way up to the front desk, instructor, and director of training. Taking that leap into owning my studio felt like the next natural progression.

What brought you to St. Louis?

My husband Connor was accepted into Washington University's med school. We moved here last year, and I knew this would be the perfect location for the studio. I love this location. The Gershman Commercial Group does a great job of supporting women-owned businesses, and I liked that all of the other businesses in the Colonnade Center in Des Peres are also new. We all help each other.

What is the biggest thing you've learned since opening your studio in July?

When you own your own business, everything becomes meaningful. Anytime someone walks into the studio, it's important. When someone makes any purchase from our boutique, it's important. Celebrating our members' accomplishments is important. The founders of StarCycle came up with the name because stars illuminate and gravitate; I want everyone who walks through the door to feel that.

People sign up for our spin classes to improve some part of their physical health. But we find as time goes on that this indoor cycling experience becomes more about mental health.

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