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Cycling-only studio puts new spin on working out

Cycling-only studio puts new spin on working out

Charlie "Spook" Hilgartner has gone all in for indoor, or stationary, cycling.

So much so, that he has opened InSync Cycle studio not far from his home in Hunt Valley.

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A certified Spin instructor, Hilgartner, 67, first started to work out on stationary bikes because he "couldn't run anymore."

That led his to take Spinning classes at the Maryland Athletic Club in Timonium, after which he thought he could do better than the instructor.

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After leading classes for several years, Hilgartner decided to see if he could turn his love of Spinning into a business.

First, though, he had to see how he could balance his fulltime job on the technology staff at St. Paul's School for Girls with running a cycle studio that boasts a room full of gleaming Keiser MS cycles.

Moreover, his wife, Anne, a guidance counselor at her husband's alma mater, Calvert Hall, had to sign off on the deal before InSync Cycle opened Feb. 20 in Ashland Marketplace, between the Amish Market and Baja Fresh restaurant.

"I knew it was something he really wanted to do, so I'm there to be supportive," she said. "And he had done all the background work he needed to do, including going to Boston for a conference. He's done all his homework."

Spook Hilgartner is optimistic about what lies ahead for a new enterprise that emphasizes the convenience of low-impact, high-cardio workouts without being locked in to long-term contracts.

In other words, at InSync, you pay as you go.

"The key is getting people in here to try it," he said. "I think people are starting to question big-box gyms. Here, we don't have any dues or monthly fees. It's the right atmosphere and we have great instructors to lead them."

Hilgartner said that InSync has been a "Godsend" in that it kept his mind off the obsessing over his own treatments for prostate cancer after he was diagnosed with the disease four months ago.

While he said his prognosis is excellent, he still has to receive treatments at the Chesapeake Urology Prostate Center in Owings Mills — an area from which Hilgartner says he draws several clients.

One of those, Dr. Errol Rushovich, does not work for Chesapeake. He's an endocrinologist at Mercy Hospital and, on days that he doesn't ride his bike from his Pikesville home to the hospital, he stops by InSync for a workout.

"I prefer to pay as I go, and they have top-notch bikes bike here," he said, noting that 45-minute workouts are a good way to unwind after work.

Not every InSync cycler has as much experience as Rushovich, though.

"What I see here is a mix of people brand-new to cycling all the way up to elite Spinners," said Nancy Caspari, an InSync instructor. "Everybody has to find their own base and then we tweak their workout from there."

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