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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

My Love Letter to Cycling

When I first arrived on campus at the end of the summer, I was met by the super intimidating Nicholas Recreation Center as a looming force facing my dorm, Witte Residence Hall. I was scared to workout at the Nick at first, but since I had always loved going to the gym at home, I couldn’t figure out why. However, once I realized that having a scheduled class made me more motivated to exercise, my whole attitude about going to the Nick seemed to shift. Now, I love the Rhythm Ride and Cycling a few times a week.

The first time I tried a cycling class in the summer of 2022 I absolutely hated it. For a beginners class, I felt that I was so behind everyone else and could not catch-up and was constantly out of breath. That being said, I was nervous to try the classes offered at The Nic, but when a new friend of mine said she would go with me, I used her offer as motivation. Turns out I absolutely loved spin. I loved the feeling of accomplishment and boost of confidence I got when I finished the workout. I loved the themed classes and the motivation from the music to keep riding. I loved the push I felt at the end of every class to finish strong. I just loved how after my first Rhythm Ride class at The Nick I kept wanting to go back for more, instead of feeling drained and defeated like I had after my first cycling class.

Being that I live right in Witte, I feel that I have taken the proximity of The Nick to my room in every advantage I can. The less than three minute walk has become such a luxury that I do not know what I’ll do without next year when I am close to 15 minutes away. Even so, I do know that going to at least three to four classes a week will definitely help to keep my mental and physical health in tact. Aside from just feeling good physically after going to a class, I have also noticed that my mental health has improved as well. I feel more confident, happy and motivated throughout my day. This is why I encourage anyone to go to a class that they thoroughly enjoy at least once a week and not just a general workout routine. With the variety of classes that The Nick has to offer, I believe anyone can find something that makes them feel good about themselves and encourages them to continue to motivate themselves to get to the gym.

By starting to cycle, I found that many areas of my life have improved, aside from just wanting to feel good physically. Socially I’ve felt more confident and had an easier time stepping out of my comfort zone to experiment and explore the Nick on my own. I’ve also felt like my days had more structure and I felt good about doing something good for myself multiple times a week. So, if this love letter to cycling at The Nick taught you anything, I definitely hope it taught you to start going to classes that interest you and make you feel fulfilled, in order to strengthen your physical body and mental well-being. 

Grace Paolillo

Wisconsin '26

Grace is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison! Coming from New Jersey, she is excited to try all the different things that Madison has to offer, including cafes, restaurants, study spots, and game day traditions!