St. Charles builder discovers indoor cycling, opens his own CycleBar franchise
Operating Fiore Builders Inc. for the past 26 years could be somewhat stressful, so it was no surprise that owner Vince Fiore was looking for a place to exercise and blow off steam.
Nearly two years ago, Fiore lived in Barrington and spotted an indoor cycling workout studio near town called CycleBar, and he stopped in.
"I had a light day at work, and I just went in and tried it," said Fiore, now a St. Charles resident. "I was hooked on my first ride, and by the fourth ride, I had to have a franchise."
So he put that goal in motion. Fiore opened a CycleBar at 2686 E. Main St. in St. Charles two months ago and did it right next to his other side business, the u-le-le Salon Suites at 2690 E. Main St. Both are located just east of Ace Hardware in that retail strip.
At u-le-le, Fiore leases out studio space for hair stylists, manicurists, massage therapists, makeup experts and aestheticians for skin care.
"My background is in engineering and construction," Fiore said. "Of course, I have the salon suites business, but I was not an avid rider or athlete.
"I had never cycled, but I found CycleBar to be so helpful and the instructors so passionate about what they were doing," he added. "So now, this is all in addition to what I do with my Fiore Builders company."
Fiore believes others who try rides at CycleBar would also see the immediate physical and mental benefits. He's signed up 260 members already, along with 12 instructors and 23 employees at the 45-bike facility that offers 45-minute interactive spin classes with music and instructors.
He has designs on reaching 600 members, making the St. Charles studio the largest in the chain. While the cycling studio welcomes riders of any skill or fitness level between the ages of 17 and over 70, this place is best designed for those serious about losing weight, getting stronger and working up a sweat.
"The instructor talks the whole ride and inspires you, so this is not a competition because you ride at your own pace," Fiore said. "Typically, riders are committed and definitely come out of here sweating."
After checking in online for a session by choosing a class time and instructor, the CycleBar member shows up and grabs shoes, which are used to click into the bike pedals and transmit information about the rider via a computer chip to the bike monitor. From there, it's a matter of following your progress and goals for that ride in a cool, lowly-lit place with mirrors, pulsating music and fellow riders.
Fiore said women currently make up 80 percent of the membership, but he's trying to tap into the men's market through couples' night promotions, birthdays and other events.
"When I had just opened CycleBar, I sent a note to the corporate office saying that I really feel like I opened a 'Field of Dreams' business because the people just started coming," Fiore added.
"Many said they had been waiting for a place like this to open locally for so long," he said. "Some were looking to lose weight and said they lost 10 pounds in a short time, and others said it has allowed them to get off some medications as it was making a difference in their lives."
CycleBar offers various ride packages, including month-to-month memberships that allow people to take a break when needed or when traveling without being charged.
Information about the St. Charles CycleBar is available at (630) 549-6342, and the salon suites at (312) 969-9373.
"If your legs are long enough and you can reach the pedals, you can ride," Fiore said. "It attracts all types, from those wanting a place for winter cycling or to avoid the heat, or mostly for those just wanting an extra cycling workout."
It was a Tuesday habit
As we prepare for one of our favorite weeks of the summer -- Swedish Days in Geneva next week -- I will have to remind myself not to start walking around town with my lawn chair in tow for a Tuesday night concert at the Central Stage on Third Street.
That had been the traditional opening night, but not since COVID changed everything. But this year, the festivities are taking on an aura of normalcy and will begin Wednesday, June 22.
Local talent gets a moment of fame on the festival's big stage in Geneva's Got Talent Thursday night, along with Dancing Queen, an ABBA salute band. Two more bands will perform on Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25, playing music from all genres.
Of course, there's a lot more going on throughout town and even in some other locations, like the Geneva Commons. All of the information is available online through the Geneva Chamber of Commerce website.
Shady Hill changing hands
After nearly 50 years of operating Shady Hill Gardens in Batavia and then Elburn, owners Matt and Joe Heidgen have sold the nursery.
They are planning a Thursday, Sept. 1, grand opening for new owners, Johannes Pieterse and Brent Troost, owners of Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery and Garden Center in Crystal Lake.
Shady Hill customers may not notice a tremendous change, other than some expansion and new equipment. Otherwise, the location at 42W075 Route 38 in Elburn remains, as does the staff.
In a note to their customers on the Shady Hill Gardens website, Matt and Joe said, "Yes, these are exciting times, and we are thrilled to announce this wonderful news. Just as we built Shady Hill Gardens into the beautiful greenhouses they are today, the new owners will devote special care in continuing the legacy of service and quality."
Keep the wind calm
I've been to the world-famous International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it's a fascinating weekend event in early October.
But the weather is pretty conducive to this sort of event in New Mexico at that time of year.
Organizers of the Kane County Balloon Festival on July 9 and 10 at the Kane County Fairgrounds have to hope for the same.
The first thing on the wish list would be calm days. Windy days make this sort of event a little trickier.
As Frank Sinatra lamented in his song "Summer Wind," it can be a fickle friend.