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RIDE OR DIE | Winter Tekenos-Levy, RIDE Instructor

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Meet Winter – Ossington Instructor and resident Queen of Hip-hop. On and off the bike, Winter is a true artist – and whether she’s leading you through fast-legs or a slow climb, it shows. Known for famously incorporating the “Free Willy song” into her playlist, she offers a fun, chill yet motivating RIDE experience that guarantees towels up.

Where did you grow up?

Kingston, Ontario! It’s a good place go sailing if you’re into that kind of thing. If not, it has a University and a bunch of old prisons that you can tour. Is this a paid ad by the township of Kingston? No, it’s just a nice place to grow up, okay!

Can you remember your first RIDE class? How long did it take until you realized you wanted to become an instructor?

My first RIDE was my audition here in Toronto. I’d never experienced a spin class like that before and I remember thinking, “Wait… that was actually really fun? Also, am I dead?” I definitely had mascara dripping down my face, which funnily enough has now become my signature look 😉

During one particularly grueling training session, Ashley played Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” which has this uplifting gospel chorus part at the end and it gave us the simultaneous strength and bliss we needed to power through. I knew I would love instructing if it meant sharing that sweet MJ euphoria.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Fun, fast, hype and a bit nuts? That’s how I would describe it. Rebecca agreed with that description but added that I’m “authentic and comfortable being myself.”

Best part of being an instructor is…

Getting to create and share a unique experience with riders every class. We might all be on different paths: for some, it’s therapeutic, for some it’s a big ol party, but we all get there together in the end. I love being able to facilitate and be a part of that magical 50-minute journey.

Track you’ve had on repeat.

Childish Gabino’s “This Is America” is a masterpiece and I can’t stop playing it.

AM or PM rides?

I was always a PM person until recently…my Sat 8:30AM is a MAJOR vibé.

Favourite way to sweat outside of RIDE?

Strength training and bootcamp workouts that are complementary to RIDE, and also, dancing, duh.

How has becoming a RIDE instructor changed you?

It’s changed me in many ways, but some of the best are:

It’s made me appreciate my body. I’m stronger than I thought.

It’s made me enjoy working out as a daily activity, not as a chore, but as something that’s fun and good for my brain as much as my body.

No matter where I am if I hear a good song, I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to Shazam & count the beats on my hand… it’s a really cute look.

Go-to quote or words to live by?

Poop-diddy, whoop-scoop. Poop, poop. — Kanye West

Who motivates you?

My wonderful friend and RIDE client, Erin Andrews. She’s a constant reminder that you can accomplish anything if you do it with courage and compassion. And she has incredible hair. God bless.

Favourite book?

The most important book I read this year is “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. If you are a human, you should probably read it.

What’s your #1 life hack?

Instead of coffee, wake up and grab your loved ones and give them a lil smooch and a big hug. Then have your coffee. This is a life hack, right?

Where can we find you on a Saturday afternoon in the city?

Probably still having brunch post-RIDE at Cafe Neon. Shout out to Cafe Neon for feeding me every Saturday!

Any hidden or not so hidden talents?

I’m secretly very good at water skiing. I’m also a comedy writer for television which you can verify quite easily, and therefore is my not-so-hidden talent.

If you could brunch with any person (past or present), who would it be and why?

Beyoncé. We’d order Shakshuka and sip on mimosas, and we’d talk about the evolution of her music, her latest foray into rap, and feminism n stuff!

Best memory since you joined RIDE?

When the studio had just opened, Rebecca and I co-taught a class. It wasn’t our best, our music was too loud, we were too loud. But we were so excited about our playlist, we couldn’t contain our energy, and we went absolutely HAM. And although we’ve both honed our skills since then, I still try to aim for that level of sheer joy every time I teach. P.S. Rebecca is amazing, go take her class.

#1 piece of advice for someone looking to have a killer RIDE?

Forget about being the best, forget about yourself and embrace riding as one — it’s a unifying, freeing thing to feel connected to people! Also, crank dat tension.

What has you stoked on life right now?

My upcoming trip to Italy!! Sorry for bragging but you asked.

What does RIDE mean to you?

It’s hard to articulate because RIDE is such an integral part of my life now, it’s more than a commitment to health, it’s a place where I come to feel good, to be challenged and inspired. I echo many of our clients and staff when I say this: RIDE is home.

You can find Winter each week on the Ossington Schedule.