Success in Southie: The Handle Bar Indoor Cycling Studio


Photo: Brooks Canaday/Northeastern University

From the moment I walked into The Handle Bar I knew, this was no ordinary indoor cycling studio. Jess Bashelor, the owner and instructor of the studio, believes she has found her niche. Part of what makes the studio unique is music selection.

“That’s one of the ways we differentiate ourselves, I’m going to be incorporating some full album rides as well.

She builds her workouts around musical experience by incorporating full-body movements and weighted bars to give the body a complete workout.

Sitting on the bike, it was interesting to watch her coach everyone through a theoretical terrain following the music’s ups and downs. Keeping all the bikes close, Jess’s system creates a collaborative atmosphere. She encourages riders through long planes and up hills, the group stays together, working as a pack.

It is clear that The Handle Bar has been a success given the need for the studio to expand their class schedule, but Jess did make some changes along the way.

She now schedules classes back to back, creating a constant flow of tired riders out and energetic riders in. She also works to unify instructor teaching styles, which she mentions is vital to creating a cohesive and unique studio.

Music is a big part of the atmosphere, Jess creates ride mixes herself, focusing on pump-up music that isn’t always Top 40.

“I have started thinking of every song in terms of being on the bike.”

Coming up with a new mix every week solidifies her place in the market and keeps her workouts fresh.

“We had to find our niche,” she stated. “We needed to find a place were we could set down our roots.”

Needless to say, they are off to a great start, some of their clients show up half an hour in advance to choose their favorite bike!

Jess is a member of IDEA: Northeastern University’s Venture Accelerator. The program provides her with mentors who helped build her business plan, develop her market and answer any of her questions.

Jess still comes back to network through IDEA showcases, expos, workshops and to talk to her coach. The program was pivotal in connecting her with investors to fund the first location, buy her bikes and grow her business, which turned out to be an amazing success.


Check out the hit indoor cycling gym The Handle Bar at 141 Dorchester St., Boston.