One of the things I’ve learned in my twenties is that, when it comes to personal upkeep, it takes a village…medical professionals, trainers, gyms, personal care services, the list goes on (cautionary note: don’t ask me about any of them, unless you want to kiss 25 minutes of your life goodbye…too late!). Come to think about it, this might explain why, for every raise I’ve ever gotten, I’ve never actually felt an increase in my take-home pay, but I certainly have seen an uptick in the quantity of professionals I employ to help me get through my oh-so-difficult days. So naturally, when Soulcycle came to town–with its $30, 45-minute spinning classes, I jumped.
For those of you that don’t know, Soulcycle is a “high-energy cycling experience”–started in New York, and currently invading LA and San Francisco (or as I prefer to call that collection of cities: the only part of America that actually matters). If you’re a female, you’re probably thinking “of course I’ve heard of Soulcycle, I love spinning!” Wow, congratulations–you’re so on point with your trendy fitness classes, it’s not like *every* gay male was doing that oh I don’t know, four years ago? That was in our rotation right after stand-up paddle boarding and before crossfit; need I remind you that genetically, we’ve evolved to have a predisposition to every trendy workout routine–it’s a regular agenda item in our weekly meetings, and one of the ways that we all have exceedingly nice bodies and what can sometimes seem like a limitless supply of endorphins. I digress. Anyway, I finally went to my first class last week, and before this turns into an over-hyped experience (too late), here’s my completely unhelpful review, which actually talks very little about the class and focuses mostly on (my favorite topic,) me.
Cycling by candle light
Now if we’ve ever hooked up before (and if we have, my apologies again for that mediocre-at-best experience), you’ll know that one of my (many) quirks is that I go to great lengths to set the proper ambiance in my room. Obviously a soundtrack is a key component to that, but IMO, the most important part is lighting. I will pause a hookup (multiple times) until everything is just right: it’s got to be dark enough where we don’t really see each other but still bright enough to catch the orange shimmer of my spray-tanned body and the light ripples in my abs (ha! jk. except no).
Soulcycle, fortunately, shares my lighting neurosis. The instructor was adjusting the lights throughout, based on the tempo of the song–moving from dim to dark, the exact range I would choose to live my life, if the sun had a dimmer. Not only that, but for most of it, we were cycling by candle light–the sexiest lighting of all. As you may already know, I’ve developed an obsession with expensive, masculine candles (“mandles,” we’ll call them), in part because it’s the closest I’ve come to actually being allowed to light money on fire (a personal hobby of mine). So candle-lit spinning class? Yes please.
Over-branded, in a good way.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s good branding. In fact, you’ll be excited to learn that I’m in the process of commissioning a crest for myself–need I remind you that I’m the IV? Soulcycle similarly cares about a highly branded experience. “You already have a workout tank almost identical to that one.” / “Yeah, but it doesn’t have the skull and bike wheel on it, so ultimately I think I’m going to feel empty without this.” In most places, we’d call this “SWAG” but at Soulcycle, it’s called $52.
Message apparel used to feel very Abercrombie & Fitch, circa 2005 (to be clear though: I was very much Abercrombie and Fitch in 2005): it’s just trying too hard (though to be clear again: I’m still trying too hard, I’ve just moved on from that specific genre). But, all of a sudden, its coming back again — in fact, I recently purchased a pair of black velvet message slippers, with a screw on one shoe and a “U” on the other (you might think this is because I don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell the entire world how I feel about them, but you’d only be half right; really, I got them in an effort to be even more like my idol, Scott Disick). Anywho, when I saw this shirt at Soulcycle, with “ATHLETE” tattooed across the chest, I had to have it. I enjoyed the subtle message it implied: sporty, but understated…athletic, but I don’t need to tell you that. Anyway, sure Soulcycle, put it on the card, and thanks for showing you care.
I guess in an effort to make this review somewhat useful, I should list the things that bothered me. As always, there were many:
- Good God please figure out a better way to manage that cattle call during the class switches. I’m not sure how you could have so obviously overlooked the fact that if you have back-to-back classes of 50 people each, simple math will cause you to realize that 100 people will be fighting against each other in opposite directions; a teeny tiny hallway is by no means an effective mode of ingress or egress
- I may have listed the lighting in the class as a plus, but it strikes me as odd that the blindingly bright, sterile lights that hit you the moment you walk out of the studio and into the foyer could have been so egregiously over-looked. What about a transition lighting experience? I’m happy to help you engineer that (see above for my experience)
- While I appreciate the bios of the instructors on your site, do us all of a favor and include direct links to their Facebook pages, where I expect them to have at least a dozen shirtless photos within the first hundred they’re tagged in (though really the proper ratio of shirtless to clothed pics is more like 4:1, and unless it’s not completely obvious, please do ensure that they’ve got very relaxed privacy settings) — it would really save all of us a step or two
ok that’s all.