At Rock Cycling + Studios, owner Albert Lee said he has the best seat in the house.
“I have a unique vantage point, because I can see people get benefit out of exercise,” Lee said. “It’s always immediate. They might come in a little off-kilter, but they leave smiling.”
Lee signed a two-month lease and opened his pop-up indoor cycling studio on the north side of Town Center Plaza, 5053 W. 117th St., Leawood, on Jan. 8. He recently extended the lease another month. He has about 30 bikes in a “theatrical environment” with two 75-inch TV screens and theater level sound system.
Lee also is teaming up with other area fitness centers on special sessions. He recently combined a 45-minute yoga class with a 45-minute indoor ride. Other rides feature visual storytelling like one with images as if the cyclists were going up a mountain.
“The Kansas City fitness community is pretty tight. It’s a tough game going against the ‘big boys’ — the centers with corporate backing,” he said. “But if you do things the right way you can grow the business.”
Lee grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1994. He worked in hospital administration and met his future wife, Katie. After she finished law school they relocated to Kansas City. They now have three children: Jacob, 6; Naomi, 4; and James, 2.
Lee has worked in the Kansas City fitness industry for a decade and has been planning the Rock Cycling + Studios concept for about 18 months.
For customer Katie Chaney, Lee’s class will help her get in shape for century rides (rides of 100 miles) that she plans to do this year. Chaney recently rode her bike in from Brookside for a Sunday afternoon class.
Drop-in prices are $14 a class. Customers also can sign up for five classes for $60 or 10 classes for $110 and other specials.
Lee is currently looking at locations in the area for a permanent spot.
Johnson County restaurant updates
▪ Cacao Restaurante plans a mid-March opening in the former Kokopelli restaurant building.
Ivan Marquez, founder of Frida's Contemporary Mexican Cuisine, is a partner in the new restaurant with Victor Esqueda and his nephew, Alfonso Esqueda.
They’ve spent the last few months renovating and brightening the space at 5200 W. 95th St., Prairie Village. Menu items will include shrimp jicama tacos, pollo en mole, shrimp fettuccine, cactus salad and burritos like the chicken in barbacoa sauce, along with fresh juices.
▪ The Big Biscuit has temporarily closed its restaurant at 5400 W. 95th St., Prairie Village, for remodeling. It plans to reopen by Saturday. The new decor will feature reclaimed barn wood and custom signs and lighting.
▪ If all goes as planned, McAlister’s Deli will open its new Shawnee restaurant, 11330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, on March 18.
McAlister’s Deli, which was founded in 1989, is a fast casual restaurant chain offering a variety of sandwiches, stuffed baked potatoes, soups, salads, desserts and sweet tea.