Cycling at the Shore: A Visit to Revel Ride in Avalon, NJ
As the bass of Diddy’s “Shake Your Tail Feather” faded into the epic “Thunder!” intro of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” I knew I’d struck cycling gold at Revel Ride in Avalon, NJ.
More specifically, I’d struck gold in Sheila’s Revel in the Power class, as she was the genius behind the playlist I was digging so much.
Recently, my boyfriend, Jamie, and I were in Avalon (a little slice of beach town heaven) visiting his family for a week. His sister-in-law, Jodi, came across the Revel location in Philadelphia and had started taking classes in Avalon whenever she and her family were visiting.
And one of the reasons why I love Jodi so much is that she loves her workouts just as much as I do — even when we’re on vacation! So, we agreed to try one of the Revel in the Power classes together. (The studio also offers a rhythm-based ride and a Revel in the Ride format that is meant to appeal to people of all cycling levels.)
Jodi’s house is within a five-minute walk of the studio, so we were able to leave about 10 minutes before the 8:30 a.m. Tuesday class and have a few minutes to put on shoes, set up the bike, and get clipped in. This convenience was a major pro for me, given you don’t want to waste a lot of time getting to and from a workout when you’re supposed to be relaxing on vacation.
From the moment I walked into Revel, I felt at home. I signed up for the class online, so a pair of cycling shoes were waiting for me in a cubby marked with my bike number. (And the cold towels waiting for you post-class are also a nice touch.) The front desk staff was friendly. And although I didn’t really need help with bike set-up, as I was familiar with the bike, I noticed the staff offering to help others in the cycling studio.
Before we got started, Sheila did a good job of explaining how the class would go and how to use the monitors on the bike to gauge progress. The Power format is about pushing past your comfort zone when it comes to resistance, RPMs, and Watts.
And when it comes to resistance, in addition to the traditional knob that you turn to add and subtract it, there was also a cool bar that could be moved to add a consistent amount of resistance (to ensure that even if you hadn’t added enough by turning the knob, you’d still be challenged). The bar could be set to the left (no additional resistance), to the middle (medium resistance), and to the right (heavy resistance). I’ve never seen this but wished we had something similar on our bikes at Exhale!
For the next 45 minutes, Sheila coached us through hills, sprints, jumps, and other drills to that killer playlist. In spite of the fact that she had a pretty severe injury to her foot, Sheila didn’t miss a beat — literally. She was energetic and motivating, and her cues were spot on with the beat dropping and moving us along with the music.
This class format closes with a power challenge song, which involved a series of resistance/RPM challenges. I’ve gotten so used to taking and teaching rhythm-based cycling classes that I forgot how good it feels to really push yourself based on the numbers and resistance. But, I have to admit that I basically rode to the rhythm the whole class! (Old habits die hard, right?)
I couldn’t believe my luck. I was already on a blissful vacation at the beach (or the “shore,” which is what locals call it). But, I’d also found a killer and fun workout to do before starting my days of laziness and potato chip-eating by the water. Jodi and I were so pleased that we returned for a class with Sheila later that week — and I was just as impressed the second time around.