Amina Daniels wants to give Detroit cyclists another place to ride besides local streets and greenways.
The winner of this year's Detroit Hatch entrepreneurship contest plans to use her $50,000 prize grant to open an indoor cycling studio in the Motor City called Live Cycle Delight. In addition to exercise bicycles, the space will feature a bike lounge, fitness equipment and juice bar. If everything goes as planned, Live Cycle Delight should open its doors on New Year's Day 2016.
Daniels has not yet picked out a spot, although she is scouting Eastern Market and Midtown for possible locations. Her goal is to create a place where fitness-minded folks can get a low-impact workout and cycling enthusiasts can hang out or take a short break while traveling across town. As a professional yoga instructor and health buff, Daniels also hopes her studio will serve as an introduction to the world of indoor fitness for a lot of local bike lovers.
Running a storefront is nothing new for the peppy native Detroiter. Prior to returning to Motown, she lived for six years in New York City, where she managed several retail stores. Although Daniels led a happy existence in the Big Apple, she was lured back by a desire to be part of her hometown's economic recovery.
Shortly after returning, however, she was involved in a debilitating accident that—as fate would have it—set her on the path to starting her own studio.
"Two months into moving back I got hit by a car on my bike. I broke my ankle in two places. My jaw and my knee is still messed up," she says. "When you get hit by a car, it takes so long to mend. I spent a lot of time in physical therapy and rehabbing. I wasn't able to bike outdoors anymore. So I kind of fell in love with indoor cycling."
Last year, attending a program called Retail Boot Camp sponsored by TechTown, a local business incubator, Daniels got wind that a baked good company called Sister Pies had won the Detroit Hatch competition.
"A few people were like: 'That's pretty ambitious. That's $50,000.' I was like: 'I'm going to enter the contest and I'm going to win.' So I spent the whole year getting my business plan in order."
The contest, which is sponsored by Comerica Bank, is partially determined by public voting. Through a combination of good business planning and savvy social marketing, Daniels was able to emerge as the contest’s victor in August, an experience she describes as “surreal.”
Daniels wants to bring a contemporary twist to her space and feature a cold-pressed juice bar, hydration station where folks can refill their water bottles, and bike lounge.
Live Cycle Delight will offer indoor cycling classes and also sponsor outdoor cycling meet-ups that stress safe riding practices. The concept of a bike lounge may be new to many Detroiters. Daniels envisions hers as a spot where local cyclists can relax and meet other riders.
Right now, Daniels has her mind set on keeping Live Cycle Delight open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Visitors to the studio will be able to pay a drop in rate, enroll in classes or pay a fee for unlimited monthly access to the facility.
Asked how Live Cycle Delight will fit into the city's existing cycling community, Daniels says, “Right now, Detroit has a big outdoor bike scene, which isn't necessarily focused around fitness, so this is going to be good," she says. "I think that this provides a seamless transition for people who like to ride outdoors to try something new and go indoors."