• Laura Brzyski

The Wall Just Opened a Kick-Ass Secluded Outdoor Spin Studio

Photograph courtesy of The Wall Fitness.
Photograph courtesy of The Wall Fitness.

Clip in and enjoy a socially distant spin class at The Yard — The Wall Fitness's new outdoor studio — three days per week in Manayunk....

We all know that the coronavirus pandemic has been an emotional rollercoaster (coronacoaster?) for so many folks, especially business owners. For fitness studios, the constant red light, green light has been frustrating, sure, but also a catalyst to adapt their business models, become tech pros, and even make fitness more accessible for more people.

In an effort to continue evolving, The Wall Fitness recently decided to expand their outdoor and live-streamed workout offerings by building an open-air, yet totally secluded fitness space. That’s right: In the midst of a freakin’ pandemic, the Manayunk studio opened, well, another studio!

Officially opened on August 11th, The Yard is home to six spin bikes spaced more than six feet apart in a completely fenced in — you guessed it — backyard. Though you’re not required to wear a mask as you spin (but you’re welcome to!), you are required to show up sporting one and keep it on until the instructor clips into their bike, signaling the start of class. That way, folks can feel safe during their super small, socially-distant spin sesh. Currently, classes run as 30-minute express rides on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and on Saturday mornings. In between each class, all bikes are thoroughly sanitized with high-grade disinfectant, and the space itself is washed down.

Owner Juliet Sabella, who believes that high-intensity activities like spinning are not feasible while wearing a mask, stumbled upon the outdoor space thanks to a friend she made at the start of the pandemic. “You never know who is going to come out of the woodwork and help you when you need it,” Sabella says. “These past five months have taught me the importance of meaningful relationships.” After making sure that bikes could be sufficiently spaced apart, Sabella — along with her husband, father-in-law, and three-year-old daughter — got to work. Literally. They hit up the hardware store, built a wooden platform for the bikes (and painted it what Sabella calls “face mask blue”), and installed a sunshade to provide some relief from that dang summer heat.

Owner Juliet Sabella in The Yard. / Photograph courtesy of The Wall Fitness.
Owner Juliet Sabella in The Yard. / Photograph courtesy of The Wall Fitness.

The Yard’s test-run class on August 9th was the first time Sabella and her six riders hopped on their bikes in each others’ physical presence. “I saw riders actually looking back at me and smiling, and could feel their energy in real life,” Sabella says. “After nearly six months of not having in-person spinning, it was super emotional.”

In general, Sabella admits that managing four locations during a global health crisis has been tough, but has also allowed her to strengthen her skillset and beliefs. “My mental and emotional health took a hit at the very beginning of the pandemic, but I've learned how to pivot and implement all these different business plans,” Sabella says. “I know so much more about technology, audio, sanitizing, project management, and the importance of community. But this whole experience reminded me that the one thing I’m never going to be flexible with or feel bad about is my and my family’s health. It’s why my team and I are doing everything we can to be safe, both outside and when we open for indoor classes.”

To spin at The Yard, book your bike for $22.50 here. You’ll receive The Yard's address upon signing up.