Full Tilt Cycle Peterborough seeks revival for downtown businesses as pandemic passes the one-year mark

'Rise up Peterborough: Full Tilt Revival' is spin studio owners Erin Marshall and Sadie Cavanagh's theme for April

Full Tilt Cycle spin studio in downtown Peterborough, founded in 2017 by Erin Marshall and Sadie Cavanagh, is launching a theme of "revival" for April after a difficult pandemic year. To encourage people to come to Full Tilt Cycle for a spin class, Marshall and Cavanagh have made the health and safety of their clients a priority during the pandemic. Virtual memberships area also available. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)
Full Tilt Cycle spin studio in downtown Peterborough, founded in 2017 by Erin Marshall and Sadie Cavanagh, is launching a theme of "revival" for April after a difficult pandemic year. To encourage people to come to Full Tilt Cycle for a spin class, Marshall and Cavanagh have made the health and safety of their clients a priority during the pandemic. Virtual memberships area also available. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)

After a year of challenges due to COVID-19, ‘revival’ is the word for Full Tilt Cycle Peterborough owners Erin Marshall and Sadie Cavanagh during April. Marshall says prior to the pandemic, the locally owned independent spin studio had built massive momentum in what was their third year of business.

“Classes were sold out with 20 bikes across the board,” Marshall recalls. “We were starting to thrive and grow. We call it the sanctuary because it is more than a gym — there’s a culture of inclusion, love, and gratitude that has been created.”

However, their fourth year of business has been much more difficult since the pandemic has dealt a serious blow to fitness studios. Full Tilt Cycle has been forced to close at many points throughout the pandemic. While the studio is currently permitted to be open, provincial restrictions limiting class sizes and the public’s general anxiety around visiting a fitness facility have significantly affected revenue.

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“Now, we’re open with eight bikes spaced six feet apart, but we are finding that people are worried to come,” Marshall explains. “Our business is definitely down. In a way, Sadie and I feel like we’ve had to start from ground zero. All of the momentum that was built up is gone.”

According to Cavanagh, the spin studio industry in general has struggled through COVID-19.

“We’ve seen our friends in bigger cities shutting down their studios for good,” Cavanagh says. “We don’t want to have to do that. We want to hold on so that the people of Peterborough can have the connection and mental health release that comes with the experience.”

Full Tilt Cycle's new logo was designed by local graphic designer Mary Bucholtz of Beechwood Design. Owners Sadie Cavanagh and Erin Marshall are hoping businesses downtown Peterborough experience a revival after the challenged endured through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)
Full Tilt Cycle’s new logo was designed by local graphic designer Mary Bucholtz of Beechwood Design. Owners Sadie Cavanagh and Erin Marshall are hoping businesses downtown Peterborough experience a revival after the challenged endured through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)

Now, in the spirit of resiliency that is central to the Full Tilt business model, Marshall and Cavanagh are gearing up for April with the theme of ‘revival’.

Their new custom logo, designed locally by Mary Bucholtz of Beechwood Design Company, includes phrases such as “ride as one” and “rise up” — encouraging members of the Peterborough community to come together and support each other through the current stretch of the pandemic.

According to Marshall, this theme’s relevancy stretches beyond Full Tilt, and they’re hoping their fellow local and downtown businesses also experience a revival after this past very tough year.

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“We need people to come back to George Street, to Hunter, to Charlotte, to all of my friends’ businesses who I know do so much for the community,” Marshall explains. “We need people to take the streets back and know this is our home. We need to be leaders and step up and step in. It’s the time for the city to experience this revival.”

Like many locally owned businesses, Full Tilt Cycle consistently gives back to the community through charitable initiatives. Although they had to postpone their annual ‘spinathon’ this year, which raises money for the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation, Full Tilt Cycle has continued to give back to the community throughout the pandemic. For example, last May, the studio held an online dance party with D.J. and Rewind, raising approximately $6,600 for Kawartha Food Share.

Marshall notes they are planning to hold their next spinathon as soon as they can, since they have “a blast” doing it and it was incredibly effective — raising $13,000 for the hospital last year.

Two months before the pandemic hit in 2020, Full Tilt Cycle hosted a spinathon and raised $13,000 for the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. Pandemic permitting, Full Tilt owners Erin Marshall and Sadie Cavanagh are hoping to be able to host another spinathon in summer 2021. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)
Two months before the pandemic hit in 2020, Full Tilt Cycle hosted a spinathon and raised $13,000 for the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. Pandemic permitting, Full Tilt owners Erin Marshall and Sadie Cavanagh are hoping to be able to host another spinathon in summer 2021. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)

“As soon as we can get more people in the studio, that’s the first thing I’m going to plan,” she says. “I’m hoping for a June or July spinathon.”

In the meantime, Marshall and Cavanagh hope and encourage people to visit the studio under the current safety restrictions. Marshall explains since she and Cavanagh are both mothers, they prioritize health and safety and are extra-diligent with cleaning measures.

“We respect where everyone is at, but if you’re thinking about working out, consider Full Tilt Cycle as a great safe amazing workout for your mental health that also supports your downtown Peterborough community,” Marshall says. “We’ve got extra air filters. We’ve got the most die-hard cleaning staff and protocols. You’re not near anyone, and you don’t touch anything.”

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“Our staff has massively stepped up,” adds Cavanagh. “We’ve had to add extra training for them. They have to take temperatures, check-ins are totally different, and the cleaning is a huge undertaking.”

For those interesting in signing up for the first time, Full Tilt Cycle is offering new riders their first week for free. You can book a session by visiting their website at www.fulltiltcycle.com. You can also book through the Mindbody app (available for iOS and Android) or their recently launched Full Tilt Cycle app (available for iOS).

For those who don’t yet feel comfortable coming into the studio for a spin class, but would like to support the studio in other ways, buying gift cards, future memberships, and apparel through their website is a great option. Also, the studio currently offers a virtual membership for $13.99 a month. Virtual memberships provide access to videoed rides which you can do at home, either live or on your own time.

The instructors at Full Tilt Cycle in downtown Peterborough transform the typical stationary workout into a fun and captivating journey that pushes you to your "full tilt". The studio continues to offer private rides that meet COVID-19 protocols for team sports, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and more. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)
The instructors at Full Tilt Cycle in downtown Peterborough transform the typical stationary workout into a fun and captivating journey that pushes you to your “full tilt”. The studio continues to offer private rides that meet COVID-19 protocols for team sports, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and more. (Photo courtesy of Full Tilt Cycle)

Both Marshall and Cavanagh are incredibly grateful to their loyal customers who have continued to support their business throughout the pandemic, keeping their doors open. They look forward to the revival coming for theirs and other downtown business owners in the months to come.

“Every business downtown is run by somebody who had a creative idea and took a chance,” says Marshall. “Supporting those people is super important.”

Full Tilt Cycle Peterborough is located at 188 Hunter Street Peterborough. To learn more about the spin studio and book a ride session, you can visit their website at www.fulltiltcycle.com.

You can support the studio on social media by following them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.