Rider Spotlight: Jen

by Mal – Friday, 20. October 2017


At Velocity we’re all about Mind, Body & Music, but, just as important is the fact that we’re a community. So, to make sure each class is not just a party but a reunion, we’d like to tell you about Jen’s story, ‘It Takes a Village: How Velocity Helped Me Find Community in Zurich”. Read on to learn more.



It Takes a Village: How Velocity Helped Me Find Community in Zurich


Zurich is the 3rd city I’ve ever lived in.

Have you ever seen the movie Fargo? I hail about 300 kilometers NORTH of there, a city of around 1 million people, called Winnipeg. Often the butt of many jokes on various television series and late night talk shows, and other than being freezing cold in the winter, it is known to be the friendliest city in Canada. Additionally, I come from an Italian family and an overly tight knit community where friends become integrated into your family (and why Italians tend to have so many “cousins”).

I started competing in sports at a young age – first as a gymnast, then as a soccer player and coach, so I was heavily a part of two big athletic communities across the city and province. Forming inevitably close friendships within these communities is driven by the positive and negative experiences shared, be it: countless weekends spent on bus trips while your “other friends” are living normal, teenage lives; taking that dreaded step after your uneven bar dismount costing a provincial title; unwavering support through family hardships, injuries or breakups; marginally missing the net as the last shooter in overtime penalty shots during the championship game; fundraising to travel further and train harder. You celebrate the highs and embrace the lows together, as a team, and as a community.

When I moved to Toronto initially as a student and called it home for nearly a decade, it didn’t take long before I was a part of different communities there: university, gym, yoga, young women in business, volunteer groups, indoor cycling, etc. because after all, being part of communities is what I valued and really, all I knew.

3 Years ago my husband and I moved to Zurich and one of the first things I did was sign up for a gym membership, and I looked to make friends and break into a community in my new city. I remember trying to make conversation at the gym and people would stare at me like I had done something wrong, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I guess I had!

When I realized that small talk as an attempt to dive into a deeper conversation was not a well received approach, I began trying to target people wearing #Lululemon – a Canadian brand known for being part of different athletic communities- as a way of finding people with common ground as they must be gym addicts too, right? While this seemed to work somewhat, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Velocity (literally) while on the way home from a run one fine Sunday afternoon, that without knowing it at the time, I had found what I was looking for.

As I peered in the window, Travis welcomed me in, and I recognized Rolf from his amazing and killer classes at my previous gym – the three of us started talking and it took all of few minutes to feel like home. With her friendly disposition, Mal then appeared at the front and invited me to join one of their “family and friends” rides, as the studio had not yet opened. So I went. And then I went a couple more times. And then I bought a ten pack, a few 3’s, and a 6-month. Hooked.

Yes, the classes and instructors are amazing but it’s not only the epic classes (if they were dicks, I wouldn’t care how good the classes were—can I say that? F*ck it, I said it). Because Velocity is a warm and inviting place, it attracts people who value this too, and without trying, creates a community in itself. From the point of walking in, you instantly feel like you’re a part of something, and that contrary to many other fitness clubs, is not a transactional relationship, and heck, you’re burning hundreds of calories while you’re at it: #winning. At Velocity, it’s normal to genuinely be asked how your weekend was, how that project is going at work, how your family is doing and vice versa. And so, it didn’t take long before I was meeting fellow riders for drinks or brunch post-class, or hosting a group of newfound teammates for dinner.

It’s been great to feel a part of a community once again and I can only imagine what’s to come as Velocity continues to evolve, because after all, it takes a village to raise the best.