GYM CRASHER: The Madison

Name: The Madison

Instagram: @themadisontempe

Location: Tempe, AZ (there is a Phoenix location as well)

What they offer: Group cycling is what the class is modeled after, but that term does it ZERO justice. Entertainment fitness, Party on a Bike, DJ/Club Life/Disco Cycling… those are all much more in line with the experience you’re really going to get. They also offer active yoga classes so you can sweat it out and then get your zen on. Namaste.

Known for: Partying, while on a bike. Seriously. It’s like the best of both worlds… you can show up to a nightlife type of atmosphere, with your friends, wearing leggings and a sports bra. It’s basically every girls’ dream. Oh, and in case there’s any mistake about the beverages served, the water literally has a label that says, Not Vodka. NOTE: if you partied too hard the night before and need to sweat it out, this daytime bike party will certainly do the trick.

Crowd + Vibe: Young and hip, though that could be because I went to the location right off ASU’s campus. Party on a Bike is for anyone, but I would say largely the crowd is 20’s and 30’s (maybe early 40’s), and heavily favors the female population. But I should note, that people of all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, and collegiate football affiliations are welcome.

The music is LOUD (which I personally love), upbeat, may throw a cuss word or two your way, and provides some serious heart-pounding energy. You will cycle. You will sweat. You will leave tired. You may be sore, but you will, without a doubt, depart feeling accomplished and full of sweet endorphins.

Equipment: The bikes are all modern, state of the art cycling bikes. First timers (like me!), can rent shoes from the front desk; serious cyclers all have their own… you can peep people’s shoes to tell the vets from the beginners, not that anyone really gives a sh*t.

The studio has rows of bikes with the instructor sitting on an elevated platform in the front—every seat has a clear view of the instructor. If you’re new, choose a bike in the back if that makes you more comfortable. My experienced cycling friends helped secure me a bike in the dead center of the front row. Love you guys!

Lights… lots of lights! Strobe lights, colored lights, flashing lights… when people compare the experience to being in a nightclub, that’s exactly what it’s like. Freaking awesome.

Hours: They vary by day, but rides start as early as 6AM and go as late as 7PM. BONUS: they are open 7 days a week—perfect for 9-5’ers who have to fit workouts in around busy work schedules. Here’s a glance at The Madison Tempe’s schedule for the month.

You will need to book your ride in advance due to limited seating. Many classes fill up, so book early.

Pricing: $$$—Let’s be clear, cycling studios are not cheap…anywhere. And in terms of group fitness, the price of $175 a month may seem steep… (you can work out once/week with a personal trainer at many fitness studios for that). But, in terms of entertainment fitness that makes you excited to show up, sweat your ass off, do some hard cardio with your friends without totally feeling like you’re doing cardio… this fits the bill to the T. It’s expensive sure… but damn, it’s a good time.

Single ride, 5 ride, and 10 ride passes can also be purchased. You can also book The Madison for parties.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This cycling studio was a total experience, from the easy parking out front, to the first impression at the front desk, to the class and instructor, to the return walk to my car. The moment you walk in the doors, (which, hang on to your paychecks) has you wind your way through the latest and greatest in athleisure wear from brands like Ayo and Spiritual Gangster (I seriously had to close my eyes), to the cheery ladies at the front desk who provide first timers with their FREE shoes for Ride #1, to the instructors who help set you up properly on your bike….the whole experience was, well, just that… an experience. A great experience. The Madison is more than just a run-of-the-mill cycling class.

And if you’re lucky enough to get an instructor like I did for this ride (@kristinagirod), you will leave with your emotional cup full of positive vibes and a I-can-do-anything attitude. I was also lucky enough to ride with 2 of my close girlfriends who are frequent bike partiers, so I had a hard time keeping from smiling, even during the hard climbs “uphill.”

VERDICT: If you are a die-hard cardio fan, check this place out and be prepared to join that day. You will LOVE it. If you are on the fence about cardio, check this place out and then tell me that all cardio is boring. If you hate cardio, give this place a chance and see if it changes your mind. You will be pushed, you will be challenged… but you will do that by YOURSELF, for YOURSELF. You are in the driver’s (or maybe I should say, cycler’s) seat. You determine how hard you are going to push yourself that day. And should you ever forget or doubt what you can do, listen to your instructor… they will give you all the motivation and direction you need to absolutely CRUSH your workout.

Shout out to my girls Amy & Carmen who rode with me on my first ride. This place was SO MUCH FUN.