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September 27, 2021

This past Spring, buzz around Columbus’ newest cycle studio began to build when Vinny Purtle, owner of Heartfelt Yoga Studio in the Short North, launched his IndieGogo. As a young LGBTQ+ entrepreneur with a social enterprise business model, Vinny was facing scrutiny from banks and lenders. So, the Heartfelt team sincerely asked their community to help support the very first queer-owned cycle studio in the city; an intentionally inclusive and community-centered space. Now, Heartfelt Cycle Studio in Grandview welcomes gym-goers from all walks of life and continues to grow and serve the Columbus community each day.

We had the amazing opportunity to sponsor one of their bikes during the fundraising period, and together we customized a beautiful bright orange Piada Italian Street Food exercise bike that lives right in the middle of the gym space. We were ecstatic to support Heartfelt’s mission as we not only whole-heartedly believe in what they stand for, they’re just five minutes down the road from our restaurant on Lane Ave.

This Summer, our Team had the chance to chat with Vinny, owner of Heartfelt, and Nancy, one of their instructors, and take some dynamic shots of the bike and their vibrant studio.

Vinny spoke to their mission to create a space where people can explore and find the most authentic version of themselves through movement; a place where all are seen, heard and cherished.

“When we first opened our yoga studio, it was important for us to be visible, and create a more diverse, inclusive space. I saw a lack of that in the Columbus yoga space and wanted to be that change. What’s been really cool to see is that now there are more queer-owned, diverse yoga studios here in Columbus. Now, as we branch out into cycling and are once again the first queer-owned studio in this space, I’d love to see that change in all areas of fitness and wellness here in the city. We want to inspire others to strive for that.”

For Vinny and the Heartfelt team, representation, visibility, and authenticity in their instructors is a north star in their mission.

“Over half of our staff identify as LGBTQ, and more than half are a person of color, and there is intersection there so many are both. We prioritize marginalized identities and bodies so that we can show visibility. It’s not enough for me to just check a box, or say ‘all are welcome here!’ without showing that representation on an instructor level. Also, for me, it’s about allowing my instructors the freedom to explore, and bring something new to Heartfelt. I encourage them to be their authentic self, and have fun with it. My only ask for my instructors is that their classes are fun, safe and inclusive.”

Nancy loves being an instructor at Heartfelt for many of those same reasons.

“I can truly be as creative as I want, as expressive as I want, nothing is rigid, and that’s what really drew me to Vinny and the space. We get to work with like-minded individuals, share movement, share energy, with a class full of people who want to get out there and explore and try things. Being able to share that is really special, the energy here is unmatched.”

A Heartfelt class is more of an experience than just a chance to “knock out your work out.”

“A Heartfelt class feels like coming home to yourself, and to finally have a space where you’re not so concerned about what you’re wearing or if you’re ‘doing it right’, or what anyone else is doing. We don’t compete or compare here, we don’t have any numbers or metrics or tracking in any way. It’s really focused on feeling, and the joy of movement. It’s focused on being present and letting the world wash away for the duration of the class. I like to think of our instructors as guides, and the riders as their own teachers.”

Heartfelt Cycle Studio is located at 1780 W 5th Ave. Click here to check out their site and book their first class. Click here to check out their Instagram.