Small Business Spotlight: Rush Cycle

Madelyn Wilson, of Apex, left, and Betsy Bowdish, of Raleigh, warm up before an indoor cycling class at Rush Cycle. The dark room helps participants focus on their own performance, not on others in the room, says owner Sindhu Rajan.

What a rush!

A little more than a year ago, in February 2019, Sunil and Sindhu Rajan opened the first North Carolina location of Rush Cycle. Since then, happy clients have spread the word about the knowledgeable instructors, the high-energy classes and the customer service — especially the post-class, lavender-scented, cold towels.

The California-based franchise is one of the fastest growing indoor cycling brands in the country, according to Forbes magazine. Much of that growth is due to digital fitness tools that make scheduling a class and tracking your performance easier, but the Rajans emphasize that customer experience plays a huge role.

Sunil and Sindhu Rajan have professional backgrounds in technology, and both make exercise a priority. Sindhu Rajan has run the New York marathon, and in 2016, Sunil Rajan completed 13 marathons.

“At our classes, we try to focus on the motivational aspect. It’s, ‘You can do that! Let’s do this together!’ With almost everything, we try to motivate from start to exit — we are like your pit crew,” said Sunil Rajan. “You come in, we take care of you, get you set up on your bike, and then the instructor motivates you. And when you leave, you get the lavender towel.”

Recently the couple talked about the business and creating a community – where fellow riders, staff and instructors support each other.

What attracted you to the franchise?

We always knew we wanted to start a business at some point in our lives — we just didn’t know what type! As we got older, we became more passionate about health and fitness, and we decided this is really something we should do. A lifestyle with a focus on health and fitness carries over to other aspects of a person’s life — improving overall happiness and well-being.

We knew franchising would be the best route, since we didn’t have a lot of experience. We initially looked at more established boutique fitness franchises, but we really liked the up-and-coming, San Diego-based Rush franchise and their culture, with its focus on building a community. We took a few Rush classes and had an amazing experience. We felt that this was something we should bring to North Carolina.

Rush Cycle franchise founders, Tim Suski and Corey Spangler, provided a great deal of support for us as first-time business owners, which made the process very smooth for us.

Fitness is a crowded market. What makes Rush Cycle unique?

Rush is a 45-minute total body workout experience in a dimmed room, where you ride to the beat of the music. You’re competing against yourself, what you did yesterday, not others in the room.

Our instructors also go through a rigorous one-month training before they can start teaching – even if they have prior experience. This is not typical for fitness studios, which can be a few days or weeks. We carefully screen each applicant to make sure they are the right fit before they even go through the training process. We have an amazing lead instructor, Becca Schutt, who is passionate about her team, mentoring them and being a part of the community.

We aim to provide the best customer experience from the moment a rider walks through the door. They are greeted by name, and at the end of every ride, we have a cold lavender towel waiting for them. Our staff is focused on providing every level of support to ensure the rider’s experience is as smooth as possible and to make them feel at home and comfortable.

Instructor Melissa Howald has taught at Rush Cycle in Morrisville since it opened last year. “I call this my happy place,” she says.

How did cold lavender towels become part of the Rush experience?

Lavender has been known to have relaxing, calming effects. Since our studio began presenting cold lavender towels, the idea quickly spread to other Rush locations.

After a spin class when you are hot and sweaty, who wouldn’t want a cold ANYTHING?! Riders actually look forward to the towels right after class. Sometimes it seems like they just want the towels rather than the workout.

What’s been the best, or most surprising, aspect of owning a business?

The most surprising and best aspect of owning a business has been realizing how much of an emotional experience this would be. It has been amazing to be able to bring positive change to people’s lives through fitness, to hear and understand everyone’s “Why’s,” and to provide a time and a space for people to connect. This community, bursting with positive energy, is truly something to be experienced.

3024 Village Market Place, Morrisville
(919) 234-0042

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