Meet Hilary Rowland, model, fitness lover, co-founder of Boom Cycle and our latest Wow Woman!
After moving to London in 2009, Hilary saw a gap in the market for a spinning studio that could be both fun, accessible, convenient and make you feel good. Boom Cycle was born in 2011 with a vision to empower and to be anything but exclusive; there’s no pretentiousness, no competition, no numbers, just fun and high fives all round.
Boom Cycle’s first studio was in Shoreditch which has then been shortly followed by sites in Holborn, Hammersmith, Battersea and Monument. We sat down with Hilary to learn about her impressive journey and the advice she always takes with her…
What was your dream job when you were younger? Did you ever think you would start your own business?
When I was really young I wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved animals and as I got older that turned into wanting to be a fashion model, which I did as my first career. I had my first shoot in 1995 and continued untill a few years ago…
I discovered ‘spinning’ whist modelling in New York City in 2002 and I have done it ever since. I didn’t consider opening something like Boom Cycle until 2004 when I moved to London and wanted a place to get consistently great classes and realised there was a hole in the market.
In your own words why did you start Boom Cycle?
Initially Boom Cycle was started because I wanted it for myself. After thinking about how we wanted it to be we decided to create a workout experience that people would find fun, actually look forward to and empower them by showing them how strong they are through that experience.
What are you proudest moment so far?
Getting each new studio open is a pretty special feeling and when they start to gain momentum it’s rewarding for sure. I also had a great realisation of how lovely our team was and how close we all are at our wedding in 2016 when the Boom Cycle crew basically took over the dance floor. I realised we had built a family.
Tell us more about your modelling career and how it has helped you to shape your business.
The fact that I used spinning to stay the right size for the clothes all those years let me know it was really effective and that one could get a lot done in a little amount of time. Also, through traveling for the job, I got to ‘spin’ in many different places and pick up many of the different nuances within the experience.
If you were to describe Boom Cycle in three words what would they be?
Bikes. Beats Boom.
What is your favourite music to ride to?
My playlists are usually a mix of heavy house, drum and bass and some hip-hop. I sometimes dabble with a little rock as well. You can check out Hilary’s ultimate ride playlist here.
How do you ensure you always stay true to your core?
For the most part, I say what’s on my mind even when honesty is not the most popular choice.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The thing I enjoy most is seeing riders find their strength and even improve their confidence by realising how powerful they are through Boom Cycle.
What would you say to young women who want to start their own business?
Start. Write it down. You’ll probably re-think it about a million times so it’s the best way to begin.
What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
Learning how to do all the parts of the job that are not the riding part without previous experience. Our strategy was to accept it was going to be hard, pay attention and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Do what it takes.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Just go for it. Life is short. You gotta live it now.
What is the best ‘wellness’ tip you have ever been given?
Get enough sleep.
What does ‘wellness’ mean to you?
Feeling happy and engaged in the balanced life that I have built.
What are some of your favourite ‘wellness’ discoveries?
Wellness is about happiness + healthiness, it’s not about restrictions and punishing yourself. And it’s up to you to decide the details!
Everyone practices yoga/Pilates for different reasons. When did you start and why?
I practice reformer Pilates because it’s a great way to stretch and strengthen and its also really efficient. I go to a studio where it’s incredibly challenging and I like that.
Mindfulness or Meditation?
Music and Gratitude.
What do you do in your downtime?
Travel, cook, drink nice wine with friends and dance.
Where do you go to ground yourself?
What are your favourite London hotspots?
We live in the new Battersea Power Station Development so we are really spoiled for places to eat and drink – Vagabond, Fiume, Wright Brothers, Tonkatsu, Mother, No. 29 – they are all amazing… I am having my birthday party this year at El Pastor’s new place in London bridge – they opened up a spot called Tortillaeria El Pastor (a tortilla factory) with a space for drinks and food and they have ACE tacos! I love tacos. And margaritas.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Next to my husband, Robert Rowland.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Music. Guacamole. Red Wine.
What is your quote of the day every day?
Life is for living.
What is your single piece of advice to the next generation of women?
You have always had the power. You just have to remember it.
Who is your ‘Wow Woman’?
I have so many. All my besties are total bad-asses! They are business women, leaders, doctors, fabulous Mom’s, artists, etc. I am very proud of my ladies.
If you could only live in one item of Asquith clothing what would it be?
I love the long hareem, bamboo yoga pants. They look great and are SOOO comfy… I can wear them in meetings and also to chill.
Asquith customers new to Boom Cycle can use the code BOOM4ASQUITH18 to get an intro offer or 3 rides for £20 instead of £29. Boom Cycle terms and conditions apply. (Listed on the website.) One per person, new riders only. Valid through June 15th