A bicycle built for you, too: Wired Cycling in Eckington

Leticia Long, left, doesn’t just sit back. While instructing, she hops on and off her bike to take advantage of her studio’s tech. (Teddy Wolff/For Express)
Leticia Long, left, doesn’t just sit back. While instructing, she hops on and off her bike to take advantage of her studio’s tech. (Teddy Wolff/For Express)

Wired Cycling owner Leticia Long believes in numbers. That’s why anyone who rides one of the 21 bikes at her new cycling studio — the first in D.C.’s Eckington neighborhood — faces two screens crawling with class statistics. The harder students pedal, the more power they produce and the higher they appear in the rankings. The chance anyone will slack off in this situation? Approximately zero percent.

“Busy people who only have an hour, they need to be held accountable,” says Long, whose goal is to maximize her students’ abilities and time.

When she has them sprint or climb, “it’s not because the music tells me to do it, or because it’s cute,” she says. It’s because it’s all part of a plan.

Long has taken a similarly deliberate approach to the creation of Wired. Because she’s been teaching indoor cycling around the District for two decades, she knew her regulars would show up wherever she set up shop. So the goal became pinpointing a location that could serve the surrounding community.

When her daughter suggested this building, Long did exactly what you’d expect: She looked into the numbers. But she wasn’t focused on economic details as much as epidemiological ones. Noting the high rates of heart disease and diabetes in Ward 5, Long realized this was a neighborhood that could use her help.

To make sure no one felt shut out, Long adjusted her prices accordingly. A single class at Wired is $15, and students pay less with multiple-class passes. For everyone, the first class is free. And for police and educators that live nearby, there’s an additional discount.

“I want to be affordable to people who don’t have a gym budget,” Long says.

She also wants to appeal to people who don’t have a regular workout routine. One of the ways Wired stands out, Long says, is that she doesn’t have the typical fitness industry look.

“I’m 53, and I’m a person of color,” she says. “And I’ve been careful to build a diverse roster of instructors.”

She has been just as thoughtful about the class schedule. Long teaches “Square One” to give beginners an introduction to everything they need to know about indoor cycling, and is extra welcoming to “Senior Fitizens,” who can take classes exclusively for students 50 and older.

This vibe has made Rene Redwood comfortable at any Wired class. That’s a major deal to the 57-year-old Capitol Hill resident, who is just getting back into exercise after a three-year break — due to leg and foot surgery, as well as heart issues.

“It’s so exciting I can actually come here and not feel shame,” Redwood says. “At other gyms, it’s stressful because I’m deconditioned.”

Redwood’s physician visited Wired and gave her the OK to attend classes as long as she wears a heart rate monitor (which Long constantly reminds her to check). Another perk of the technology is that Redwood can plug a flash drive into her bike to record workouts, and then hand that over to her doctor.

If students don’t have underlying health problems when they come in for class, Long is focused on making sure that doesn’t change. The FreeMotion bikes she opted for allow for lots of adjustments, so they can fit a wide range of bodies. When someone needs help figuring out the correct settings, Long will whip out a ruler to measure the angle of his or her knee bend.

“I’m a stickler for the little details,” Long says.

That attitude extends to the workout, which is sure to be sweaty but smart.

“If I say, ‘Let’s get up,’ but don’t give you time to set it up, you’ll do it wrong,” Long says. So she explains everything she wants students to do in detail — using the power meters on the bikes, their rate of perceived exertion, their pedal strokes. She lets them know when to push and when to conserve their energy.

The end result? The kind of numbers that any student can be proud of.

Details: Wired Cycling (2028 Fourth St. NE, 202-400-1340, wiredcycling.com) offers a wide array of classes, including “Serious Sunday” and “Party ’Til You Drop.” The studio provides towels, offers access to two bathrooms (including one with a shower), and has cubbies to store stuff during classes.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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