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A new spin on fitness

Northeastern alumnus Jessica Bashelor has decided to pursue her longtime passion for fitness and exercise by opening South Boston’s first indoor cycling studio, The Handle Bar.

“In Boston there’s a cult following for spinning, but there’s a small niche of people who have never tried it and are scared of it,” said Bashelor. “Opening this studio in Boston will both expose people to spinning and grow the market. The more that pop up, and the more people that try it, the more they’ll love it.”

After graduating in 2010 with a degree in biology, Bashelor took a job at a startup activewear company, which brought her to studios and gyms across New England and allowed her an inside look into running a fitness business. After eight months at the startup, Bashelor decided it was time to branch out and embrace her own entrepreneurial spirit by starting work on her own fitness studio.

After making the decision to become a certified spin instructor in 2012, Bashelor reached out to IDEA, Northeastern’s student-run venture accelerator, which provided her with networking opportunities, connected her to pro bono legal work, and exposed her to mentors that helped shape the path she ultimately took.

The Handle Bar, which officially opened its doors on June 15, offers an a la carte experience, giving people an opportunity to try spinning on a class-by-class basis rather than make the kind of large financial commitment a typical gym might. Bashelor said she’s brought top-of-the-line equipment, nine of the best instructors Boston has to offer, and a great staff to the 1,700-square-foot studio.

“Big gyms don’t have the incentive or the time to make a spin class what it really can be,” explained Bashelor. “Since we focus on one type of fitness, we’re really able to hone in on the details and make them perfect.”

For the grand opening, The Handle Bar offered 12 free classes over a two-day period, which brought in an impressive amount of interest and a steady stream of regulars who bought multiple-class packs.

“I would love to eventually open a new location, but my immediate goal is to create a strong community at The Handle Bar,” said Bashelor. “I want to become part of the South Boston neighborhood and have everyone feel like this is a haven where they can meet new people, do fun things as a group, and escape from their day-to-day.”