I come from an accounting background with roles as a fund accountant in Boston, tax accountant and auditor in Greenwich, and my latest role as a financial controller in Norwalk,” explained Victor Mendez. “Although my true passions always lay in science and engineering.”
But that doesn’t mean that Mendez is a full-time desk jockey. His interests in fitness in general and cycling in particular took him in a direction far removed from the ledger or the space-time continuum.
“A little over a year ago, I thought that I wanted my own business,” he recalled. “I was trying to figure out what to do. I went to SoulCycle and fell in love with the concept. I wasn’t sure at the time I was able to do this. But as time progressed, I said, ‘Why not? Let’s give it a shot.’ ”
Mendez weighed the virtues of the SoulCycle chain of cycling gyms and sought to take it to a higher level, both aesthetically and athletically. “The idea was to bring a chic, industrial-feel, New York City-style gym to Fairfield and load it up with features not found in other local boutique studios,” he continued. “At the same time, I want to keep that friendly, social environment where anyone can come and know they have a friend behind the desk or rocking the stage on a bike.”
Mendez located his startup CYCD cycle gym on the site of a former personal training studio at 2179 Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield, with the Elements Massage salon and a Vitamin Shoppe retailer as his immediate neighbors and a Starbucks franchise two doors down.
The core of CYCD is the cycling studio that includes 27 high-performance Stages bikes with power meters and displays for data tracking. The space also offers a rear projector for displaying leader board information, as well as theme rides and music videos presented in high fidelity immersive sound. The audio elements of CYCD were of particular concern to Mendez, who took charge of the construction and installation within the space and was careful not to antagonize his new neighbors with decibel-overload sound.
“I wanted to make sure when I built it out that I didn’t disturb them,” he said. “I’ve always been handy, but this was a whole new thing. I had to teach myself soundproofing and I came up with a few tricks to silence the sound coming out of the room. I did a lot of research as far as the engineering of the walls. Lower frequencies are harder to contain, so I cut the concrete in half — thus, the whole floor would not transmit into Elements Massage.”
CYCD provides complimentary cycling shoes and post-workout eucalyptus-infused chilled towels.
Any fatigue experienced during the workout cannot be blamed on the space, Mendez noted, because he fitted CYCD’s HVAC system with an economizer to keep fresh air circulating during workouts.
Seven instructors are part of the CYCD team — and for those who aren’t up for the cycling, the space also features LED-lit stadium seating for observers to take a rest.
Mendez estimated his startup costs were in the range of $250,000, though he added his do-it-yourself construction efforts helped to keep labor costs down. CYCD had a soft opening in November, with a full-blown grand opening event set for Jan. 19.
Moving into 2019, Mendez is planning to use the CYCD space to host music and stand-up comedy shows, as well as community events designed to help local charities.
“I see this as a cycle gym and community space,” he said, adding that he is kicking off the opening of CYCD with Groupon discounts that knock 55 percent off the price for five and 10 cycling classes. “I want to keep costs to members low. You can’t focus on community if you’re excluding part of the community.”