It’s been a bumpy ride for Marc Caputo, co-owner of ZenGo, Bethesda’s new boutique cycling studio that promises to change your mind, your body and your life.
If the concept sounds familiar, that’s because in January Caputo helped launch Velovoom, a boutique cycling studio in Bethesda with similarly transformative goals. And in March, it closed. “It was a partnership that just didn’t work out,” Caputo says. “I was miserable when it ended, but it never really ended in my mind.” It also never ended in his email inbox, which flooded with requests from students to keep the project going.
So he teamed up with CPA/cycling enthusiast Penny Bortnick and master instructor Melissa Kullen to get back into the saddle. “I needed a place to do what I love to do,” says Kullen, who also taught at Velovoom. That place? It turns out to be at the exact same address.
Although the trio emphasize that ZenGo is an entirely different enterprise with different management, their real estate hunt led them back to a familiar location. The team’s done some sprucing up since Velovoom shuttered, however. The space is now painted in serene purples and grays instead of blaring orange, and boasts a few additional amenities. Showers make it possible for students to swing by before work without worrying about stinking up the office. And a room in the back has been turned into a group exercise studio, which is being used for barre fitness classes.
Ballet-inspired movements, involving tiny tucks and endless pulses that make muscles beg for mercy, pair well with the adrenaline boost of the cycling classes, say students — who’ve started frequently taking the two classes back-to-back. “First, you get sweaty cardio and those endorphins going. Then barre is a nice contrast,” says 45-year-old Elise Museles.
That’s one way to put it. Considering that every ZenGo cycling class doesn’t just wipe out your legs but also involves lifting weights (albeit 1- to 2-pound ones) while pedaling, it’s a punishing combination.
But at a recent barre class, instructor Chauna Bryant kept the groaning at a minimum with chipper directions and a quick pace. Holding the barre, lowering into a squat, popping your heels off the ground and squeezing a ball between your thighs definitely burns, but at least you don’t need to do it for all that long. Students left dripping but beaming.
“As exhausted as they are, they’re getting energy that lasts,” Caputo says. He’s hoping that ZenGo lasts, too.
ZenGo is at 4866 Cordell Ave. in Bethesda. Single classes are $21 (discounted multiclass packages are available). Everybody who signs up at Zengofitness.com gets a free class.