Nickel City Gritty: BikeorBar


Exercise and I have a complicated relationship.

I love working out, but I have to be doing something other than walking on a treadmill otherwise I won’t do it. I need to be challenged and the workout has to be fun, and I feel like a lot of people that I know are like this!

A few years ago I was looking to get into spinning, and after a little bit of research I stumbled upon BikeorBar, located in the heart of the Elmwood Village. At first I was HELLA nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but after the first class I was hooked. Not only did I fall in love with spinning, but I’m kind of obsessed with their Ratchet Twerk class. Yes, you heard me correctly…twerk. I’m going to tell you right now that this class is the most intense workout that I’ve experienced, yet it’s insanely fun and energizing. You know it’s good when I actually look forward to getting my ass kicked every week.

The powerhouses behind BikeorBar are the mother-daughter team of Alex and Brit. They are such a joy to be around. They are crazy passionate about their business and the fitness world and are so down to earth and hilarious. Take a listen to the playlist below while you read all about these kickass women!

This is Nickel City Gritty, and this is Alex and Brit of BikeorBar.

BikeorBar Cycling

Tell me about how BikeorBar got started.

Alex: I was going to a “big box” gym, and I was taking a lot of spinning classes and the bikes at the place I was at were so old and we had to move them out every time after because another class was coming in. The instructors were okay but sometimes they would cancel classes and there would be no notice and you would show up and there would be nobody there, and sometimes I’d get there and there was a line and you couldn’t get a bike, and then sometimes I’d get there and things would be so broken down and they’d cancel the class. Also, I had an instructor that I really liked but she had the exact same playlist every time for over a year. I thought, “I think I can do this better.” Now, in retrospect, what was I thinking? *laughs* So when I rented this place and started remodeling, I’m not normally an anxiety ridden person, but I found it hard to catch my breath! I had no working knowledge, and even though I have degrees, I never took a business course in my life. This was eight years ago, and there were no other boutique studios in the area, so nobody even knew what the heck Mind Body was, and it took a while to convince people to pay for what they were getting for free. It took three months to renovate the space and coordinate mirrors and lights, and took less than three weeks to get the back of the studio up and running. It was fast. We did all of the work ourselves.

Brit Leo

Now on to the fun questions! If you could describe your personal style, how would you do it?

Brit: I’d say I’m kind of like Sporty Spice. I like to look pretty, but I also like to feel comfortable. Like she makes fun of me when I wear Converse shoes, but I like to be comfy and ready to work out at any time. I don’t know if someone’s gonna call me in to jump on a bike, so I want to be cute but ready to work out. So I would say Sporty Spice-ish.

A: I’m more Posh!

B: Yeah you are!

A: I don’t think I’m as sporty. It took me a while to become sporty, although I’ve always done athletics. I like to get dressed up but I think I’m just into comfort now.

B: You don’t go anywhere anyways.

A: She’s right, I don’t go anywhere. I just try to evolve with the times. Every year I’m trying to stay hip but it’s getting harder. *laughs*

B: I really have no clothes to do anything other than work out in! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Like, if I have a dinner to go to, I don’t have anything to wear!

A: That’s why I do Rent the Runway!

bikeorbar elmwood

Where do you look for inspiration?

B: I feel like I’ve been on Instagram a lot looking at other studios in other cities and seeing what they’re doing.

A: Same. When I was younger it used to be going out and you would get that but now it’s definitely social media and TV. You wouldn't believe the difference in the last 30 years how everything has changed.

B: I really love going to other cities and taking a class somewhere else and seeing what their studio is like. Every time I go out of town I try to take at least a class or a bootcamp or spinning to see what it’s like.

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

B: I had a group of 17 year olds and they are in a program to do fitness, and they sent me a text after and said it was really inspiring and motivating and they really enjoyed the class. I really like working with kids that age, for sure. I feel like I can relate to them a little bit.

A: I think people say that they didn’t realize that there’s so much more to me than just a “spinning instructor.” I know music and I know trivia and I’m super silly on the mic, so people don’t expect that. I get compliments like that once in a while. I like that a lot. Anyone can get certified to be a spinning instructor, and that’s great, but you can’t buy personality and that’s the most important thing.

Alex Bikeorbar

If a theme song played every time you entered the room, what would it be?

A: Aside from “Isn’t She Lovely?”

B: There’s that “White girl’s got some ass” song by Flo Rida! *laughs* They actually say my name in the song, too!

A: Well, I go by “Island Girl” on the screen, and I was nicknamed that in high school, so it would have to be that.

What is your spirit animal?

A: Yours has to be a lion because of your mane.

B: And my last name?

A: And you’re not easy to deal with. And when you’re hungry you’re a beast!

B: Okay thanks for figuring out mine…let’s get to yours please!

A: I don’t know what I’d be…this is tough!

B: Maybe a unicorn or something?

A: I’d say more of a mermaid.

bikeorbar fitness

What is a misconception that people have about you?

B: They probably think I don’t really work, and that I just kind of galavant and travel, like, “Oh yeah Brit Leo’s just hanging out and twerking!” No, I actually do a lot of frickin’ work, too. I think people don’t know that.

A: You think that? I think people know that you work.

B: I think people think that you like to do stuff and you don’t. She’ll respond that she’s going to a Facebook event and I’m like, you haven’t left the house!

A: I have a very small circle of friends. I think people might think that I’m more outgoing than I actually am. I don't do things. I want to, though.

B: You do?!?

A: Well, no. *laughs*

What are some small things that make your day better?

B: Coffee.

A: Hearing from my kids. I follow them on social media but it’s not the same!

B: And you’re like the first person to watch my stories!

A: Okayyy…you’re welcome!

B: Little things like the text that I got yesterday about that class really make my day.

A: That’s true. You rarely hear good stuff, you only hear bad stuff, so I love to hear nice things like that. And we always pass it on. When my kids and employees are happy, that makes me happy.

Brit Bikeorbar

What’s on your playlist?

A: I love 70’s music. We do a theme ride every Friday and I wanted to do Motown or The Rat Pack and she won’t let me! That’s another thing people would be surprised to hear- that I don’t listen to the music that I play. I’m the oldest instructor and I probably play the freshest music.

B: That’s true!

A: I do like 70’s and 60’s music. I also de-stress by listening to comedy on Sirius radio. It works! I also like listening to podcasts that will teach you something. I really have a thirst for knowledge.

B: So I can’t listen to music anymore just to listen to it because I make so many playlists every week and I listen to so much music. I have no interest in listening to music when I’m relaxing! I listen to Sirius XM or podcasts or something. I need to hear a voice, I can’t listen to singing. I like TED Talks and stuff.

bikeorbar buffalo

What was the first thing you bough with your own money?

A: I used to buy candy all the time when I was a kid! My parents used to give me a quarter a week and candy was a penny.

B: I was thinking when I was younger that I used to buy clothes that you did not approve of, like my big JNCO jeans. She hid them on me at one point! I was so distraught and losing my mind!

A: I think the first thing I ever bought when I got a serious check was that I took them on a vacation. It was me, Brit and TJ and we had never been on a serious vacation before. I took them to Disney and that was pretty much my first big purchase.

What are some of your favorite bars or restaurants in Buffalo?

B: I love Sea Bar…that Beef on Weck roll is so good. I stopped drinking so I don’t really go to bars.

A: I love pho and stuff like that. Any type of Vietnamese food I love. We have some great restaurants here in Buffalo. I like Sea Bar a lot too.

B: I like Hutches and Gypsy Parlor, too.

A: Gypsy Parlor has a really cool vibe.

Alex Bikeorbar Elmwood

If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

B: I’d love to meet Frida Kahlo.

A: There’s so many comedians that I’d love to meet. Even though Robin Williams drives me nuts I would have loved to meet him as a human. I’d love to pick their brain and see how they think. I love witty people like George Carlin and Greg Giraldo.

What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t see the point of?

A: I think young girls are just obsessed with themselves and I don’t get it. They are obsessed with themselves.

I think it’s because the social media age.

B: Exactly!

A: And I think they’re obsessed with guys, too.

B: Don’t chase men.

A: It’s so much more fun to be with your girlfriends! And you know what else I don’t get? All this plastic surgery. Botox and the fillers and juviderm and nose jobs and crazy lips and butt implants…whatever they’re doing!

B: Butt implants are really weird!

A: And people that are getting botox and stuff like that in their early 20’s, what is that gonna look like when you get older? Can’t even imagine. I don’t understand the obsession with that. It’s too much. It’s overload.

B: How the hell do people have all of the time and money do all of this stuff? This is too much work!


And the last question that I always ask is, what do you want to be when you grow up?

A: I think I’m here where I want to be.

B: I don’t want to grow up, I feel like it’s a trap.

A: We’d like to learn how to manage our business without it managing us. We’re not there but we’re working on it. When you have your own business it’s so hard because nobody else cares as much as you do and nobody is gonna put in as much time as you put in. We’re not control freaks but we have a hard time pulling back and letting things go. It’s so hard.

B: That’s a good point. You’re really good at this. And at everything. I want to be her when I grow up. *laughs*