The Cyclub: ‘We’re about the people not just the pedals’

Hils and Sharon from The Cyclub

Hils and Sharon from The Cyclub - Credit: Archant

Sharon Jaffe and Hils Bentwood set up The CyClub as a pop up when their local gym closed. Now they do classes around the clock with a personal touch

When it comes to super high intensity exercise like spinning, I feel that my body is destined to always resist.

I really thought spinning would be something to come and pass before I’d actually have to do it, but damn it, if Bridget Jones is spinning on her birthday, then I’ve sort of got to give it a try.

So when I got the call to go to The CyClub in Hampstead Garden Suburb, I accepted without having to be forced, very much to my own surprise.

Pitching up with my water, towel and very loose t-shirt, I’m greeted by Sharon Jaffe and Hils Bentwood, the two founders.

The two women began The CyClub as a pop up at The Stables in Camden at the start of 2016 after the local LA Fitness closed, leaving many spinners with no place to spin. Using only WhatsApp, they found bikes, a sound system and a venue in the space of 12 days.

The instructors made redundant by the gym’s closure continued to teach and the local athletic community had access to classes they thought they would have lost.

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Not only that, The CyClub has attracted a new clientele as well, due to the atmosphere of friendliness and support.

“We’re not just about pedals, but the people,” says Sharon. “We are a place where people can meet up with old friends or make new friends – hence the club aspect to CyClub.”

Offering a different kind of class to the generic gym sessions, The CyClub caters to its members with classes for beginners, teens, “vibe” choreography and women only.

“We wanted to remove the barriers to exercise by making it fun with music, camaraderie and a contemporary studio. The timetable is also flexible allowing parents time to drop off kids as well as morning and evening classes for those who work full time.”

To top that off, they held a fundraiser for Action Against Cancer, hoping to raise £1,000. The event, which saw spinners go for one to four hours of consecutive cycling, raised £6,000.

Given how I handled 45 minutes of beginner spinning with Hils, I’d have been very little help. But the great thing about the class is how secure she makes you feel. It’s the little things like knowing everyone’s names, even if you’ve never been before, and checking in regularly throughout to make sure you aren’t dying. (I am, a little bit.)

The first 20 minutes or so are tough, but the low lighting allows me to avoid judging myself too harshly. Once I get over the initial hill and get into the swing of things, it isn’t so bad – as long as I keep in time with Beyoncé, I’m alright. I must confess, I cheat a couple of times by not turning the resistance up as much as I should, but I still walk away feeling like I’ve worked hard.

It’s not spinning like I’ve seen on the telly, with a big, shouty man yelling about how fat you are – if I were to get into spinning, this seems like it would be a good way to start.

The CyClub runs classes every day on a pay as you go basis. To book in advance, go to

The CyClub 45 The Market Place, Falloden Way, NW11 6JT.