By Paulette Zimmerman
In November 2019, my family opened 1Rider Cycle Studio in Issaquah. We’re the only boutique cycle studio in the surrounding area (covering Snoqualmie, Issaquah, Sammamish & East Bellevue). Our closest competitors are big-house gyms and well-established brand names like SoulCycle, Flywheel or franchises like Cycle Bar. We’re a bit of an underdog, but we are well positioned since there’s no other competitors in our area and I believe we offer a premium ride. But what makes us unique though isn’t just where we’re located and that our product is stellar, but how we came to be & what we stand for.
My husband Lance and I started planning to open our own business about 6 years ago when I joined Amazon. We both have corporate backgrounds, but felt a strong tug to create something of our own. Run our own business that could hopefully, make a difference in other people’s lives. At the time I was also a new mom. I loved how sneaking away to a cycle class was my sanctuary. No one could find me or need me; it was JUST FOR ME. I would leave it feeling rejuvenated, fueled and empowered. It wasn’t long before we looked around our Issaquah area and noticed there was nothing locally. So 1Rider was born. We planned every year, wrote our business doc., worked weekends and grinded to create our own business. We explored doing a franchise, but ultimately felt being on our own (and not under a corporate umbrella) would be the best experience for our future customers.
I left Amazon in June 2019 to pursue this dream full time. This was my big, be bold moment. It was a bit surprising for some folks to see my departure. I had done really well at Amazon and was quickly rising up the ranks. When I left I was the head of global program launches for the Access Point’s team under Last Mile. But, I took this huge risk to leave a comfortable & reliable paycheck to pursue my dream. No regrets.
I now run 1Rider full time and love the community we’re building. I’m a big believer in Hustle (Amazon beat that into me), grit and determination. I now get to share those beliefs with our riders every day. I think our story resonates with a lot of folks that come to our studio. The number one question we get asked is, “Are you a franchise,” and “Are there more locations?” People are surprised our studio is home-grown and are more surprised when they hear our back-story. I hope my bold move can inspire others to bet on themselves, take a risk and chase after the thing they want.