Black Business

New York City’s First Black-Owned Cycle Center Opens a Second Location by Successfully Tapping Into a Sense of Community


There are a ton of places in New York City to take a cycle class, and Tammeca Rochester tried more than a few. But none of them seemed the right fit. Either the music wasn’t hitting, or she felt like an outsider. 

Harlem Cycle founder Tammeca Rochester. (Photo from @tammeca_rochester Instagram)

So she decided to open up the Big Apple’s first Black-owned cycle center in Harlem.

Harlem Cycle was founded in February 2016. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Rochester was able to open a second Harlem location in 2021.

She debuted a product through which Harlem Cycle members could continue their exercise routine. “We then recorded and developed our on-demand platform and created Harlem Cycle at Home, a full wellness platform featuring cardio, cycling, sculpt and strength workouts, recipes, cooking demos, mobility work, and family fitness fun,” Rochester said.

“We did daily live-streams mat-based classes and also took our team outdoors and held classes in the park. We continued our community events and offered free outdoor bike rides, hikes, and family-run/walks to make sure we were doing our part to keep all of Harlem healthy.”

When Rochester, a former Colgate-Palmolive marketing manager, opened the first Harlem Cycle, she had no idea it would take off. Currently, she has more than 12,100 members, but in the beginning, Harlem Cycle started as a niche venture.

Niche venture or not, cycling studios generate 55 percent more revenue than other fitness studios, according to 2016 data.

Rochester came up with the concept in 2015, created a business plan, and in 2016 Harlem Cycle opened.

“I didn’t feel that I could turn Harlem Cycle into a big success at all. I just knew that I wanted a space where I could belong, where music that I loved would be played, where I could connect with my community. We could work on our health together, and I saw it wasn’t going to happen the way I envisioned it unless I did it myself,” says Rochester, who teaches classes as well.

Read full story at Finurah here.


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