Bicyclist Iris Kotmel turned a hobby into a new business venture for herself and her clients.
Kotmel recently opened CycleLuv in the Virginia Village shopping center just outside of downtown Leesburg.
Cycling studios have seen increased popularity and are doing well in places like Washington, D.C., New York City and in California. The fitness trend has been doing so well, Kotmel was surprised to find out Loudoun County didn’t have a cycling studio. The closest one is in Arlington.
Kotmel has been cycling since she was a teen. About 10 years ago she started taking indoor cycling classes and found it was something she really enjoyed.
After moving to Leesburg, Kotmel was told she had the personality to be an instructor, which motivated her to get her spinning certification.
She worked as an instructor at Gold’s Gym before it shut down, as well as Fitness First, Ida Lee Recreation Center and most recently at LA Fitness.
Opening her own studio was always a dream. Kotmel is now a Level 3 instructor, which is the highest level one can reach before becoming a master instructor, who teaches the instructor.
Kotmel developed quite a following while at LA Fitness and wanted to provide her loyal customers with her own studio, but it was difficult to find a property owner willing to lease her space.
“It was really hard to find a landlord who would give me a shot since I wasn’t an established business. The only thing I had going for me was I had an established loyal clientele without having my own business,” Kotmel said. “I definitely wanted to stay in Leesburg because I love it here.”
One of Kotmel’s customers knew the landlord at Virginia Village who was willing to give the new shop a shot.
Kotmel offers between two and four classes daily with four classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and two classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In total, Kotmel employs four instructors that are all certified indoor cycling and group fitness instructors. She hopes to increase her number of instructors when the business is able to expand the number of classes it offers.
“I hand picked each of my instructors. I really want those people who understand our philosophy for giving a very effective workout to all levels from beginner to advanced in ever class,” Kotmel said. “I also wanted people who have the personality to make it fun, because an hour in indoor cycling when the instructor is not good feels like an eternity. When the instructor is good it is just a really good, motivating hour.”
Additionally, all staff members are certified in CPR and are also AED certified.
With 1,000 square feet, Kotmel is able to have 24 bikes available for her classes.
CycleLuv owns some state-of-the-art technology called the Qnitor Cardio Training System, which Kotmel is proud to have.
“The iQnitor system is really cool because everybody in the class wears a heart rate monitor and there is a screen that shows what percentage of max you’re on,” Kotmel said. “Everybody can see everyone’s information, but customers use a nickname so you cannot be identified. At the end of the class, the system emails you everything you’ve done during the class like total calories burned or improvement from your last system. It really sets us apart from others.”
The system allows cyclists to set goals for themselves and see where they are in meeting those goals.
During her grand opening weekend in which she was offering free classes, Kotmel got an overwhelming response from the community.
“I was so humbled and a lot of people came in to support us from everywhere,” Kotmel said. “The Town of Leesburg brought a bunch of people and they are all so supportive of small businesses and it has been amazing.
“People have been sending emails and calling all day every day saying how excited they are for the studio to open,” Kotmel said. “We are bringing a very unique experience to fitness.”
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