Paula Reed seeks less intimidating gym setting

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Paula Reed, who recently opened Born To Ride Cycle & Fitness, instructs a cycling class at her studio in Beaverton. Directing a class of about 15 indoor cyclists on Monday morning, Paula Reed smiles, laughs, cracks jokes and engages warmly with her clientele at Born to Ride Cycle & Fitness, her brand-new indoor cycling studio at 8223 S.W. Cirrus Drive.

Unlike some fitness trainers, Paula Reed doesn’t feel the need to come across like an army drill sergeant.

“There’s definitely no barking here,” she says. “To get people motivated, I don’t necessarily feel I have to be yelling at them.”

Two weeks into her new business venture, located in Parkside Business Center just north of Hall Boulevard, Reed is confident her style — presented in 50-minute classes geared to all skill levels — lends itself to satisfied customers.

“I’ve noticed my approach goes a long way to getting people to come back,” she says. “People think I’m going to be barking and yelling, then they come in and think, ‘Oh, it’s not so bad after all. I thought it was gonna be one way and it was another.’ For me, fitness should be fun first, so people come back and keep doing it.”

A 1989 Lincoln High School graduate and lifelong Beaverton resident, Reed, 42, got into fitness at an early age, playing soccer in school and skiing. As a student at Oregon State University, she continued soccer though the school’s intramurals program. Upon graduation and career choice time, she found her political science degree was not opening the doors she hoped it would.

“It was hard to find jobs at the time. A friend said, ‘Oh, you should come to the gym with me,’” she says of Gold’s Gym. “I met my husband at the gym and worked there for a couple of years. I got married and left the whole front-desk thing and came back on the fitness side of things.”

Aside from a few years off to raise her children, she’s been in the business of fitness ever since, teaching classes at Crunch, 24-Hour Fitness and the Nike World Headquarters.

Eventually tiring of the corporate fitness center grind, she started thinking about starting her own, more intimate indoor cycling gym — a place that catered to a more low-key kind of clientele.

“My primary motivator was to take one type of group fitness out of the gym setting and really specialize in it,” she says. “To make the experience a little different than what they can get in class, with super top-notch instructors in an awesome setting with top-notch equipment. An environment that sets us apart from just going to the gym and doing the same thing over and over again.”

Born to Ride, whose slogan is “Inspiration. Motivation. Dedication. Fun!” is offering several grand opening packages, including three-, five- and 10-ride packages ranging from $35 to $105. For those who want to cycle whenever they feel like it, the “unlimited ride” package is $99 per month.

Of the challenges in starting a new business, so far the most daunting is marketing and getting Born to Ride’s name out there, “because I’m a fitness instructor,” she says. “It’s definitely a learning experience on that stuff.”

Of course, Reed’s reputation as a popular, motivational instructor helps bring cyclers through the doors.

Cedar Hills resident Nicole Guernsey followed Reed from Crunch Fitness to her new venture. After losing 45 pounds two years ago, she’s a true believer in the cycling routine.

“Indoor cycling is great in Portland, especially since the weather is so hit or miss,” she says, noting the group fitness setting at Born to Ride suits her personality and workout style. “I’m more of a competitive person, so I push myself harder because there’s people around me.”

The process is even better, she adds, when Reed is peddling at the head of the class.

“I like Paula,” Guernsey says. “She’s fiery, funny and makes you work hard. She keeps you accountable and keeps you honest. She cracks jokes and is really motivational.”

Reed says she looks forward to expanding Born to Ride’s offerings to include classes such as yoga and Pilates. For now, she’ll keep peddling while seeking a balance between building a business and having fun.

“I would say it’s more like work, but when you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t seem like work,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s sometimes like, ‘Wow, I did a lot today.’ At the same time, I feel so lucky I get to do this.” by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Paula Reed leads cycle bootcamp classes, small group training and personal training, as well as offers nutritional support and supplements in her new business.

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