GatheringPublished on September 9, 2020

Nadine (left) and Heather Photo by: Mark Holleron

Get to know

Wheelhouse Cycle is a spin studio with a focus on movement and inclusivity. Nadine Hogan, co-owner of Wheelhouse, is proud of the open-hearted space they have created. “We’re a welcoming, progressive, diverse and safe place for marginalized people in our community,” she proclaims. “Who-ever you are and however you present, you have a place here.”

What’s on offer?

In April 2014, Nadine and Wheelhouse co-owner Heather Andrews were introduced by a mutual friend. It happened that they had both wanted to open a fitness studio in Ottawa. After seeing spin studios in Calgary, prior to her move to Ottawa, Heather knew that spin was missing in Ottawa.

“We didn’t know each other very well, but we decided to keep going until something didn’t feel right,” Heather said of working with Nadine. “It never felt wrong, so we just kept going.”

They both wanted to offer something that was about more than just burning calories. “It was about your mental health,” Nadine explained. “It’s about movement and not punishment.”

Adapting to change

When COVID-19 hit, Wheelhouse, like every other fitness facility, was forced to close completely. “We immediately lost 97% of our revenue,” Nadine said.

Their first pivot was renting out their spin bikes for online classes. People would rent a bike and participate in a live class from their home. “I kicked and screamed but we needed to do it,” Nadine said about moving online.

Even though they made the switch to go online, they knew they needed to do more to survive. Heather recalled brainstorming sessions with her wife, and they realized they needed a big space in order to open in person again. They found a warehouse space on Spruce Street and knew it was exactly what they needed.

With the ability to safely space bikes two metres apart, they quickly began to change the empty space into the community they have built over the last six years.

Although the space is different and free from the usual amenities on offer at Wheelhouse, Nadine and Heather have realized that ultimately people want to gather. “There’s a powerful pull to be a community and gather.” Heather states.

“We’ve grown a lot and realized things don’t need to be perfect,” Nadine acknowledges. “I like that this place is a bit rougher and more like us. We’re far from perfect humans, even though we work hard on ourselves.”

Olivia Taggart

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