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Boutique bike-oriented fitness studio slated to open in West Lawrence

Talk about your different type of biker bar. You may want to leave your leather pants at home. (Unless this new establishment has an awful lot of baby powder to deal with the chaffing.)

RydeBarre is set to open in West Lawrence early next month, and it will feature plenty of bikes and a bar. But the bikes aren't big, rumbling Harleys, and the bar isn't the type that leaves you rumbling after serving you from a bottle with a worm in it. (At least, I hope that was a worm.)

No, the bikes are stationary bicycles, and the bar is a ballet barre. (Intriguing. Mikhail Baryshnikov doing a very graceful keg stand, perhaps?) No. I mean an actual ballet barre attached to the wall — the type that inspires you to kick your leg up high and then realize you haven't actually stretched out your hamstring in approximately 38 years.

Perhaps I should just let one of the owners of the establishment describe the business.

"Think of us like a boutique fitness studio," said co-owner Eliza Hale. "We specialize in indoor cycling and conditioning classes."

The business is opening in the shopping center at Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive. Hale and fellow co-owner Susie Wilson believe the cycling portion of the business will be unlike any other in Lawrence. The business is featuring the RealRyder brand of stationary bike, which isn't exactly stationary. The RealRyder brand sways back and forth and moves up and down to mimic the movements of a real bike.

"It requires you to use your whole body," Hale said. "It simulates an outdoor ride a little more, and it is just more fun."

The business won't operate on a membership model. Instead, people will be able to just drop in for a class — $12 is the current drop in rate — or people can sign up for packages of classes.

As for the "barre" part of the business, it will be used to offer "ballet-inspired sculpting classes."

"It is pilates based, with a little bit of yoga and some dynamic stretching involved. It builds lean muscle mass," Hale said. "It is done at a fast pace, so you burn fat."

Co-owner Susie Wilson has been a longtime cycling instructor at a local health club, and Hale has long dreamed of owning her own exercise business, she said. The pair is still finalizing its hours of operation, but expects to offer weekday classes from about 5:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then early evening classes beginning at about 5 p.m. The studio, which will feature 14 bikes, also will have a full set of weekend classes.

The business hopes to open in early October. Now, while I'm waiting for that date to arrive, how do you get out of these leather pants?

•••

Right next to the RydeBarre business will be West Lawrence's newest Mexican restaurant. Tres Mexicanos has signed a lease to go into the space previously occupied by El Mezcal, Amy Sanchez, a representative with the shopping center's property management firm, Block Real Estate Services, told me.

I still haven't been able to get in touch with the manager of Tres Mexicanos to get more details about the timeline for the opening, even though I spent a good amount of time at the restaurant's location at 23rd and Harper eating several dozen tacos over a recent lunch hour. (Or was it a recent lunch two-hour?) But Sanchez said Tres Mexicanos officials had told her the new restaurant will be another location for the business, not a replacement for its eastside restaurant.

The Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive shopping center is getting new tenants as work begins to wrap up on the road reconstruction near the intersection. Sanchez said the shopping center has survived the construction well enough. Once RydeBarre and Tres Mexicanos open, the center will have only one vacant space left to fill.

Sanchez also is involved with the remaking of another large project just across the street from the shopping center. She's the property manager for the Bella Serra condo development, which was sold at a sheriff's auction in 2011. The property in early 2012 then was sold to a Wichita-based investment group. Since that time, Sanchez said activity at the multistory condo development has been strong.

"Every condo in the building has sold at least once now," Sanchez said. "It has been a nice turnaround."

That represents a significant increase in activity at the complex. At the time of the sheriff's sale, 24 of the 37 condo units were vacant.

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