Meet The Spinning Sisters & Founders of CruCycle Singapore | Bebe & Valerie Ding
Inspired by LA's fitness scene, Singaporean sisters Bebe and Valerie Ding decided to put their own spin on things (see what we did there?) back home and open CruCycle, Singapore's very first cycling studio. Much like a spin class, opening CruCycle has been one hell of a ride with plenty of ups and downs and its fair share of those "how do I keep going?" moments. But it's clear there's no stopping these two, and we're loving the Cru.
How did the idea for CruCycle came about?
Bebe: We used to live in LA, where people are crazy about fitness. There were so many fitness classes we would go all the time, and we wanted to bring something back to Singapore where, at the time, fitness wasn’t a big part of the lifestyle.
What did you love about spinning so much, that you were inspired to open your own studio?
Bebe: We really enjoyed the music aspect of it. It’s the experience; you’re in a dark room spinning to music you would hear on a night out with your friends. We felt Singapore lacked something cool that fuses music, working out and this great energetic vibe all in one.
Valerie: In the beginning, because spin was so new to Singapore, a lot of girls had this misconception that spinning made your thighs bigger. Because of that, a lot of girls were so scared to try, but that couldn’t be further from the truth – a lot of models spin because it’s great for keeping your legs toned and slim.
Tell us about the CruCycle mantra – “ride with the pack”…
Bebe: We based the concept of the CruCycle brand on a wolf pack. We wanted to create a community where people come in, put in as much energy as each other and ultimately become stronger together.
Valerie: In spin class, everybody rides with the pack; you feed off each other’s energy, including the instructors. It’s important for the teacher to be explosive, to be the alpha, so people can follow.
“Try to be knowledgeable in every aspect of the company so that you’re not completely f*cked if someone you’ve depended on doesn’t show!”
What was the biggest challenge in opening CruCycle and what did you learn from it?
Valerie: In the beginning there was a lot of back and forth – a lot of “do we open or no?” We weren’t fitness instructors; we didn’t do anything to do with fitness. I was doing real estate. It was a lot of convincing the family – and convincing ourselves – that this is something that was going to work. I think if you believe in your idea, and you’re able to convince others how great whatever you’re doing is, you’re good.
Bebe: It was hard for us to find instructors who fit the standard we wanted. That’s how my brother and I became instructors. I was always into fitness but I didn’t want to be an instructor because it’s a very outward job, and I’m the type of person who prefers to be on the sidelines. It was hard going from someone who doesn’t like talking in big groups to teaching big groups, but I love it now.
And what has been the most rewarding?
Bebe: I think the definition of Cru, why we chose that name, is because it defines an organic growth. We have all grown spiritually, mentally and physically through this experience. I’ve grown not just as an instructor, but I’m stronger and I have a more positive outlook on everything.
What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs?
Bebe: To be an entrepreneur is to be a masochist who finds thrill in taking risks and working hard. Expect to work 16, sometimes 18 hour days, or having to skip vacations and social events. Try to be knowledgeable in every aspect of the company so that you’re not completely f*cked if someone you've depended on doesn’t show! Example: I’ve had to clean the studio in between classes because the cleaner didn’t show.
Valerie: Everyone says this all the time, but you really can do anything you put your mind to. If you put in enough effort and believe in what you’re doing, you’ll be able to create what you dream of creating. No matter what hardships there are, if you really believe in what you do and push forward and persevere, it will take shape.
What are some pros and cons of working with your sister?
Bebe: Because we have the same upbringing and same life experiences, our vision and end goal is aligned and we know exactly what we’re working towards. If you’re working with a business partner you have no prior connection to, the end vision can go separate ways. Plus, we’re comfortable with being completely honest with each other.
What’s next for you guys and CruCycle?
Valerie: Duxton, where CruCycle is, used to be full of old Chinese pubs and sleazy bars, which they’ve really cleaned up. Along with CruCycle, I’ve opened a coffee shop and I’m working on opening a salad bar soon. The idea is to put everything on the street that CruCycle is on, and bring all these healthy outlets to attract a fun, fresh, healthy lifestyle. It’s such a cute area; it has the potential to be an area like Brentwood in LA.
Photos by: Mellowedhigh