When Anne Hartnett opened Harness Cycle
in 2013, her motivation was fueled by her love for spinning and interest in fitness. The cycling studio immediately took off in the Hingetown location, becoming Ohio City’s most popular place for an indoor cycling workout.
Now, Hartnett is in the midst of opening her second Harness Cycling studio – downtown in the historic Garfield Building on E. 6th
Street and Euclid Avenue, 1965 E. 6th St. In addition to the studio, the new facility will also house a retail shop offering clothing and fitness gear from local makers.
“We’re really excited to go into the downtown market and build brand awareness among people who live and work [there],” Harnett says.
Hartnett asserts the Harness workout is perfect for people looking to get some exercise on their lunch hours. The 45-minute session incorporates hand weights into a spinning workout, which occurs in a darkened room with music and without computer metrics.
“We call it active meditation,” Hartnett explains. “It’s based on heart rate and beat. You’re really getting a full cardio workout. Lunch hour is a great time to unplug, ride for 45 minutes and get an awesome workout – a little reboot.”
While looking for a downtown location Hartnett originally eyed at a space in the basement of the Garfield Building before viewing the 5,000-square-foot space on the first floor. “It’s more than double the size of our Hingetown space,” she says, adding that she will have 35 bicycles at first but the space has the capacity for as many as 55.
Hartnett fell in love with the historic building and its marble pillars and large windows. While the Hingetown location has a more rustic feel, the new space will be designed more for the downtown clientele. To that end, she's working with John Williams of Process Creative
to create a modern studio that embraces the building’s historic architecture.
“He has a great way of merging young and old in his architecture,” says Hartnett of Williams, who designed the downtown Heinen’s rotunda. “We’re keeping the integrity of the space and creating a modern studio.”
The new, larger location also allows Hartnett to offer men’s and women’s locker rooms with a total of five showers to accommodate clients coming in on their lunch hours. She also plans to use the lobby for collaborations with food entrepreneurs, many of which will stem from the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen
“We want to streamline and create a more full-service experience,” Hartnett says. “Come in on your lunch hour and then grab-and-go lunch.”
While Hartnett signed the lease a year ago, construction just began with demolition of walls to make way for restrooms and to create the studio space. While she does not yet have an exact opening date, Hartnett anticipates they will open sometime in March. She plans to employ 15 additional people at the new location.
In the meantime, Harness Cycle has been holding CycleLab Tours – pop-up cycling classes at unique venues downtown. Hartnett has already hosted CycleLabs at the Rock Hall and House of Blues. Today, Wednesday, Nov. 30, Harness Cycle will bring out more than 40 bikes at the Cavs’ practice courts inside Quicken Loans Arena from 5 to 7 p.m. Pop-up workouts at CycleLabs last about 45 minutes.
While today’s event is sold out with a waiting list, the next one is planned for Friday, Dec. 16 at Whiskey Grade
’s Moto showroom in Ohio City, followed by a whiskey tasting by Tom’s Foolery
. Future tours are planned in the new year.
Hartnett says the CycleLab Tours are at once an introduction for prospective customers to Harness Cycle and a way to do some market research on the downtown clientele. The tours don’t make any money, she says, and each event requires loading, hauling and unloading more than 35 bicycles.
“It’s a lot of work, but way worth it,” she notes. “Even if we don’t make money off the event, we spend more for people to learn who we are.”
While Hartnett’s original vision
with Harness Cycle was to convert the energy used in pedaling into electricity, that dream has been put on hold until the technology is perfected and she has enough studios to make an effective impact on Cleveland’s power grid.
“It wouldn’t be cost effective now,” Hartnett explains, “but the goal still is to harness the energy of individuals to keep the sense of community.”