Quick Hits: An Inside Look at the Luxe B/SPOKE Cycling Studios

With a haute cycling studio in Boston’s Financial District and a second location in the tony suburb of Wellesley, not to mention pop-ups on the Cape and Newport, B/SPOKE is on the way to becoming Boston’s premiere cycling studio. Its success can be attributed to founder and co-owner Mark Partin, who decided to leave his job on Wall Street to turn his passion into purpose, realizing personal fulfillment is the most important investment to make.

B/SPOKE ExteriorPhoto Credit: Ian Travis Bernard

With a degree in finance and economics from MIT, Partin always knew indoor cycling was not only the best way to stay active, but should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle.

B/SPOKE StudioPhoto Credit: Ian Travis Bernard

With the strong connotation that indoor cycling is predominantly female, Partin knew he had to create a lifestyle brand that would attract both men and women while fostering a unique community. Two years after opening his first studio with partner Ryan Olsen in Boston’s financial district, they expanded with a second studio earlier this year in Wellesley and plan to continue to spread the B/SPOKE lifestyle with pop-ups this summer.B/SPOKE Retail WallPhoto Credit: Ian Travis Bernard

We caught up recently with Partin to find out what sets B/SPOKE apart from other cycling studios, why he left his job on Wall Street and what his plans are for Memorial Day weekend.

What makes B/SPOKE different from your typical cycling center?

One of the characteristics of our studio that separates us from others is that we focus on the brand and bill ourselves as a lifestyle brand. Other gyms just try to get people in and out, but we consider ourselves a high end experiential product. We are super focused on every part of the customer experience from start to finish. We like being able to cater to everyone enabling people to do something relevant. There are different elements of what it means to be a lifestyle brand and we cater to all of that. For example, we get involved in hosting charity rides. (There is one being held tonight at 7:30 p.m. with B/SPOKE’s Katie Dolaher to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation and another one tomorrow to benefit the Pan-Mass Challenge. Each ticket includes a 45-minute ride with 100 percent of the ticket proceeds benefiting the charity).

You used to work on Wall Street. What made you make the switch?

I had a career that spanned about 10 years on Wall Street. B/SPOKE is a combination of my interests. I’m obsessed with design and branding. Fitness can be personal to a lot of people. The challenging part is to create a brand that appeals to large demographics. For me, seeing a 22-year-old next to a 60-year-old is absolutely engaging. I have always had an interest in culture and how trends develop. Gyms are special and can be a place to clear your head and be away from it all. Seeing what boutique gyms can provide, I think that’s the power of it.

When did you first become interested in fitness?

I had always been a runner growing up and worked out in college. I moved to spinning after a foot injury that left me with five screws and a plate. I found a non-impact workout like spinning was a much more efficient use of my time.

Why do you think people have chosen recently to make fitness a part of their lifestyle?

I think it’s a continuation of a bigger trend of people caring about fitness. People are starting to realize how you feel after you work out. You feel better; you’re in a better mood. I think people just want to improve themselves in a positive way and fitness is the easiest way to do that. I also think the surge in boutique gyms has to do with technology and social awareness. People are taking interest what they put into their bodies and witnessing other people’s healthy habits. Women are a lot quicker to adopt fitness trends, but that’s changing.

Tell me about the pop-up in Newport over Memorial Day weekend.

Part of our branding is that we like to think of ourselves as an artisanal boutique gym. We want to be where our customers are and a lot of Bostonians summer in Newport. We are doing a long weekend event at Gurney’s in Newport in an outdoor pavilion overlooking the water. There will also be yoga classes on the lawn. It’s an opportunity to meet a lot of new people as well and we are really excited about that.