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Steel Wheels

A message from Bob Koplar on shuttering Steel Wheels

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Steel Wheels Bob Koplar

On Wednesday I noticed a For Lease sign in the window of Steel Wheels, the indoor cycling facility located at 224 N. Euclid. Bob Koplar opened the business in early 2018, and over the last couple of years it developed a devoted following. If you missed a chance to take a ride, here is a post about my visit to the handsome space shortly after it opened.Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News  Steel Wheels Bob Koplar
While the closure isn’t a total surprise given the nature of the business and the need for social distancing, it is yet again another reminder of the far-reaching effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the neighborhood. Many CWE businesses are in the process of reopening with restrictions on the number of people who can visit at a time, but that wouldn’t be a sustainable model for Steel Wheels.
Here is how Koplar responded when I asked him how he was handling the closure:
“Hi Nicki, thanks for reaching out. Strange times indeed.
This was a heartbreaking decision for me but necessary under the circumstances. Our business model relies on a number of people being able to exercise together in the same room. Our core service became our community. Even if the City were to allow us to re-open at some point in the future, social distancing restrictions and (understandable) concerns on the part of our members would have made it impossible for us to be successful. Our mission is to make people healthier, and we didn’t want to run any risk of doing the opposite.
I am taking a hard look at our concept to see if there is any way we can continue with the very positive momentum we’ve built over the last couple years–whatever form that might take. For now, I am just very grateful to everyone who supported us since we opened, and have been deeply touched by their outpouring of support since the sad announcement. I will miss our team and our customers terribly.
Thank you,
Bob”

An early morning visit to Steel Wheels

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Steel Wheels St. Louis MO Koplar Properties Emily Brady Koplar Central West End Bob Koplar

Early Thursday morning I walked over to check out the new Steel Wheels Indoor Cycling, which Bob Koplar of Koplar Properties just opened at 229 N. Euclid between Maryland Ave. and Lindell Blvd.

For some reason I have never really taken to indoor cycling, but that changed yesterday after 45 minutes biking through the streets of London accompanied by music and occasional videos from the Beatles.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Steel Wheels St. Louis MO Koplar Properties Emily Brady Koplar Central West End Bob Koplar

Steel Wheels is a hi-tech operation. Signing up for a class, and then choosing which of 40 bikes you want to ride, is done online in advance (though if you arrive early enough, it’s possible to sign-up on the spot for a class, depending on availability of bikes). Early-bird staffers Erica and Nick, above, walked me through the check-in process, which is simply signing in on iPad screens in the sleek, handsome lobby.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Steel Wheels St. Louis MO Koplar Properties Emily Brady Koplar Central West End Bob Koplar

Extensive renovation of the 4500 s.f. space, formerly occupied by Regency Stamps, included the creation of an amphitheater that slopes to a giant HD projection screen. Each day of the week the classes will take you to different parts of the world mixed with music videos to keep the experience both interesting and fun. View the schedule here for more information.

The bikes, equipped with monitors to record how you’re doing, require special shoes, which are provided. “Look Delta” and “SPD” cleats are two brands that are compatible with the pedals on Steel Wheel’s bikes.

 

Monitors display the names of each rider so you can see how you’re doing compared to the other riders. When I saw my name on the screen, I immediately asked if it could be removed. I was there for the fun, not to compete. Nick, right, is shown helping Stephanie, the instructor, take my info off the monitor.

It’s important to note that Steel Wheels welcomes all riders, from racers to novices. “Intensity is up to the individual rider…if you want to coast, coast away. If you want to compete, ride to win.” I was definitely in the “coast” category, and happily kept up with the ride at my own pace. After the class, you’ll get an email listing your stats, including how far you rode (8 miles!), the pace, etc.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Steel Wheels St. Louis MO Koplar Properties Emily Brady Koplar Central West End Bob Koplar

Everything about the design of Steel Wheels is well considered, starting with the choice of colors. The locker room area has complementary fruit waters, fresh fruit, and a water bottle refill station. There are changing rooms,  3 bathrooms, one with a shower, and glass jars filled with complementary hair clips and ear plugs, in case you want to ride in silence. This is also where you change into your biking shoes and pick up a towel for the ride.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Steel Wheels St. Louis MO Koplar Properties Emily Brady Koplar Central West End Bob Koplar

Bob Koplar’s wife, fashion designer Emily Brady Koplar, designed all of the Steel Wheels apparel displayed above, which is color-coordinated with the shop’s interior. Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Steel Wheels St. Louis MO Koplar Properties Emily Brady Koplar Central West End Bob Koplar

The flyer shows different membership levels at Steel Wheels. The Intro Ride of $12 is not clear in the photo, but it’s a great way to check it out. There is also a Founder’s Membership limited-time special of $99 per month, which includes unlimited rides and other perks, shown above. Parking is available in the Argyle Garage (Schlafly Branch Library). It’s free with membership.

Steel Wheels, 229 N. Euclid, (314) 345-1001. For more information, stop in or visit the website.

Bob Koplar to open Steel Wheels Indoor Cycling in CWE

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings Services Shop News  Steel Wheels Koplar Properties Bob Koplar

This just in: Bob Koplar of the CWE’s Koplar Properties will open Steel Wheels Cycling, a new concept in indoor cycling, at 212 N. Euclid (above), a 4,500 s.f. space formerly occupied by Regency Stamps. Renovation of the space will begin immediately with the opening scheduled for later this year.

Steel Wheels’ mission is to bring the thrill, adventure and fitness of road bicycling into a studio environment through innovative use of audio-visual media and technology. The location will feature a giant HD projection screen with images of breathtaking roads from around the world, mixed with music videos and heart-pounding visual effects. Premium amenities include lockers and showers.

“We set out to improve upon an already effective formula by introducing thrilling videos to keep riders entertained and engaged, while making the ride fly by,” said Koplar.

In a press release, Koplar is humorously described as a “recovering lawyer and astonishingly mediocre athlete. He discovered premium indoor cycling while living in New York, and gained a deep appreciation for its immense health benefits, turning Bob from a fat guy into a skinny guy. Alas, Bob gets bored easily and finds riding a bike in a dark room agonizing.  This led Bob and his team of misfits to create Steel Wheels to ensure fitness would never be boring again.”

For more information and updates follow Steel Wheels on Facebook.