Long Island cycling studio brings classes outside to stay open during pandemic

EAST SETAUKET, New York -- When Denise Locarni decided to open Crank Cycle East Setauket in February of this year, she knew it was going to be hard work, but she never expected the coronavirus pandemic to ultimately close gyms across Long Island until further notice.

When phase three of reopening was approved, Locarni came up with a plan on how she could bring riders to her studio safely while keeping her business afloat during this time.

However, the only way she would be able to do it is to have classes conducted outside with the stationary bikes spaced out more than 6 feet apart.

If you have ever attended an indoor cycling class, the classes are usually in the dark with high-paced music and a giant wall-sized mirror so you can see your reflection of your cycling form.

Now, every morning before class, Locarni measures the stationary bikes more than 6 feet apart so that she can know exactly where to put the bikes located outside in the parking lot.

"It's really not the easiest thing to be wheeling 30 bikes in a parking lot, but times like this, things have changed," said Locarni. "We have to do, what we need to do."

Across the country, people have been trying to stay motivated at home coming up with creative workouts including myself, but I decided to give the cycling class a shot.

I have cycled before and thoroughly enjoy a workout class environment, so if all the protocols were set and social distancing measures are met, why not try it?

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When you sign up for the class online, automatically a COVID-19 outdoor ride protocol pops up. Before you even sign up for the class a detailed list shows what you need to know before you attend the class and what you need to bring.

You must wear a mask while entering and leaving and as you sign in your temperature will be taken as well. You are allowed to take off your mask while you are on your bike, but if you need to get off you must put it back on. After the class, there will be no need to clean up or wipe down your bike because a staff member will do it for you.

Locarni does want to get to know her new riders but asks that riders do not linger after the class so that her staff can do a deep cleaning of the area before the next class arrives.

"I'm someone who I can't really workout at home," said rider Samantha Bondiorno. "It feels good to get out, get to a class, and even be around people even though it's distanced."

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I chose to keep my mask on during the ride and was pleasantly surprised by how unbothered I was by it. It was a bit of an adjustment having something covering my face while I was sweating, but because I focused on Locarni instructing the class, I was starting to forget that I was even wearing one.

"The community is really really excited to have a spin studio right in there backyard," said Locarni.

The 45-minute classes are offered once a week on Wednesdays. The two evening classes to choose from are 6:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. These classes are a part of a summer series, but Locarni hopes to add more times and days as more riders sign up.

If you have never tried a cycling class before, not to worry, Locarni will walk you through it and help you set up your bike if you are unsure of your bike settings so you will have a great first ride.

"The crank cycle classes are good for everyone, from the beginner all the way to the ultimate athlete," said Locarni. "We definitely have something here for everyone."

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