Courtesy of Heidi Shepherd and Kacey Way

In the past 10 years, Wheelhouse Cycling Studio has had three names as many sets of owners have cycled through.

Now, a mother-daughter duo has taken over with the hopes of expanding the studio’s community and mission. 

In the fall of 2022, the previous owners of the cycling studio, formerly named JoyRide, were ready to close the business’ doors after shuttering four locations across Connecticut. The mother-daughter duo Heidi Shepherd and Kacey Way, who had both worked as instructors at JoyRide, decided to take over in order to keep the close-knit community of riders together. Since then, the team of instructors has grown, business has ramped up and Shepherd and Way both continue to teach classes regularly. 

“It just felt like that was our time,” Way said. “The sea parted, we saw an opportunity in a location that we love.” 

Shepherd said that the studio focuses on giving everyone the tools they need to feel strong and capable. To that end, there is no competition or comparison between riders in the classes. 

She explained that every instructor encourages customers to practice “taking what you need, leaving what you don’t” and makes sure each participant is “walking out feeling successful.” 

There are no screens or metrics displayed in the studio. Shepherd and Way told the News that they hope this will help keep customers accountable for their own experience and able to customize their class time however they please. 

The camaraderie in the cycling studio not only contributes to a safe and comfortable environment, but can also motivate customers to get more out of their classes, according to Way. 

“Sweating together just makes you want to work a little bit harder,” Way said. 

Wheelhouse staff said they recognize that some days riders have an abundance of energy and other days are running on low fuel. Those with surplus energy are encouraged to share some of that energy with their neighbors, Way said, helping all riders push harder in every class. Way highlighted this connection between riders as an example of how they are working to build the studio’s family-like environment.

Laura Morales GRD ’24 is approaching her six hundredth class in her three years cycling at the studio. Before discovering Wheelhouse, she had tried other cycling studios and kickboxing programs. But Morales described Wheelhouse as being unlike any other workout experience.

“It’s a huge community and somewhere you can feel supported,” she said. 

The Yale community at Wheelhouse is strong, with a regular 6:30 a.m. student crowd. Shepherd and Way mentioned that Yale professors and administrators also often attend classes. 

Kezia Levy ’24 echoed Morales’s enthusiasm. “You go in there with no tech and no intention to compete, just the goal of feeling better when you walk out than you did when you walked in,” she wrote in an email to the News.  

As the studio approaches its one-year anniversary on Sept. 15, Shepherd and Way are expanding outreach to more of the New Haven community, from New Haven Police Department employees to staff at Yale New Haven Hospital. 

The pair are also hoping to market spin as a non-intimidating form of activity to people new to the sport or who do not have much experience in fitness.

To bring in new customers, the studio offers private classes, group bookings and package discounts. Students can also participate at a lower price. 

“Heidi and Kacey consider everyone at Wheelhouse family, so they support you in everything you do — both in and outside of the studio,” said Julia Dvorak ’24.

The owners stressed that the Wheelhouse community is welcoming and ready to greet new members from Yale, New Haven and beyond. 

Wheelhouse is located at 199 Crown St.