Review: The Handle Bar

by agirlandhermutt on June 3, 2014

I’m not a fan of going out of my way to work out. My gym is less than a mile down the street from my house. Pure Barre is LITERALLY on the way home from work. The pool for my swim lesson is even on the way home. When looking at various boutique fitness classes, this is one of my deciding factors in whether or not I will continue to go. I mean, I enjoy Soul Cycle, but it is out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I consider Chestnut Hill the middle of nowhere. Heh. When The Handle Bar contacted me to see if I was interested in trying out their new location, I was curious. Then I realized that the new location was just down the street from where I work! Boom. I’m in!

My first visit was the second week they were open. They offered me a complimentary class for myself and a friend. Obviously, I brought along my spinning partner-in-crime, Megan.

The Handle Bar’s original location is down in South Boston, which is a bit of a hike for me. The new location though is smack dab in the center of Fenway, right on Boylston St.

The bright and welcoming check-in space of The Handle Bar offers hair ties, ear plugs, and a cute little retail area. I love those water bottles!

One thing I noticed about The Handle Bar right away. There are no lockers. Just cubbies. I’m really uncomfortable with this. Yes, there is someone at the desk, but Fenway is a super busy area and there are quite a few people congregating around the cubbies during class. Not a fan of this openness. And if you are thinking that I don’t trust my fellow spinners…you got that right! I should note that I expressed my dislike of no lockers to the BF and he just shrugged as he shoved his stuff into the cubby. Apparently this is not a big deal to everyone. I’ve seen an iphone be stolen right out of someone’s bag during Zumba. That just ain’t right folks! My suggestion…keep your valuables at home or near you.

No special gear is required for class except you must wear clip-in shoes. You can bring your own (SPD compatible) or rent a pair for $2.

Folks, if you have never clipped in for a spinning class, get on it. The experience is totally different and takes the workout to a new level.

I arrived just in time for class, which is super annoying. I prefer to give myself about 10-15 minutes to get to the studio, put my things away, adjust my seat, etc. Instead, I just ran in, threw my bag in the cubby and tried to get on a bike. I felt all kinds of flustered!

Whenever I have the option of sitting on the side of the instructor or in front of her, I opt for the front. Unfortunately, I was running late so I got a side seat in the 35 seat studio. It felt like the speaker was in my ear and I couldn’t hear a word the instructor said. I have had this same issue at other spinning studios so this is not unique to The Handle Bar.

Also, at The Handle Bar there are no reserved bikes. First come, first serve!

The class got started and the music was pumping! The Handle Bar is really into choreography. Each song was perfectly designed to have moves that matched with the beat perfectly. The instructor gave a quick little overview of what she was going to do for each song as it was getting started. I’ve never had that done before but with since there were quite a few moves ,I liked that they gave a heads up. I’ve now taken 4 different classes and I can tell you that they all pretty much work the same way. Lots of combos with tap backs, crunches and push-ups. I feel like there are people who either HATE all the different moves with a passion and just want to ride or those that really enjoy it in every class. I am definitely a choreography person. Well, except for crunches. I think those are dumb.

Near the end of the class, one song is reserved for arm weights. Attached to each bike is weighted bar to use. That bar is light but it can start to burn after holding it up for 4-5 minutes. Burn baby, burn!

After that initial class I went on my own 3 other times. Once for a “Bar Fight” which is when two instructors teach and trade-off with different types of music and 2 regular classes. I like that The Handle Bar often has these themed type of classes.

Every class had bangin’ music and the lights changed from blue to red for each song. It was like being in a club back in my college days! I was probably just as sweaty too. 😉

The Pros:
Location, location, location! This is the perfect spot to get in a ride before, during or after work.

Schedule. They have plenty of classes for those that are morning folks and those that prefer to workout in the afternoon. They even have a “Recess” ride at 10am on Tues & Thurs that is just $10! In addition to the regular 45 min class, they also offer a few 60 min classes on the weekend in case you wanted to get in a long ride.

Price. Classes are priced reasonably at $20/class. I had to stop myself from laughing when I typed reasonable and $20, but compared to a $30 a class at other studios…well, reasonable is the right word.

Your first class is just $10. Monthly Unlimited is $175 and you can get your first month unlimited for just $100. Not too shabby!

Instructors. I’ve tried several instructors and every single one of them has seemed to genuinely love teaching! I’ve tried a few but my fave so far has been Lena. Her energy could be felt throughout the whole class! The music they each picked complimented the classes perfectly too.

The Cons:
No lockers. I don’t trust people.

Shoe rental not included. Booooo. I know, I know. It is only $2. But still….

Volume. The music speakers and the instructors mic are at the exact same level. It makes it really difficult to hear the instructor over the music sometimes. I loved the music, but I would have loved hearing the instructor more sometimes.

Sometimes a bit too choreographed. For all 4 classes I was in hand position 3/standing almost the entire class. I really like jumps and sprints in the seat so I was definitely missing that from my class. Possibly other instructors have this approach?!

Personal issue. Whatever cleaning solution they wipe down the bikes with makes the handlebars a little sticky or soapy feeling. I make sure to throw my towel over the whole situation because I can’t stand the feeling of something on my hands. This is definitely a personal issue, but Megan claimed to understand exactly what I was talking about. No one else seems to be bothered by this. Eh. Apparently I’m sensitive.

The Handle Bar is totally worth a try! You can get a great sweat going and an excellent workout in at almost any time of the day. Go take a class before you hit up a Red Sox game and earn that Tasty Burger dinner. <—-That is exactly what I did last week!

Welcome to the neighborhood The Handle Bar!

The Handle Bar
Fenway Studio
1336 Boylston Street
Boston, Ma 02215
857.239.9789

Be sure to check out their social media channels for updates on deals, challenges and other updates!
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*Just a note:  The Handle Bar offered me a complimentary class. I paid for the other 3 classes with my own $$$. As always, opinions are my own. *

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