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THE COMMUNITY | Martin Lee, Toronto

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Meet Martin – an undeniable force and presence at RIDE in Toronto. Since taking his first class in the summer, he’s been a staple and an immediate addition to our family. From bringing the entire team coffee (on multiple occasions), to helping the staff fold towels before & after class, to making it his personal mission to RIDE every single Instructor’s class in 2019 (even if he has to do three classes in one day to do it), his passion for and commitment to RIDE is inspirational. He’s kind, thoughtful, witty, supportive, inclusive, unapologetic, and arguably RIDE’s number one fan. We truly can’t remember or imagine RIDE Toronto without him!

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

Eccentric – Eccentricity is a core attribute of my existence that seems to predispose me to new challenges, serendipitous experiences, and sometimes crippling predicaments, which I love.

Bold – This pattern of chaos for perpetual action comes from an innate fuel of boldness, which is consistent with being an Aries. With Aries, they are fearless, forever spontaneous, and impossible to predict, but when you gain our loyalty, one thing is certain: we stay. Also, we’ll have your back until the end.

Childish –Childish because “10.5″ isn’t just my shoe size, it is also my mental age.

What motivates you to get your ass to class?

RIDE connects. RIDE can strike a perfect balance between timeless tranquility and unfounded anticipation. You gaze up into the stars, intimidated by its brilliance.. (i.e. Andra can get extra-celestial and show you)

RIDE soothes. RIDE can calm you into a silky-smooth mood so groovy you can pull off an impossible bank heist like Ocean’s Eleven, but all by yourself. Okay which bank are we robbing now? (i.e. Dani boogies down with it beside the bike)

RIDE motivates. RIDE pushes one into activities that causes them discomfort as a springboard to higher psychological peaks. In hindsight, the sky is not the limit and neither is the space, as limits are actually an illusion (i.e. Reilly shows you it’s possible)

RIDE reminisces. RIDE does not care about the latest hype. Some songs stay with us a little longer, speak for us when we can’t, and hold the keys to our hearts (i.e. Taylor isn’t afraid to go there.)

RIDE pushes. RIDE wants to set you on fire, blow up your demons, and shatter all your unresolved insecurities. Trust her. She will shut you up, especially the inner voice that tells you “you can’t.” (i.e. Alex can, and clearly wants to, very unapologetically and THAT’s why we fucking love her)

RIDE parties. RIDE has all your besties in the world in a room full of iced-cold Coronas, fireside conversations, and the hottest dance floor. (i.e. Emily – her parties are the best kind, like ever…and why? Because I feel extremely sad when it is over)

RIDE defibrillates. RIDE can rejuvenate your skin to be softer than a newborn’s buttocks. It might even bring ELVIS back to life from the graves if JG isn’t careful (i.e. Jess: “put 8 turns on, SIT DOWN, and RIDE!”)

RIDE dances. RIDE can paint you a breathless glimpse of the galaxy with nothing but naked movements and primal passion. (i.e. Calida can move the Himalayas with her shoulders)

In addition, what motivates me are instructors at RIDE I don’t get to RIDE with as frequently due to my schedule. I’m dying to experience and pick up new skills from Elizabeth, Cat, Jacob, Rebecca, Winter, Tracy, Lauryn, Chelsea, Danny, Shira, Dylan, Taylin and Patrick.

How has RIDE impacted your life?

With RIDE, it is the opposite of loneliness. There is no word in English that quite adequately captures that feeling.

RIDE gives me a chance to save myself from being myself, which is running 10kms around the city in the dark and racing streetcars along Spadina (trust me, I’m faster).

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

Homer Simpson.

Right before Marge is pregnant with Maggie, he works at the bowling alley, the job of his dreams. He makes just enough to support Marge, Bart, and Lisa. As soon as he finds out about Maggie, Homer has to beg to go back to the job he hates with Mr. Burns at the nuclear power plant. It is life’s twist and turns as depicted by the Simpsons that makes me love the show and make me want to meet him. Homer is living the dream.

Favourite Instructor and why?

If you ask me in person, I’ll take you out to coffee and explain.

Best RIDE memory?

It has to be my first RIDE.

The 63 bus never comes on time. I arrive 5 mins late and the door is shut, meaning I cannot go in.

There I stand in disappointment when out of nowhere this woman rushes me in, snaps the Giro in the dark, and leaves forever.

For weeks, I want to say thank you but I didn’t even know who she is. Turns out, she is none other than Alex Bergquist!

If it isn’t for this Angel, I probably would have left and never started! Forever grateful, I owe her my life for real.

And then for my first RIDE, there is Andra. That Woman. Some say, it is actually impossible for her to stop pedalling unless the music stops. And that Lebron is legally not allowed to ask her out again for a 1 on 1 rematch after she dunked all over him in a charity game for at risk youth.

What other workouts do you do outside of RIDE?

I recently discovered Meg for Yoga at Yoga Tree.

Hot Yoga with her is absolutely amazing – MEG! What does her name say if you spell it backwards? Because that’s what she is…

Mind you, I didn’t always practice Yoga. This Gem managed to change that. Thanks Meg!

Song you’ve got on repeat?

Earth Wind and Fire – September.

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

Check out @wearelandfed – my friend Leo started this. I like the message it sends, and what it stands for.

I would also like to give a shout out to the support staff stars at RIDE as well:

Lori, Megan. Jess B, Richelle, Emily[bbgrlemmy], Laura, Lily, Lindsey Banks , Winta, Daria, Vanessa, Taryn, Gena, Rachel , Raveena, Chloe, Ashley [aka Boss Lady, the OG], Dezmond [Do Drop Boxing with Dez!], Claire, Robin, Stephanie, Janet, Jaclyn, Kyle , Kate, Christie, Morgan, and The tall Dude with the dreamy eyes at the counter, so dreamy…

Emotion contagion is real and the tone you guys set speaks for itself.

Describe your ideal Saturday in the city.

I work 7 days a week. If I do get Saturdays off, or any days off, I sign up with instructors I can never RIDE with.

Afterwards, topping it off with a can of Sapsucker!

Who motivates you?

INSTRUCTORS – At RIDE, the instructors do! Not only are they putting us through a regimen, but they are also OWNING it while keeping rhythm, DJ-ing, troubleshooting if music stops, distributing weights, controlling brightness, leading 56 other people, practicing comedy routines, handling a lighter (without starting a fire), making sure we breathe, cheering, solving the DaVinci Code, and the list goes on…

SUPPORT – Their enthusiasm, attention to detail, and energy is vital. Mind you, they are brilliant Riders. As such, I like asking them for advice. I also make a point of noticing which bike they’re on in case I get lost, or switching bikes just to RIDE beside them, like I do with Emily (@bbgrlemmy) or Lindsey (the Queen who signed me up on my first day, isn’t she amazing?).

RIDERS –  I look at others for motivation. A strong group of riders means that I give up less easily during long, crazy runs – so yeah, you don’t really know who you’re inspiring. As such, you have to be mindful of the energy you bring into the room!

ALEX – Just look at A+: The woman rides with utter, raw power. Makes me wonder if she swallowed the sun. That Woman. Some say, she can stare Mike Tyson into submission. And that, to this day, Prince Harry STILL loses sleep over her.

MEL – This is similar with Mel, but she swallows pizza pops instead 😉! She likes to hide on Bike 3 and Bike 55. Now we know where to find her. I also love her dog Millie – Millie is so funny and cute.

SHRUTI – Her energy is palpable. Essentially, you can turn off the lights for the entire RIDE and I’ll still be able to tell if she’s here or not. I can. Also, can we engrave Bike 16 with her name already?

TAYLOR – Taylor  was the one who helped me with my bike set up on my second ride after class. She actually stayed behind to help me. She is awesome 🙂 You don’t forget things like this.

TAYLIN – She is the kind of person who would actually do quads (as in four RIDES in a row), and still look exactly the same for each of the RIDES. Hell, I can barely survive one.

KYLE – Watch his arms. They’re steady during RIDES and moves very slowly, which means his core is as tight as his biceps. Kyle, do you have a license for those big guns? 😋

KENNEDY – You can ask Ken how she plays chess against Death to keep sick kids alive [at Sunnybrook Hospital], sometimes overnight, and still manages to nuke all her rides by daylight with Dave. You’re as hardcore as they come Ken!

SARAH – If you think riding for yourself is hard, and you need motivation, why not try riding for “two,” like Sarah! I was riding next to her the day her babe was born. She is inspirational!

EMILY – I have to say, Emily is the only one that makes me feel like misty eyes nostalgia, home sweet home, a feat that is not easy to achieve, especially for a guy who is constantly drifting, day dreamin’, and, at times, existentially lost. For 50 minutes a week on a Thursday night, I genuinely feel a soldier coming home from a 10-year war to reunite with my family! I die a little when Emily tells me I have to leave and head off to war again (and wait until next Thursday).

REILLY – And then there is Reilly. That woman. Some say, her tears are alcoholic. And if she smiles, sunflowers will open in December, just for her.

Fave quote or words to live by?

“Who are you when nobody is watching?”

Last book you read was….

Does Peppa Pig count?

What does RIDE mean to you?

RIDE means a lot to me.

By now, I don’t remember my week as Mondays, Tuesdays, and etc. When colleagues ask me, what day is it today [Wednesday], I tell them it is JESS-day. You get what I mean.

In all seriousness, RIDE isn’t just about riding a stationary bike in a darkroom. It isn’t about that $80 bottle of Aesop for your post-RIDE ablutions either. Instead, it is an incubator of constant resurrections.

In the face of self-defeating conundrums, it is a spawn for one to be reborn to derive hope, and to dare the impossible. On a lighter note, it can also be a stop you take before secretly eating bang bang ice-cream.

*Special thanks to Trilby who worked with me on this blog. She is the one who manages what you see on the official RIDE IG account. And Alex (aka “A+”) for taking me into RIDE and keeping me out of trouble*