Journey is a place I’ve been wanting to try ever since I knew of its existence. It is the brainchild of Syed Harris Umar, a former instructor from Fly Project, whose classes I used to attend religiously. They were challenging classes but there was an energy to it that I really looked forward to. Evidently, many other people thought so, too, because it was nearly impossible to book a bike for his class. As the saying goes, “Getting a spot in Harris’ class is like winning the lottery.” Sometimes, the waiting list is so long that they have to stop letting people put themselves on it!
When an instructor like this opens his own cycling studio, you know you have to pay a visit.
My Journey Experience
Journey is located in Plaza Zurich in Bukit Damansara (M-01, Mezzanine Floor). Location-wise, it’s not so ideal for me. Being in a business area, street parking is difficult unless you’re there at off-peak hours. There is parking in the building, though – it cost me RM12 for 2 hours.
For my trial, I signed up for the starter package. It costs RM99 for 3 classes with a 2 week expiry after activation.
Journey offers classes in three levels of difficulty:
- Embark – Easy
- Rise – Intermediate
- Peak – Hard
The starter package allows you to take classes in the Embark and Rise categories.
Class 1: Fazry
I’ve never been to any of Fazry’s classes before but he came highly recommended by a Mama I admire and respect. If she says he’s good, that’s good enough for me.
My first class with Fazry was a Rise class. True to testimony, it was a really good class. I haven’t the words to describe the class other than that it was “fun” – if torturing yourself can be described as such.
Aside from being a spin instructor, Fazry is also a Music Producer, DJ, and Sound Designer. It’s not surprising that his music is so appealing. In all honesty, I’m not a person who hears the music when I work out. For me, it’s just something I feel – whether it works for me or it doesn’t. Fazry’s music felt “right”. When you’re down and struggling to keep going, you need “that” song that makes you want to rise up and keep going. Fazry had “that” song perfectly selected in the right place.
My Garmin stats: a challenging class that took me right to my limits without tipping me over. Hope to see the progress in my fitness development if I can keep this up.
Class 2: Nazeem
Nazeem is another favourite instructor of mine so I might be biassed. Although, I think you can trust me when I say he’s good. I used to attend his classes when he was an instructor at Fly and they were also really difficult to book. It was hard to say whose classes were harder to get – Nazeem’s or Harris’!
I was so eager to snag this class that I didn’t even notice it was an Embark class. Not that it mattered because Nazeem took it to the next level when he discovered there weren’t any beginners attending anyway. Besides, as Nazeem pointed out, it’s up to you to challenge yourself.
Personally, easy or difficult, I always take those as a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule. Whether you want to turn up or down the resistance, ride faster or slower, it is really up to you. I confess that I have the annoying habit of walking to the beat of my own drum. The reason I keep my head down in class is so I can shut out the rest of the room and follow my inner rhythm. I don’t want to notice what that girl is doing on bike 2 in the corner or how fast that guy is pedaling on the far right. Don’t mind what others are doing, just mind yourself.
Class 3: Harris
Yes. I made it to a Harris class! It was another Embark class, but that was probably a good thing. After a heavy workout week – just coming back to my full routine after the Covid-19 disruption – I was pretty much dead by the time I got to Harris’ class. In retrospect, a rest day was probably in order, but there was no way I was going to give up my hard booked bike. Harris classes don’t come by easily so you take whatever you get.
It might have been a beginner’s class; to my body, it was anything but. The mind was willing but the body just wouldn’t listen. Couldn’t double time, couldn’t keep pace on the heavy resistance, couldn’t do anything. Despite my far from stellar performance, my stats were still screaming. It reminded of my early Harris classes when I had to stop mid-ride so I didn’t throw up. This time, I am glad that I managed to keep going, if only slower and with less resistance.
I would have liked to have done better but I remind myself that I have not been back to full pelt for long. It has been a while since I’ve worked out this hard and it takes time to get back my fitness. Off days are to be expected and we must take them in stride. Pull back, reassess, and come back stronger.
Overall Class Experience
There are a few things I really like about Journey classes that I have noticed is consistent across all three classes that I’ve done:
- Clear instructions and good count downs. I’m probably one of the most uncoordinated persons around. I like the way all the instructors prepare us for the introduction of new moves and move changes. It’s clear and easy for me to follow.
- Music/Speaker Volume – in cycling classes like these, it is easy for the instructor’s voice to be drowned out by the volume of the music. I have hearing problems – I find it hard to differentiate voices from background noises. I like that Journey has found the right balance between music volume and the instructor’s speaker volume. I can always hear what they’re saying and the music is loud enough for me to feel the beat drumming in my heart.
I’ve already told you what I think about the location. The place, however, has a cosy ambience. It feels like a meeting spot for friends. I love the personal touch of the assigned lockers that contain your cycling shoes in your size.
Then there’s this beautiful corridor of mirrors that feels like it was designed for camwhoring. Don’t mind if I do…
The bikes are Schwinn USA A.C. Performance Plus. I like these bikes because I can feel the change in resistance when I turn the knob. The cleats are Shimano SPD – which I prefer because they’re easier to clip in and out of.
The studio is small with a maximum of 22 bikes per class. That means optimal mirror views for most bikes if you like to check out your form while you’re cycling. There are showers in the changing room, but I haven’t tried those so no comment.
Overall, my experience at Journey was great. The only thing I really have to pick on is the location. It is less convenient for me to get to compared to my usual haunts, but I had so much fun. I think I will definitely be back.