Cycling has gone indoors with intense workouts that have made it the newest and ritziest trend in group workouts since 2006. The gym founders were Elizabeth Cutler, Julie Rice and Ruth Zukerman (left to set up a rival operation in 2009) who opened their first indoor-cycling gym in a gloomy funeral home in New York City’s Upper West Side.
The rest is a success story of “location, location, location” as the operation opened up in the Upper East Side, in Tribeca, Union Square and most recently in Bridgehampton. This exposed upscale office workers and the glamor crowd in the Hamptons to the concept of working out a sweat.
The following Soul Cycle prices are estimates only.
Pay Per Class
First Time Ride
|First Class (Expires in 30 Days)||$20.00|
|After First Class or Regular Class Price (Expires in 30 Days)||$30.00|
|Five Classes (Expires in 45 Days)||$145.00|
|Ten Classes (Expires in 3 Months)||$280.00|
|Twenty Classes (Expires in 9 Months)||$540.00|
|Thirty Classes (Expires in 12 Months)||$780.00|
|Fifty Classes (Expires in 12 Months)||$3,500.00|
|Fifty Classes (Expires in One Year)||$4,000.00|
Today, SoulCycle is not only all over New York City and New Jersey, it is also to be found in Washington D.C., Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Illinois California, Greenwich, Connecticut, San Francisco and 49 other locations around the country.
The real secret of SoulCycle is that the stationary cycles provide a full body workout with inspirational coaching and high-energy music non-stop, for 45 minutes. There is no fussing with transferring from one workout station to another and catching a breather. Instead, instructors harangue the entire class with motivational sayings, varying weights on the bicycles to get that upper-body workout and to never, ever sit down. The fanatics do not even stop for water or isotonic drinks until the music stops three-quarters of an hour later. This is total cardio fitness that accommodates a wide range, from 12 to 81 years.
Losing a pound or two (and what feels like a gallon of sweat) in every session keeps every SC adherent a firm believer in the high-energy music and a workout that instructors claim benefits the mind and body. SoulCycle trains instructors (176 and counting) to teach the SoulCycle method of leading each class of motivated cyclists.
Research indicates that on average, SoulCycle riders burn between 500 and 700 calories in a 45-minute workout. Anecdotal evidence suggests that riders are eager to return the very next day to continue getting their cardio benefits.
The company describes its classes as a “dance party on a bike.” SoulCycle uses custom bikes and clip-in cycling shoes for its classes. A Soul Cycle class starts with the bike set up per rider, for seat height, fore/aft seat position and handlebar height. Also available to select are 1 lb, 2 lb, 3 lb and 5 lb weights for the arm portion series. The class progresses through about 6 different songs of around 5 minutes each. This can include turning the resistance up as if you are going up a big hill or turning the resistance down if you are going for a sprint. About the 7th song, the class starts the arm series which includes the weights selected in the beginning of the class to a long song. The class ends with two more songs. Every class taken is different.
There is no lack of Cadillac-riding and well-off customers wanting to get into good shape, even if it means exposing one’s French manicure, carefully-dressed hair, diamonds and Rolex to a shower of sweat from the bike close by. It does require some kind of confidence to wade into the regular SoulCycle crowd. The trainers themselves attest that one had better be sexy, confident, and strong in the first place. As a house remix of Annie Lenox about having everything money can buy except love, trainers motivate the bikers to continue their routines by declaring everyone is sexy and that a SC session is a “sexy-ass sport!”
Adherents include the likes of Chelsea Clinton, J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler, Katie Holmes, and Lady Gaga, who took two $2,200 custom-made Soul Cycle bikes on her tour and celebrated her 26th-birthday party at the SoulCycle studio in West Hollywood.
Lena Durham says as she queues for a “double,” as sadistic back-to-back classes are called. “I love the music, I love the sweat, I love the handsome gay teachers shrieking in your face—I’m super cult-y about it.” The harassment is plainly a joy for folks who grew up to “Biggest Loser”.
On the more frivolous side, the 20,000 people riding at SoulCycle every week and about 440,000 active riders also shop fashionable offerings that differ per store launch and seasonally: pattern and colored leggings, t-shirts, sports bras, sweatshirts, sweatpants and tons of accessories from Lululemon and Nike to create signature one-of-a-kind pieces.
SoulCycle operates on a pay by class model and does not offer memberships. The regular class, which lasts 45 minutes, begins at $40, making it perhaps the most expensive group fitness class in the country. Alternatively, SC offers $165 for 45 days, $320 for 10 classes over 3 months, $600 for 20 classes over nine months, and up to $4,000 for 50 classes over 12 months in the ritzy Bridgehamptons barn.
For more information about Soul Cycle, visit their official website.