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When you look at the strength and bond of our community, it’s hard to believe that we opened our doors just 3 years ago.

For many of us, it feels like we’ve been friends for a lifetime. In light of us hitting this milestone, we thought we’d give a little glimpse into our roots – how RIDE was born, what we’re proud of and where we’re going.

RIDE evolved from a love they shared for spinning in New York, where they met. They both ended up heading to the West Coast and reconnected back in Vancouver. “JJ was a regular client at my classes and we both kept saying to each other how we missed the New York spin vibe. We had always talked about what we wished VANCOUVER had for the spin scene – and one day decided to create it!” says Ashley.

Ashley and JJ’s vision went beyond that of your standard spin class; they wanted to create something unique that encompassed everything they loved in NYC with their own flare. “We wanted to create a studio the was clean and crisp but had a hard, dark gritty edge at the same time.” When the studio first opened, Ashley was the resident instructor-come-Studio Manager-come-General Manager-come Head of Instructor Training. To say it was a crazy time is a gross understatement, but Ashley was fuelled by the excitement of bringing a new concept that Vancouver had never experienced – and boy did they love it.

As the studio grew, Ashley continued to focus on overseeing the customer experience and RIDE instructors, while JJ focused on merchandise, brand and marketing. They also brought on Moe who takes care of the “behind the scenes” (re: the financials guy). Three years later, the team is as strong as ever. “We really compliment one another. Where one of us lacks the other one thrives.”

As spinning has increased in popularity over the past few years, the RIDE experience remains unique. We asked Ashley to give RIDE 3 personality traits: “Sweaty, sexy and tough – but like, badass confident woman tough, leaning back on the hood of her muscle car waiting for her partner to come back with the groceries tough.” Translation: It’s not your average ride. At RIDE, it’s about being motivational but not preachy; energetic but never too peppy. You won’t find any “dance party” with disco balls or gimmicks here (though we do love our candles). “RIDE is so much more than just a workout. It’s place to come and just forget about everything outside of the spin room doors for 50 minutes.”

We asked Ashley to share her top 3 memories since opening RIDE’s doors – she responded in a heartbeat. “lululemon SEAWHEEZE 2016, RIDE VS ONE VANCOUVER ART gallery charity RIDE and creating the UNDRGRND SPACES are all standout memories for me.” The one thing they all have in common? Community – bringing our tribe together, whether it be to celebrate fitness, raise money for a cause or bringing the RIDE experience to new audiences.

Though the RIDE team makes it look easy, opening up a studio from scratch is no simple feat. “Finding a space when you’re on a startup budget is probably one of the biggest challenges, because you want to be centrally located but with that comes higher rent. Also, finding a space where you’re dealing with our loud sound system and subwoofers!”

The RIDE community is bonded yet welcoming, and the RIDES are fun yet kickass. “I just want everyone who walks into the studio to feel like family. I want the rider to feel accomplished, I want them to feel personal growth mentally, emotionally and physically. I want their experience in that room to be extraordinary, I want it to be challenging, sweaty and I want everyone working together and growing together. That’s community to me.”

Ask any RIDE regular and they’ll attest that RIDE has become somewhat of a church – a place for people to come together, ride in unison, get lost in the music and come out feeling rejuvenated.

When we talk about RIDE’s evolution since day one, Ashley notes that there has been significant growth coupled with an enormous learning experience. “At the beginning of our Hamilton location, everyone was new to this style of riding. So there has been so much growth and evolution in teaching style. Each year and every studio that opens we get stronger and more knowledgeable about what the brand is and where we want to see it go. It has definitely been a challenge sometimes, but the challenge is what makes it exciting.”

The RIDE experience is 100% dependent on the instructors, a talented roster that Ashley has dedicated a lot of time with. So what does it take to be a RIDE instructor? “A huge Personality! Great taste in music and a lot of patience to research. A RIDE instructor has to have no SHAME and be the biggest standout in a ROOM of 56 people. They need to be captivating, unique, and the strongest rider in the room. A RIDE instructor is a leader there to inspire riders – they should be so captivating that they make you forget you are even working out. Our instructors don’t let you settle, they are there to push you and motivate you through. We want you to leave feeling stronger, both on the bike and in life.”

With three locations across Lonsdale and Yaletown in Vancouver and Ossington in Toronto, we thought we’d ask Ashley for some of her go-to places to grab eats or coffee in the community. “ At Lonsdale, Glory Juice, Buddahfull, Ernest Ice Cream and Lift for breakfast…at Hamilton – Field and Social, Tacofino, Body Energy Club, and JJ Bean for coffee…and at Ossington, The Grow Op, La Cubana for sandwiches, Crafted Coffee, and Pho at Tien THan!”

It’s inspiring to see how Ashley and JJ took their passion and turned it into a full-time gig. As an Entrepreneur, we asked Ashley to share advice based on her experience for those looking to turn their side-hustle into a business. “Find someone to help and support you. As I said, the best part about the partnership between JJ, Moe and myself is that we all complement one another. Where one of us maybe is not so strong in an area the other one makes up for it. Also – don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

And finally, we asked where Ashley might see RIDE in 5 years – and we were stoked by her response. “We would love to open across Canada and eventually see 12-15 studios!”