How to Playlist Like an Indoor Cycling Instructor

How to Turn Your Car Into an Indoor Cycling Studio
How to Make Indoor Cycling a Part of Your Personality
How to Playlist Like an Indoor Cycling Instructor[Without Actually Becoming One]

We’re all guilty of carpool karaoke, and if you take any sort of indoor cycling classes, you’re probably also guilty of carpool choreography. Your instructors definitely do this in their car, at the bar, and it’s almost always their go-to dance move at the club. You know exactly what we’re talking about, the “one down, one out” pushups on the steering wheel as soon as that beat drops? The girls that get it, get it – and it’s nothing to be ashamed of when the person next to you at the stoplight starts staring. They probably just wish they were in your passenger seat dropping and pressing in sync with you. 

After riding a few times, you may have left class wondering what one of the songs the instructor used in their playlist, and how to find it. It’s a pretty safe bet that most of the wonky, crazy remixes are from SoundCloud, which is one of the top music-streaming services. They offer a monthly subscription, but coming from an instructor, you don’t need to pay the $5/mo – you just have to know how to use it. All you have to do is type in the name of your favorite song and follow it up with “remix.” For example, if you’re a Lady Gaga fan, try typing in “Fun Tonight Lady Gaga remix” and one of the songs that pops up will be this one by OTIOT. Maybe Gaga isn’t your jam, but you really like a good mashup? This “Temperature X Satisfaction” remix with Sean Paul and Benny Benassi is fire. Finding a new remix to a song gives all your old favorites a total refresh, so you too can create a hot playlist just like your instructors! The best part about SoundCloud is almost all of the best remixes are completely free to stream and download.

If SoundCloud isn’t your jam, don’t worry – Spotify and Apple Music can be just as good when it comes to making a flawless playlist that will have all your friends begging you to share it with them. They both cost $9.99/month and will give you access to not only hundreds of thousands of songs, but also podcasts, custom playlists, and radio as well. You can find playlists that have already been made for indoor cycling classes by searching popular keywords, such as “indoor cycling,” “cycling music,” or “spinning workout.” For more recently released songs, include the year 2022 in your search. The first playlist that pops up on Spotify is this 7.5 hour playlist, so you should be able to find at least one song you like! Apple Music is a good source too; here’s a similar playlist to the Spotify one. One of the perks of having Apple Music is you can download SoundCloud songs straight to Apple Music using an online converter, whereas to download them on to Spotify you have to use a 3rd party service. To use the website tool to convert SoundCloud songs to MP3’s and play them through Apple Music, you have to copy and paste the SoundCloud song link into another site such as, download the MP3, and then it should automatically pop-up and start playing in your Apple Music Library. If you’re a visual learner, here’s a YouTube video that explains how to download your music. YouTube is a great source for finding remixes that sometimes aren’t even on SoundCloud. For example, one of my favorite climb songs EVER is this ‘Milkshake X Losing It’ mashup. If you’re into Tik Tok remixes, or just enjoy the funny clips of Julia Fox interviews, this is one of the best remixes for her iconic “unkuh jahmzz” scene on the ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast with Alexandra Cooper. You can literally find a club remix to almost anything you see on the internet, even scenes from everyone’s favorite childhood tv show, SpongeBob SquarePants. Remember in the Krusty Krab Pizza episode, when the fish is demanding his Diet Dr. Kelp? Yeah, there’s even a trap remix to that too. You’re welcome. 

After you’ve curated your perfect driving playlist, the second most important piece is the ambience of the space. A lot of indoor cycling studios utilize bright LED strip lights to drive your motivation and set the vibe even further, and you can get that same effect in your car for less than $20 on Amazon with this link. These customizable strip lights have several colors, effects, and can even be set to be sensitive to the music you play, so when that beat drops the lights will change accordingly, just like in your cycling classes! Setup is a lot easier than it looks and there are multiple how-to videos so you know exactly what goes where. There is also an app for these lights so that you can control them from your phone when you’re not driving. Don’t get too carried away with all of these while you’re driving, always stay safe on the road! 

You’ve got music, lights, and all you have to do is grab your cycling buddy and hit the road. Just like the feeling when everyone in the front row hits the drop in sync, you can just as easily recreate that feeling with your bestie in the front seat. What better way to get hyped for class than to pretend like you’re already in there? With the right playlist and fun lights, you can easily pretend like your car is your favorite indoor cycling studio. We recommend doing this especially when you’re on your way to take class. Whether Apple Music, Spotify, or SoundCloud is your jam, you’ll for sure be able to compile the perfect playlist with our advice, the addition of the lights in your car is just an added bonus. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to take your playlist curation skills to the next level and become an instructor at your indoor cycling studio! 

Working Out As A Mom

Staying active has always been important for both my physical and mental health. Growing up and through my formative years, I played soccer year-round and loved the intense cardio and competitive aspects of the game. In high school and college I also performed in musical theatre and stage productions.  Combining physicality with music felt natural and was just downright enjoyable. So, when I went to my first StarCycle spin class and felt the energy in the room, I knew this was the right place for me.  

I went through StarCycle spin instructor training the same time I found out I was pregnant.  Though it was a bit daunting to go through training during my first trimester, I believe the work I put into preparing to be an instructor helped my overall psychical and mental well-being. The excitement, anticipation, anxiety, and physical stresses that I was enduring as a first-time mother-to-be at times felt overwhelming. So, having a place where I could decompress and focus my energy into something that didn’t revolve around work or home life was like therapy.  Moreover, being pregnant during the pandemic would at times feel isolating, so being a part of the Star Cycle community, whether it be instructing or taking a class, helped me to feel more connected.

I taught spin until I was 37 weeks pregnant. I felt strong mentally and physically, and I believe it helped me recover from the birth of my son more smoothly. I had a c-section, and it was a painful recovery. But knowing that I had an outlet to go back to as soon as my body was capable helped me push through.  I pushed myself to get back on the bike slowly and by week 5 post-surgery, I was back to conditioning and preparing myself to teach again. 

I dealt with postpartum depression, and I can honestly say that clipping into the bike was the therapy that helped me push through mentally. As a new Mom, it is incredibly difficult and the sleep deprivation was mind bending. There were times I felt broken down. I had a new routine that wasn’t my own. I felt like my life wasn’t my own anymore: my mind, body, energy, everything.   Everything that I had was being poured into this little being that I had given birth to. It was miraculous, overwhelming, and chaotic. I didn’t know when or if these feelings would ever go away or if this was the “new normal.”  

Having the StarCycle community motivated me to push through. Just like a spin class when you hit a wall and your legs feel like they can’t pedal anymore, you push through. So as a new mom, I continued to put in the work and knew that if I worked hard at giving my little baby what he needed to grow and thrive, then that connection and bond with him would also grow and thrive. And now my little one is 17 months, and I couldn’t imagine a life without him.   

StarCycle is a place that motivates me to be the best version of myself. Having an outlet for yourself, especially being a new mom, is incredibly important. And the entire process of being an instructor: searching for and listening to new music, creating playlists for class, spinning to make my body stronger, and encouraging everyone in the class to push themselves for 45 minutes in a dark room with music blasting, is the most powerful outlet. This outlet helps me stay strong for my family. 

The desire to inspire and push others to achieve goals is so rewarding. I believe that making exercise a lifestyle has given me the freedom to share this passion with others. The example is such: no matter what you set your mind to do, no goal is unattainable.

Why I Chose to Franchise with StarCycle

I chose to franchise with StarCycle, even though, to tell you the truth, I could have gone out and opened an indoor cycling studio on my own. Did I want to do that? No. Here’s why…

My story with StarCycle is one with history; you can read more about my journey from client to StarCycle’s corporate director of training here in a previous post. To tell the long story in just a sentence or two, I began riding at StarCycle as a client when I was 16 years old and completely fell in love with the class, the instructors, and the fellow clients. I knew StarCycle needed to have a larger role in my life, so throughout the years to come I worked in childcare, front desk, as an instructor, trainer, and lastly the director of training. 

All of a sudden the stars magically aligned for my life long dream to open a StarCycle franchise to come true. It dawned on me for a moment that I could just open an indoor cycling studio on my own, but honestly the moment was fleeting. Even though I have about an 8 year history with StarCycle, there are a handful of reasons that stood out to me as a no-brainer to franchise StarCycle and how it would not only make my life easier, but make my business more successful.

First is technology. There are so many technological aspects of opening a business that a franchise takes care of for you. StarCycle already has an operating website with a developer who quickly added my location page to the website. I didn’t have to create a privacy policy, figure out SEO, pay for website hosting, etc. I didn’t have to find a booking software to use, or set up an email marketing service. I can’t even imagine how much extra time and money this would have taken me. Instead, I am able to be out in my local community making connections for my StarCycle location. 

Second is the brand. Every business has to create a well-thought out brand including, fonts, colors, logos, merchandise and more. Not only did I buy-in to a pre-established brand, but it’s a brand I can fully stand behind and absolutely love. StarCycle is all-inclusive, fun, and encouraging. Our mission statement is to, “deliver a kickass experience that inspires every rider to be their best self.” 

Next is the buildout. When you franchise with StarCycle you hardly have to make any decisions on the studio buildout, which is SO nice. Again, instead of picking bathroom tiles, you can be spreading the word about your new business. 

While there are endless reasons why franchising makes the most sense, the last and best reason is the support. StarCycle has a team of amazing people who I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside with to help support you every step of the way. Whether you’re opening a business with a franchise or on your own, it’s a big deal and takes a lot of hard work. Having a support system to cheer you on and help strategize is priceless. 

My Star Story – From Client to Director of Training

Take a look at this video I made for a project my senior year of college.

I stumbled upon StarCycle over 6 years ago, when a girl I danced with told me about this cool new spin studio that just opened in town. I so vividly remember walking in for my first class and wondering, “Do I need shoes? No, I have shoes on.” Ha! Little did I know I was about to clip in and fall in love with the ride. 

Instantly, I idolized every instructor. Sure I had my favorites, but they were all spin queen’s in my eyes. Coming from a strong dance background, I was drawn to the loud music, riding to the beat and the choreography. I knew I would find a way to make it up to the podium myself someday. 

Not long after, I left for college. I missed a lot of things that first year–my dog, my family, my town… but what I actually missed the most was StarCycle. After deciding to transfer colleges for many reasons, I scored a job working childcare/front desk so I could start to learn the ropes and hopefully get in on the next instructor auditions. A few months later, I began my training and was over the moon ecstatic. 

About two years into instructing, I developed an interest in training the upcoming instructors. I joined the training team as a Master Trainer, and always thought how cool it would be to make that my full-time gig. Literally, it was the dream job. I graduated college with a B.S. in Organizational Communication, and eagerly went into Corporate America two weeks after graduation. I was happy, but still thinking of that dream job…

You guessed it. This summer I joined the StarCycle full-time as their Director of Training and Franchise Relationships. To be in my mid twenties and be able to say I’m living my dream job is something I never take for granted. No, the dream job isn’t always easy, but it’s rewarding as ever. 

Has the dream stopped? Nope. One day I hope to have my own StarCycle Franchise studio. Till’ then, StarFam.




When Danielle Massari first walked into the StarCycle studio in Lake Oswego 3+ years ago, she had no idea at that time what was written in the stars for her. A mom of two, balancing a career and a busy family, she came to StarCycle seeking a place to push her limits physically, and gain clarity mentally. She found both but also discovered a community that would strengthen her from the inside out. The easiest way to describe how she felt about StarCycle, was that it was addictive. “I had no idea what I was in for when I stepped foot into StarCycle. I wanted a great workout and to connect with people in my community. What I found was much greater.”

After taking classes consistently (shout out to her regular 9am squad!), Danielle took the plunge into becoming a StarCycle instructor. She went through instructor training in fall of 2017, and has been a regular face on the schedule teaching at both the Cedar Mill and Lake Oswego studios. “Being an instructor is the greatest gift I could have given myself. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to step up on that podium and help people dig deep and find their strongest selves.”

Danielle couldn’t believe how much she fell in love with teaching and how she wished she could share this community she loved so much with even more people. Inspired by the StarCycle studio owners in Happy Valley who she’d seen take their love of StarCycle to their local community, Danielle decided to come on-board as a StarCycle studio owner. Danielle couldn’t be more thrilled to bring StarCycle to the Williams neighborhood of Portland, where her studio will be opening on the corner of N Williams and NE Mason! “Portland is such an amazing place to be. Vibrant, exciting, diverse. I have spent so much time on N Williams and really just fell in love with the atmosphere. When it came time to decide where I wanted to focus my energy, I really felt a calling to the heart of N Williams. I am excited to bring a whole new community of riders to StarCycle.”

To keep tabs on Danielle and her studio opening, make sure to follow the StarCycle Portland Facebook page. You’ll also be able to catch Danielle teaching at StarCycle Lake Oswego and Cedar Mill all summer long. When she isn’t teaching, she and her family will be at Tasty n Sons having brunch most weekends or sneaking down the road to St. Cupcake. “The community of N Williams brings so much to the Portland area. So many entrepreneurs like myself investing their time in building a great community.”

To learn more about opening a StarCycle studio in your local community, join our upcoming StarCycle Ownership Info Session on Tuesday, July 25th 11:00 AM Pacific Time. Register here!


Celeste King is a badass mama of three girls, and she has been riding at our Felida studio since they opened last year! After a life of marathon running, she needed something different that would still challenge her during her pregnancy, and StarCycle was just what she needed. Continue reading to learn how Celeste not only gets a good workout from StarCycle, but it has helped shape her lifestyle.

Name: Celeste King

Home Studio: Felida, Vancouver WA

How long have you been riding?
I became a founding member when the Felida studio opened in October of 2018 and have been riding like a boss ever since.

What do you love the most about Starcycle?
Spin is not an individual sport. We are all there motivating and complimenting and socializing ~ it’s a community. I love the cardio workout and the music and the dimmed lights! Where else can you go to the club at 6 am for a dance party with all your friends 🙂

What is your favorite section of class?
I love love love around the world push ups!!!! I love looking up in the mirror and seeing all the strong, powerful, glistening humans all moving in sync with such concentration and motivation. I just feel this overpowering feeling of unity and teamwork. Spin is not an individual sport. We are all there motivating and complimenting and socializing ~ it’s a community.

I started going to Starcycle when I was 8 months pregnant with my twins. I have been an avid runner for years, I ran endurance trails, marathons, overnight relay races but when I got pregnant with the twins certain issues arose and the little girls weren’t snuggled in tight enough for mama to continue running so my running was put on hold. Craving that cardio workout still, I heard word of Starcycle Felida opening soon and I was on board…. I couldn’t wait for them to open. I had done spin at other facilities and I knew I liked the workout but I had no idea what I was in store for. I went to the first class during their free ride opening week and I signed up immediately for the founding membership. How else can you be 8 months pregnant with twins and get a cardio workout and a serotonin rush??!! I even did the 6 am ride on the morning that they were born, just a quick detour on the way to the hospital. I ride allot, as much as I can fit into my schedule. I love it, and in fact now the twins are 14 months old and I am free to resume my running and I am still getting my cardio fix at Starcycle and I don’t see that changing.

What outside your life has changed:
My family has become part of the Starcycle community. On weekends, I bring all three of my girls (three, 3 and under) with me to spend time in the child care. They love it!! My daughters have made relationships with the staff as well as the other kids there. This is incredible to me. They are seeing all these strong, powerful and healthy people making this part of their life and this is what they see and will be a part of when they are older. I actually give my 3 year old the option of coming with me or staying home and she ALWAYS picks Starcycle… That’s my girl!

celeste 2


When StarCycle was first started in 2013, we wanted to create a workout that was fun and effective, within a community that was supportive to everybody and for every body. Four years later, we have created an indoor cycling experience like no other: we call it a dance party on a bike, and everyone is invited.

But our dreams of creating our own company didn’t begin and end with just the workout. We wanted to build an entire business model that was refreshing and unique. A company that allowed us to work hard, but also understood that we are moms who play an active role in raising our children. A place where we could challenge ourselves to try new things, while supporting one another when they didn’t work out the way we had hoped.

Ultimately, we wanted to have fun with our jobs and to build something that would be fun for other people to be a part of as well. And we’re doing it: we’ve opened two studios of our own and have four franchise locations (our newest studio opened just weeks ago!), with more to come. Our studio owners, along with our team, bring so much insight and energy that I feel lucky to work with each of them. And we hear from our clients on a daily basis how they feel happier since coming to StarCycle.

Is all of this a walk in the park? Heck no! While our workout is super fun, it’s hard. You’ll sweat like never before. You’ll have classes where you simply can’t keep the beat, no matter how hard you try. Owning a StarCycle studio is the same: it’s incredible but it’s also a lot of work. But I’ve found that anything worthwhile is challenging and this journey with StarCycle continues to be the ride of my life. When my daughters have a soccer game, I can make the time to be there. When school is out of session, I either bring them to work with me (we have craft-based child care at all of our studios) or work from home. I’m working hard, but within my own terms, and I respect that of everyone who’s part of our team. And I have to say, any hiccup that comes with being a business owner is made so small when I see how vibrant our clients look after class, when our team shares how much they love being a part of this company, or when our studio owners tell me it’s the best job they’ve ever had.

We’re still growing and evolving StarCycle, but we always want to keep it real and keep it fun. If you’re thinking about joining this party, either as a client or as a studio owner, we’ll keep a bike open for you!



To learn more about opening a studio in your community and be your own boss, click the franchise tab in the header. To ride with us, find a studio near you.


Astoundingly, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis, and only one-third of adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity every week. For some people, indoor cycling classes, and other group fitness classes, can make going to the gym a lot more fun. But for others, an indoor cycling experience might send their anxiety levels sky-high. When you’re used to working out alone, a cycling class can be a bit of an adjustment. However, most people find indoor cycling to be extremely rewarding, both physically and mentally. If you’re struggling to get over your nervousness about your first cycling classes, we hope these tips will put your mind at ease and allow you to embrace it for everything it has to offer.

Remember that everyone else is nervous too

Whether it’s their very first venture into cycling or they’ve been enjoying these classes for years, most people are at least a little nervous when they walk into a new studio. Exercising in public can be really intimidating, especially if you feel like you’re playing catch-up compared to everyone else. But keep in mind that you’re all in the same boat. No one is going to judge you for not knowing the routine or for taking a break if you need it. Everyone will be so focused on their own workout that they probably won’t even notice! In fact, the only person judging you will likely be you. Keep in mind that all StarCycle classes are held in a dark room, lit with candles, so that you can let go of the idea that all eyes will be on you and embrace the fact that everyone is actually in their own world- getting a kickass workout.

Get to know people in your class

One of the great things about signing up for a group fitness class is the chance to be a part of a little community. As cheesy as it sounds, you’re all in this together. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly athletic, you probably have more in common with others in your class than you realize. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there before or after class and learn a bit more about others in the room. If you’re really concerned that you won’t be able to make friends, there’s nothing wrong with bringing one or two along with you. Coming into the class already knowing someone else can help you relax and actually focus on the workout, rather than worrying about feeling isolated.

Don’t be afraid to have fun

Indoor cycling is a fun way to workout, so don’t approach it with the same mindset as you do when you run on the treadmill. If you’re struggling with getting the motivation to go to the studio, think about changing your mindset. In every StarCycle class, you’ll be surrounded by amazing music and will have the chance to be motivated by the others around you. It’s often a lot easier to forget how hard you’re actually working when you have an instructor telling you what’s next. It’s actually a great way to get out of your head and let loose a little. When you feel stressed and burned out, the endorphin release will be well worth the effort.

If you’ve never done any indoor cycling before, it’s natural that you might be nervous. After all, when you don’t know what to expect, it’s easy to get carried away with possible scenarios. But remember that your instructors want you to succeed and that your fellow attendees will often be just as anxious as you are. Once you experience it yourself, you’ll probably find that it’s the most effective – and most fun – workout you’ve ever had.

Clip in. Check out. LET’S RIDE!


Check out our very own Kelly Mreen’s story that was featured in Women’s Health!

Successful weight loss typically starts with a personal revelation, followed by a commitment to exercising and eating right. For some, motivation is sparked by a doctor or family member advising them toward healthier habits. For me, all it took were a few unflattering pictures.

I hit a breaking point when I saw photos of myself and didn’t like what was staring back at me. In fact, I didn’t even like being in pictures. I was so self-conscious that I noticed myself hiding behind other people to mask my body in photos. I felt my confidence, happiness, and well-being quickly slipping away so I decided to make a change – for both my physical and mental health.

Growing up, I was always busy and actively involved in sports. I danced, swam, and played competitive tennis through high school and college. After college, I continued to stay active and run daily – I even added a marathon and a few mini-triathlons under my belt.

Going into my 30s I lost my love for it all. Limited by hip injuries and joint pain, I took some time off to recuperate and eventually fell into a pattern of inactivity. I became so enveloped in being a mom and raising kids that I stopped taking care of myself and consequently gained 35 pounds. A few eye-opening photos later, I was determined and motivated to reignite my passion for fitness, so I signed up for my first indoor cycling class at StarCycle.

I still remember my first heart-pounding StarCycle class, because I hid myself in the last row and could barely finish. However, instead of feeling defeated, it awoke something deeper in my heart and mind, and I couldn’t wait to come back for my next class. The music pumping, the energetic instructors, the friendly riders cheering beside me and bopping in unison to latest beats; it’s an environment that evokes grit and leaves you feeling sweaty, exhausted and accomplished—and I was hungry for more.

Since that first class I’ve lost 40 pounds and have gone from the nervous rider in the backrow to being a full-time instructor leading the charge for others. I even became a co-owner of a StarCycle franchise studio because I’m a firm believer in the StarCycle community and want others to have the same life-changing experience I did.

If you’re trying to jumpstart your fitness routine and become the best version of yourself, below are a few additional tips that helped me along the way:

Find a workout that’s your jam!

One of my biggest pieces of advice to women is to find a workout that speaks to you. If it doesn’t excite you and keep you coming back for more, move on and try something new. A workout shouldn’t be torture, it should be sustainable and effective – and fun!

Give yourself a break.

A huge key to my success was learning to give myself a break. Because I was so active before, it was frustrating trying to start over without hitting the same level of intensity I had before. I started being really hard on myself and would feel like a failure all over again. If you give yourself a break and be kind to yourself, you will be empowered to follow through on your goals.

Set small, attainable goals.

Start out by setting realistic and specific goals. For example, make a commitment to exercise two times a week and increase from there. Big commitments tend to be overwhelming and unsustainable, so be patient and celebrate the small milestones that lead to the bigger picture.

And of course, if you’re seeking a healthy outlet for self-love and inner strength, come ride with me at our StarCycle studio in Happy Valley! As a franchise owner and instructor I love being on the other side of the operation, helping others clip in, check out, and rock their ride the same way my StarFam did for me.


When I shook Ruth’s hand it all came flooding back: The memories. Her memories. Her childhood… all 336 pages of her memoir become an almost unbearable weight, freezing me in the moment.

At first it seems intimidating meeting Ruth Wariner in person due to her inside stories she’s revealed to the world. But her kind, indomitable spirit and heart of gold envelope me as we sit down to chat about StarCycle and her newly-released book, The Sound of Gravel, now available in stores and online.

Ruth’s memoir details her haunting childhood growing up in a polygamist, Mormon colony in poverty. When she turned four, she was immediately needed for adult responsibilities. She helped care for her siblings while looking over her shoulder for the dreadful, lurking dangers children should never be exposed to. The Sound of Gravel is simple yet beautifully written and refreshingly lacks self-pity.

No spoilers here but Ruth nowadays lives an adjusted, happily married life in Lake Oswego and continues her healing journey despite her chilling memories.

Healing includes daily prayer, meditation, journaling and, you guessed it, riding at StarCycle.
I can imagine Ruth rides much like her embodied, inner character reveals in her book: confident and bold but within her own limits. “Sometimes I just let myself sit down or turn down the resistance on the bike so I’m able to work at my own pace,” Ruth says. “On days I’m feeling stronger, I push it up and get through it. But I make sure it’s enjoyable and I like to have fun. If I’m not having fun, I don’t want to do it.”

Ruth deserves some fun. She deserves the world although she’ll never ask for it. “I want people to know I’m someone who rose above my circumstances,” she says. “I’m somebody who is not a victim, who defined my own life separate from my childhood.”

After years of unsettling instances, Ruth fled her family’s colony at 15 years old. Her goal was simply to keep her siblings together. At 19 she moved out on her own and raised her three younger sisters alone, all while putting herself through school. After earning her GED she put herself through college and graduate school at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon.

Ruth then received a job teaching Spanish at Gladstone High School and ended up meeting her husband, Alan, on the top floor of the U.S. Bancorp Tower building in downtown Portland, Oregon, at a fundraising event for Portland Monthly. Alan swiftly fell for Ruth, realizing after hearing her stories how similar their kindred spirits are in caring for others in their family – Alan raising two autistic twins of his own.

Most of all, Alan loves Ruth’s ability to forgive: not in the sense that she puts up with being hurt but that she can let go of the pain from her past for her own sake and for the sake of her relationships with loved ones. “It’s helped me be a happier person, and he’s always said that I’m one of the happiest people he knows,” says Ruth.

“I love her courage, generosity and kindness,” said Alan. “I respect her commitment to her family. That’s the thing he loved about her first because I knew if she could have a strong commitment to her siblings, she would have a strong commitment to me, and she does.”

And talking about commitment, Ruth now rides at StarCycle four to five times per week, often with Alan alongside her. “I love the way riding makes me feel; it makes me feel so much better,” she says. “I love how they turn lights down and you ride alone. And I love the kind environment.”

She said Alan is always trying to recruit others to ride at StarCycle, letting them know how it will challenge them in new ways. “It’s a spin class like you’ve never experienced before,” he says.

And Ruth loves rocking the challenges StarCycle offers, like the recent “I WILL NOW” challenge (20 rides in 30 days in December). “And I love the variety of instructors at StarCycle,” she says.

Aside from indoor cycling at StarCycle, just a two minute walk from her home, Ruth and Alan often take long, daily walks around the neighborhood, enjoy hiking, traveling all over the world and join their “Calories Be Damned” dinner club, regularly with local friends.

But most importantly, Ruth says, spending time with her family means the most to her. You can tell she continues to keep a watchful eye on her sisters even though they’re now all grown up, living in different cities with professional careers of their own. They were too young to know the reality of what happened to their family, their older sister shielding and literally saving their lives from it all until they were much older and they asked her what happened one afternoon over lunch, which led to Ruth writing her book over the next five years.

One memory Ruth happily shared with us was when her mom – a constant companion yet a well-intentioned adversary in Ruth’s book – taught her to ride a bike. “She bought it at a garage sale and I got it as a birthday present,” recalls Ruth. “I remember the first day they took off my training wheels and I fell right over. I was three or four and wanted to immediately take off my training wheels. I wanted to be a big girl.”

Over the years she got her wish facing love, loss, fear, anger, resentment and the unknown far younger than most. But she said she often remembers these words, spoken by Maya Angelou – an American activist, poet and civil rights advocate who passed away just last year and Ruth had an opportunity to hear her speak:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
Despite her upbringing, Ruth remains resilient and grateful. “I love the fact that I had the opportunity to have an education, it gave me perspective, confidence and a new community and culture to live in,” she says.

Now Ruth’s unending commitment, love and loyalty to her family has never wavered, just as she inspires us all by moving forward with her life and riding into a brighter future.

What does Ruth recommend about StarCycle? “Try it. You’ll love it.
And what do we at StarCycle say about The Sound of Gravel? “Read it. You’ll love it and never, ever forget it.”