"I wouldn't be anything without Austin," says David Garza, a decorated leader in Austin's fitness scene. "I'm a just a dad and a husband who likes to ride a bike, and if it hadn't been for the Austin community, I wouldn't have gotten any of the accolades or business I have."
It's no question that Garza's humility is part of what's attracted scores of Austin's fittest to his classes, and it's one of the reasons the newest indoor cycling studio, RIDE, tapped him to exclusively head programming, training and development.
There's an obvious trend emerging in Austin: The downtown and campus blocks are seeing more and more cycling studios crop up, so why would one want to jump into what's becoming a crowded market?
For RIDE co-founders Kim and Tim Dowling it came down to their desire to continue an active lifestyle that they'd begun in New York, founded upon like-mindedness and friendship — "[Group fitness] was my community, and that was so meaningful to me," Kim says.
What RIDE did differently, say the Dowlings, is tapping a team of expert instructors who already had a strong foundation prior to RIDE, be it as Ironman competitors, Bar Method instructors or certified personal trainers.
Garza says that between the five main instructors, there's more than 25 years of professional training experience. "We won't add classes until we have great instructors," says Kim of the studio's current schedule with a modest 20 classes a week.
As far as mechanics go within the dark spinning studio, form is on the forefront of every instructor's mind. Garza begins with specific direction on how to engage the core, though in a seated position, and checks in with alignment through out the class to prevent injury.
Like other studios, the music is upbeat and there's a rhythm to the ride — but the experience is noticeably grounded. "Everybody's best is different in that room," Garza says. "I don't just care about the 45 minutes you have with me, I care about your life outside the studio," he says.
Though Garza is the de facto face of the studio, it's his outward focus that prevents him from falling into a celebrity trap. It's not about coming to ride with the popular Garza, or any instructor for that matter, it's about riding for yourself and as a group. "We really want to raise Austin up and connect with [the city]," explains Garza, "and that's very spiritual."
RIDE is located at 117 Lavaca Street.