Rev, the boutique cycling studio on Reem Island, does spin right. Yes, cycling is still popular. It has weathered the rapidly evolving fitness trends and remains a constant. This is perhaps because of its high caloric burn rate, ease on the joints and accessibility, with Peloton bikes now bringing virtual instructors right to your living room, garage or anywhere with internet access.
Rev studio owner Jean-Marc de Montrichard is a 14-year veteran of Etihad Airways, where he is a captain and an instructor for the A380 jetliner. A former squash player for the Trinidad and Tobago national team, de Montrichard started indoor cycling seriously in 2008 after suffering a back injury. He hasn’t looked back since. He began cycling at The Club, and eventually transitioned to Gold’s Gym,. Soon enough he became a certified Les Mills instructor, teaching RPM and BodyAttack. In 2018, 10 years into his cycling career, de Montrichard opened Rev Studio.
How is Rev different?
For starters, Rev is the only cycling-only boutique studio in Abu Dhabi. When de Montrichard decided to open a studio, he wanted to focus on what he could do best. And he has really brought the best. Rev has the newest cycling technology. The cozy studio is outfitted with 12 bodybikes that connect to smartphones via Bluetooth. The bodybike app displays speed, distance, power, calories and time; it then saves the workout to track progress.
The studio also is one of the few in the UAE that offers Les Mills The Trip, a fully immersive workout that combines a 40-minute multi-peak cycling session with a journey through digitally created worlds. It’s also the first in the world to offer Spivi.
Spivi, only at Rev Studio…
Spivi is an interactive multimedia platform from California. The platform is made for fitness clubs and indoor cycling studios and collects data such as power, cadence, speed, distance and heart rate from sensors in real time. At Rev, the data comes through the bodybike. The platform can generate virtually unlimited visuals, including unique group simulation, leaderboards, videos and more — all in real-time. The class has a captain leading the riders through the workout. During morning sessions, that would usually be de Montrichard. Spivi is his answer to the monotony of RPM classes. All RPM classes have the same structure: start with a warmup, then hills. After that, mixed terrain intervals. Then, you race, and finally climb a mountain.
Unlike set RPM classes, Spivi has endless possibilities. The class can start with a mountain and immediately go into racing — and yes, that was torture. Even though it wouldn’t seem like it, the instructor is not the one who makes Spivi hard. You are. One of Spivi’s unique attributes is its live leaderboard. You know how well you’re doing in relation to other people in the class. So, if the captain asks you to maintain 100 cadence, you really have an incentive to hit that goal, unlike in other spin classes where you might not push yourself as hard.
If I’m not interested in Spivi, why Rev?
Rev studio is like a family. Everyone makes an effort to know each other. You are greeted by name, and the studio manager, remembers your bike’s settings and shoe size — the studio offers free cycling shoes. There is always a towel and bottle of water at the bike. You’re offered coffee and treats like dates and chocolate wafers after the class, and even in Spivi, the most competitive class, riders cheer each other on. There is no sense of intimidation.
Rev’s other classes
Indeed, there are live Peloton classes as well as recorded ones. If you’re as doubtful as I was about Peloton’s claim to offer live-streamed classes, the instructor gave Rev Studio a shout out during my trial ride. There is a massive variety. I tried everything from a classic rock session to a music festival ride to a hip-hop class. They don’t have it all, but they cover a lot. It’s easy to find something you can enjoy.
Rev also offers Les Mills The Trip, and Les Mills The Trip Live. If you just want to go at your own pace, but also feel like you’re in motion, The Trip is for you. With its fun visuals you’ll feel like you’re in a video game. The trip live takes the intensity up by adding an instructor to the mix. The instructor is riding with you as opposed to riding at you: their bike is stationed looking toward the screen. Their purpose is to support you in giving that extra push, but you’re still in control of how much you want to give. The trip is really about you, it’s your ride.
• Rev Studio is in Mangrove Place, opposite Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island. Dh55 per class, or Dh525 for an unlimited monthly membership. Classes starting as early as 5am and run through to 7.30pm.
Images: Alexa Mena.
Alexa Mena is a multidisciplinary artist and media editor for livehealthy.ae. When she's not writing for livehealthy, she's thinking about design and how it shapes the human experience.