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Riding With Joy

National chain SoulCycle rode into town the other day. Dozens of Westporters packed the new Compo Acres fitness center, trying out (for free) the national chain’s offerings.

But for nearly 4 years, a more local studio has been serving the town. And that service extends far beyond riding bikes for a (stationary) spin.

When Amy Hochhauser, Debbie Katz and Rhodie Lorenz founded JoyRide in June of 2011, their business plan included a healthy dose of philanthropy. From their spot in the Crate & Barrel Shopping Center next to Greens Farms Elementary School, the women “put great value in bringing a community together to get fit, build healthy lifestyles and — on a local, national and global scale — affect change,” Amy says.

The joyful smiles of Joy Riders. (Photo/Kyle Norton)

“We have witnessed first-hand how indoor cycling can transform people’s lives, whether by improving health, becoming stronger physically and emotionally, or overcoming challenges on and off the bike,” she adds.

“The culture of JoyRide is more than fitness. It’s a culture of good health, paying it forward, supporting one another and spreading joy.”

If all this sounds a bit fluffy, consider this: In less than half a decade, JoyRide has raised more than $500,000 for charitable causes and organizations — all of them important to their riders.

When a rider asks the owners to host an event, there is no discussion of rental fees. All studio space is donated.

Last March, JoyRide was the top fundraising team — for the 3rd straight year — at SpinOdyssey. Riders raised $78,472 for breast cancer research and awareness — 5 times what the 2nd-place team brought in.

Over the past 2 years, JoyRiders raised $90,500 for the Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research. The organization was founded by Westporter Erin Berk and her siblings, in memory of their mother.

Last November, the studio raised nearly $20,000 to help women survivors of violence in Congo. That event featured African drummers.

In 2012, JoyRide’s team raised the most money of any satellite team in the world for Cycle for Survival, a national event for research into rare cancers.

If you’re kicking yourself for missing any of those great opportunities, don’t worry. Up ahead:

Pinko de Mayo. On Tuesday, May 5 (6 p.m.), JoyRide celebrates Cinco de Mayo by benefiting the breast cancer organization Pink Aid. Post-event festivities include food from the Bodega Taco Truck (including margaritas). Donation amount is $25.

Shatterproof Ride. On Sunday, May 17 (2 p.m.), riders will help break the stigma of addiction, with a focus on children affected by the disease. The day is organized by Westporter Ellen Mendell. Her brother-in-law founded Shatterproof, after his son committed suicide related to addiction. Minimum donation is $40.

CT Challenge. Anyone participating in this fantastic outdoor bike ride in July — which aids cancer survivors — can train for free in the early-morning and evening hours at JoyRide.

JoyRide’s founders clearly walk the talk. No, that’s not the greatest analogy to use with an indoor cycling studio — but I can’t think of a greater compliment.

(For more information on any of the upcoming JoyRide events, click here.)

 

(Photo/Kyle Norton)

 

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