August 14, 2019
A former marketing executive, Tammeca Rochester opened Harlem Cycle in 2016 after recognizing the limited fitness facility options in the neighborhood. A fan of cardiovascular workouts, Tammeca wanted to provide an experience through her cycling studio that catered specifically to the Harlem community, who face high rates of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
When Tammeca needed equipment financing to expand her startup cycling studio in October 2016, she visited the Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF), which she discovered through a fellow business owner who attended one of HEF’s business workshops.
Receiving an initial loan of $9,000, Tammeca was able to grow the studio’s vast array of fitness classes including indoor cycling, combination cycling, weight training, and sculpt classes, in addition to facility amenities like towels, lockers, and state-of-the-art indoor stationary bikes.
Harlem Cycle also began generating additional income through fitness retreats, instructor training programs, private parties, and merchandise sold in its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores, including customized athletic wear, cycling shoes, and non-athletic branded apparel.
Since HEF’s first loan to Harlem Cycle, the business has progressed tremendously—so much so that HEF recently granted Harlem Cycle a second loan for $20,000 to open a new cycling studio on Harlem’s 125th Street. With HEF’s loan capital and 40 hours of free advisory services provided through its Growth Path program, Harlem Cycle has experienced a 52 percent increase in sales since 2017.
Expressing gratitude for HEF’s business support, Tammeca stated, “While it can be very difficult to secure a loan as a minority business owner, HEF was the first CDFI willing to provide me with the opportunity and capital needed to expand my business.”
Not only is Harlem Cycle contributing to improved health outcomes for those in the local community, the business is also creating quality job opportunities, currently employing seven independent contractors, with plans to hire three additional instructors.