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THE COMMUNITY | Brad & Melissa, Toronto

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Meet RIDE Ossington power couple Bradley Hammond and Melissa Di Costanzo. You can always count on them to bring the heat to Dani and Cat’s classes, and their warmth and love of community is felt and appreciated by the RIDE staff and Instructors. It’s riders like Brad and Melissa that have helped build and strengthen Ossington’s tight-knit, supportive community – grateful for you, B & M!

What do you do for your 9-5?

M: Communications/PR.
B: Senior Communications Manager at The Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

If your bestie were to describe you in three words, what would they be?

M: Quirky, independent, curious.
B: Loud, quick, fun.

How long have you been coming to RIDE?

M: About seven months.
B: Same.

What motivates you to get your ass to class?

M: The playlists, the Instructors and the community – and the post-spin endorphins.
B: The music, friends and Melissa.

How has RIDE impacted your life?

M: It’s been fun getting to connect with people plugged into the fitness community and comparing common goals and drivers. Everyone’s experience is so unique, and everyone wants to share their tips and tricks. And ultimately, everyone wants to help you succeed and achieve.
B: RIDE is a lot of fun and provides an experience I want to go back to again and again. RIDE is one of the reasons why I’m now in the best shape of my life and the motivation to keep coming back comes from Melissa and all the other riders.

Outside of your 9-5 – tell us about all the badass things you’re up to

M: Travelling, yoga, reading, or eating at any of Toronto’s amazing restaurants.
B: I love to consume pop culture: music, comics, books, video games and serialized television are all hobbies I enjoy. Yoga and travelling are two big passions outside of RIDE. Currently planning our honeymoon together, and really looking forward to that as our next big adventure.

In your opinion, what makes RIDE’s community so unique?

M: Great people either instructing or at the front desk, and everyone’s excitement at wanting to help you reach your full potential.
B: Everyone at RIDE, front desk staff, Instructors and other riders are all friendly, welcoming and committed to a good time and great sweat. It’s a wonderful environment to come back to again and again.

Favourite Instructor and why?

M: It’s a tie between Dani and Cat. Both are lovely, have great prompts and amazing playlists.
B: Same.

Best RIDE memory?

M: Any time I’ve been with friends or Brad!
B: May was a busy month for me at RIDE. I completed the challenge, and Melissa was in a busy work period, so we were doing more 6 and 7AM classes together. Good memories.

What other workouts do you do outside of RIDE?

M: Yoga and Pilates
B: Love practicing yoga at Union Yoga and Wellness. The studio is super welcoming and features some fantastic Instructors.

Song you’ve got on repeat?

M: Halls of Sarah – Neko Case
B: Spaceship – Galantis

If you could brunch with any male/lady boss (past or present), who would it be?

M: Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones and Butter and New York City chef/restaurateur. It’s a rich read. Through her book, she forced me to confront my own historical culinary roots. It helped me connect with my grandmother through her cooking, shortly before she passed away.
B: Probably way too cliche, but I would love to have dinner with the Obamas. It would be fascinating to see firsthand the contrast with the current leadership in the United States.

If you were to give a s/o to a local entrepreneur, who would it be?

M: Province Apothecary, MICHI, Saul’s Beauty Shop, any of the amazing restaurateurs we’ve been lucky enough to encounter lately!
B: The North Standard Trading Post is a personal favourite for clothing, as well as Union Yoga and Wellness on Bloor, The Ace restaurant in Roncesvalles and Bellwoods Brewery on Ossington.

Describe your ideal Saturday in the city.

M: Coffee at Jimmy’s, RIDE with friends, brunch at Union and a trip to the beach (Hanlan’s or Cherry).
B: Cooking breakfast at home with Melissa, RIDE, second breakfast with friends and a patio with cold beer.

Who motivates you?

M: Brad and any of the amazing female leaders I’ve been lucky to encounter professionally.
B: Melissa motivates me a tremendous amount – her drive is contagious!

Fave quote or words to live by?

M: “You can’t change the wind, but you can change the sails.”
B: “Do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Last book you read was….

M: Motherhood, by Sheila Heti
B: Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe

What does RIDE mean to you?

M: I really connected with RIDE during a really intense work period. RIDE became something to look forward to, and a great method to relieve stress. It began to push me to explore other complimentary exercise classes, and ultimately served as a launchpad for me to continue to expand my health and wellness journey.
B: There is something unique about the relationship between the community and the personnel at RIDE. During class, I feel plugged in to the people around me, and take inspiration from the effort of others. That said, when the lights are off, the anonymity of pushing against the beat and letting the music drive you is incredibly freeing. Getting these experiences in an awesome space with great people is what makes RIDE unique.