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Meet Sevana Draayer of Ratio Cycling in East Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sevana Draayer.

Sevana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started participating in cycling activities following a sports-related knee injury in 2012 that required surgery. A self-proclaimed “late-bloomer”, I didn’t start playing full-contact roller derby until in my mid-30s but after seven years, I found myself on a clunky stationary bike in a physical therapy office, bored to tears. Over the course of the next several months of rehab, cycling became my main source of strength and joy. I began attending indoor cycling (the SPIN term is used interchangeably but – fun fact – is a registered trademark). I even purchased a used road bike and competed in my first stage race at 42.

One day, one of my favorite instructors fell ill and reached out to me in hopes I would step in to coach the group the next day. I was beyond nervous but called upon my theater background to “fake it”. I was hooked and immediately scrambled for more education and certifications and became a full-time fitness professional.

But most instructors, I soon learned, rarely work in one studio or gym if they rely solely on coaching as a means of income. Spreading myself over several locations wore thin and I longed to open a boutique cycling studio where I had the permission to buck trends and focus on what I found to be the most beneficial for myself and others: real cycling for real people.

In March of 2018, a Facebook post alerted me to the upcoming sale of a unique cycling and yoga studio in East Hollywood. Before we knew it, my partner Zhenya, and I were mired in the unknown terrain of purchase negotiations and naming our LLC. Everything seemed to happen so quickly and on April 2nd, we assumed ownership. Three years into my cycling journey, I had my studio. A meeting with the studio’s manager, who stayed on board as Senior Coach, gave life to the name Ratio Fitness in compromise of my original idea of Golden Ratio. Soon, when we learned 50% of the space we hoped to lease was leased out to another business, we reduced our offerings from cycling, yoga & HIIT classes to pure cycling and Ratio Cycling was born.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Ha! Let’s just say the road has resembled one of my more challenging classes: uphill climbs at low cadences with tons of resistance, an overflowing swear jar and buckets of sweat and no shortage of tears!

Being first-time business owners can only be likened to having your first child – something neither of us had experience in either. There is truly no blueprint for all of the boxes you need to tick off and the number of experts you need to consult. Ultimately, we’re learning to trust our instincts a lot more when making non-bureaucratic decisions but we never hesitate to reach out to our peers. We’re forming an amazing network of female studio owners who have been so generous with their experience and insight. It’s pretty inspirational when someone most would view as a competitor basically opens their books and sets your expectations on track. We’re pretty lucky in that regard.

Without a frame of context, one of the biggest challenges is not knowing what to expect: is it normal not to turn a profit right away? Do we really need to invest in that fancy equipment? How important is social media anyway? Again, there are lots of “experts” out there and sifting through the advice – solicited and not solicited alike – has been one of the biggest struggles. At the end of the day, our conscience and instincts win out – to what degree of success is TBD!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Ratio Cycling – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Our vision for Ratio Cycling has always been to create a space for everyone to achieve or maintain fitness apart from vanity. Indoor cycling classes can definitely be sexy. And sexy may make you sweat but are you using your time and energy in the most efficient way possible? By using metrics – power output measured in wattage, for example – the individual is able to work to their own personal level of fitness based on numerous factors. We take the guesswork out of the equation by providing real data accurate within +/- 2.5%. While we’re still in in the introductory phase of bringing metrics-based cycling to our client base, many of whom are much more accustomed to “dancing on the bike”, but we’re confident that, over time, our authenticity, transparency and sheer love of the sport will translate into more riders embracing our brand.

We are an extremely small studio boasting only sixteen bikes so attention is individualized. We pride ourselves on knowing our clients by first name and learning about their lives by socializing outside of the studio. We recently visited a local brewery and have a roller-skating party in the works!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Introducing Ratio Cycling to the world meant brining in top-of-the-line equipment to satisfy the unique void in low-impact cardio-based workouts offered in Los Angeles. Our bikes are one of the top monthly expenses but worth every penny. Now that our coaches and members are up to speed (so to speak) on them, we’re in the process of launching RatioMetrix: a leaderboard system that takes the game one step further by figuring in biometric data into the immediate feedback on the big screen and then delivering the tailored results directly to your inbox following your workout. Currently, we are in beta-test mode and hope to roll out the final product in September 2018. We are also hoping that, by publication, our free Ratio Cycling app will be available for download on Google Play and the App Store, which will streamline the scheduling process and provide quick access to personal workout data.

Also, at the time of this interview, a barn-style door is being installed in the studio, simplifying the client’s access to the restroom. 😄

Pricing:

  • First Month of Unlimited Access: $69 (New clients only)
  • Drop-in Rates: $18- $23 per class
  • Class Packs of 5 – 20 range from $80 – $240

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1306 N. Wilton Place
    Hollywood, California
  • Website: https://ratiocycling.com
  • Phone: 323.703.5400
  • Email: hello@ratiocycling.com


Image Credit:

Jesse DeYoung
Nolwen Cifuentes
Mimi Teller

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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