Three years ago, Tammeca Rochester helped unify the Harlem community by opening it’s first indoor cycling boutique, Harlem Cycle. Now the Atlanta-bred beauty is combining glamour, cardio and relaxation with a weekend of health and fitness by hosting the first Ultimate Cardio Glamping Retreat on Governors Island. Not a stranger to throwing the best events in Harlem, Rochester is sure to impress by pulling together some of the best entrepreneurs in the city for the retreat of a lifetime.
In honor of the women who inspire us for Women’s History Month, The Source sat down with Tammeca to discuss how she created her dream cycling sanctuary—often fully booked a week in advance and the steps she takes to ensure her boutique has soul.
1. Can you share your inspiration behind opening the first black-owned cycling boutique in Harlem?
Growing up in Atlanta, I dreamed of coming to New York City and most of all coming to Harlem. Harlem to me represented culture, arts and music. I dreamed about walking down the street and running into the legendary Maya Angelou, rubbing the “Tree of Hope” at the Apollo Theater and listening to live Jazz at any of the famous clubs. But once I got here, I realized that despite all the arts and culture in Harlem there was still one thing missing, the ability for Harlem residents to take care of their health. Harlem had very limited options in the fitness space with the majority of studios focused on only Yoga and Pilates.
I loved riding a bike when I was younger and have always been drawn to more cardiovascular workouts, so naturally after exploring the various workout options in the city, I found myself drawn to indoor cycling. I was quite disappointed to learn that Harlem did not have many options in the cardio space. I waited several years for a boutique studio to come to Harlem that would offer a great workout and the amazing customer service that I received from downtown studios. After realizing that they were not coming uptown, or that if they did come they would lose sight of the greatness that is Harlem, I figured I would do it myself. So, in 2016 I opened Harlem Cycle.
2. What has been the most rewarding aspect of helping to build up the community?
My happiest moments at Harlem Cycle are all centered around our clients. I love seeing someone who has been intimidated to try indoor cycling coming for the first time and then walking out knowing they’ve conquered something that they once thought was inaccessible to them. I love looking around our studio and seeing the level of diversity ranging from age, race, economics all riding together and dancing to our music. Nothing is more fulfilling than watching a 72-year old client who was scared to try class, sit next to a 23-year old as they ride harmoniously together then high five each other at the end of the session. To me this is what community is all about…sweating, smiling and growing together.
3. Why do you think health and fitness is making a comeback with people of all ages?
I think social media is to thank for this big comeback to fitness. People are sharing how fun and cool it is to workout and people are finally responding. Before people were scared to try new workouts but now when you see your friends and family doing something you start visualizing yourself doing it as well and realizing that you can do it. It doesn’t hurt that celebrities are now also sharing their fitness secrets via social media as well.
4. We love that you give back to the community, what are some of the recent events you’ve hosted?
One of the 4 pillars of our mission at Harlem Cycle is Community. Without community we would be just another studio with no soul. Each quarter we provide wellness programs geared at exposing the Harlem community to a holistic view of health and wellness. We partner with local businesses to provide massages, meal prep services, and classes from other local health and wellness businesses along with our Cycling or Sculpt classes. All proceeds from these events go towards a local Harlem based charity. We’ve provided complimentary classes to several local school programs to get students interested in cycling so that they can enjoy cardio options and begin their fitness journey. Additionally, we do Back to School and Toy Drives to help continuously give back to our young people. And occasionally we do rides that benefit the larger organizations such as our Breast Cancer awareness ride, Hurricane Harvey, and Lupus Foundation rides, where proceeds all went to the designated charities. But our work doesn’t stop there. We continuously want to engage and help grow the Harlem business community. We’ve done free events for our clients where we invited the top restaurants in Harlem to do a tasting of their healthier options and celebrated Women’s History and Black History month by supporting and doing giveaways for local Harlem owned companies.
5. Tell us about the upcoming Ultimate Cardio Glamping Retreat at Governors Island?
We are so excited to host our first retreat this year on May 4th-5th on Governors Island. We will be glamping in their luxurious glamping tents with amazing views of Manhattan while pushing ourselves physically through multiple workouts. When creating this event I wanted to create a retreat where you can disconnect from the everyday hustle of New York living without having to take multiple days off work. So we are taking a 15min ferry ride over to Governors Island and spending the weekend boxing, sculpting, bike riding and so much more.Not many retreats are focused on cardio workouts so we definitely wanted to create a space for cardio lovers to push themselves physically.
6. What can we expect during the retreat?
You can expect an AMAZING time. We’ve got some of the top studios in attendance, a great view of Manhattan and plus good food and fun people. Besides Harlem Cycle, JTW Fit and Fitness Sanctuary will be there providing their signature workouts. We will have Grea’s Therapy on-sight for athletic stretches and massages in between sessions. This is going to be a great way to disconnect from the city and to connect with ourselves with just a ferry ride away from the city.
7. What has been your favorite aspect about putting together these events that connect so many interesting individuals?
We do these events for the connections. That’s what it’s all about for us. Bringing people together that may not have known each other, learning from each other and creating positive change. Our events are all about promoting self care and self love while building community.
(Owner Tammeca Rochester)
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