SoulCycle Denver has 64 bikes for riders to choose from. (Allyson Reedy, Special for The Denver Post)
3.5 stars out of 5
My impression of SoulCycle, the trendy New York City-based spin class that just opened in Denver, before trying it: loud music, inspirational mantras and beautiful people in spandex.
My impression of SoulCycle after trying it: loud music, inspirational mantras and beautiful people in spandex. It’s also a pretty awesome workout.
Colorado’s first SoulCycle studio opened Nov. 10 in Cherry Creek, because, where else would a super trendy, super expensive spin gym open? I gave the class a go to help you decide if it’s for you. Here’s what I found out.
I didn’t realize that you need special shoes for SoulCycle, but you do. You need shoes that clip you into the stationary bikes so you can’t get out. Sounds a little unsettling, right? On top of that already unsettling feeling, the shoes are an extra $3 to rent.
Once I had my special SoulCycle shoes on, I headed into the dark room. But not before a woman tells me I might cry. People tend to cry during SoulCycle classes — nay, “journeys”– and not just because their feet are strapped into the bikes and they can’t leave.
SoulCycle rooms are small, dark, candlelit and crammed full of lots of bikes that are really close to one another. Like, so close you can smell the green juice on the biker next to you. I was assigned bike two (everyone gets assigned one of the 64 bikes, you can usually pick where you want to be) when I booked the class online, and, because this is just how 2018 has gone for me, bike two was in the front row.
A very nice young woman helped me fasten the special shoes into my bike pedals. She repeatedly asked me if I was comfortable, and I truly could not figure out how to answer the question. Of course I’m not comfortable, my feet are affixed to a bike, rendering me completely immobile. I wanted to please her, so I said, “yes, I am quite comfortable.”
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Despite my confirmation, she could tell by how long it took me to hook in that I was a newbie, so she removed the 3-pound weights from under my seat and said, perhaps a little too dejectedly, “Let me get you the 2-pound weights…”
Soon, “SexyBack” was blaring, and Lexi, our instructor, was getting things going. She was so, so excited to be there. Much like my shoe-snapper, I also wanted to please Lexi, so I yell back to convey the appropriate level of fervor. She handed out seat cushions with the enthusiasm of Oprah handing out cars, throwing them out to the crowd like those t-shirts out of cannons at basketball games.
I was too scared to move, so I didn’t get a seat cushion.
I regret that decision.
During the 45-minute class, we pedaled non-stop. Oh, but it didn’t stop there. We went up and down and side to side. We lifted weights and did things that worked multiple muscle groups. I didn’t expect to get such a full-body workout on a bike, but I guess they know what they’re doing, those SoulCyclists. By the halfway point, I was already sweaty and spent.
But we must keep going, Lexi said. We are so much stronger than we know, Lexi said. We won’t know what we’ll find until we get there, Lexi said. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be willing to do it, Lexi said.
Her mantras came over the beat of very loud club music, or at least it’s what I imagine to be club music if I were the kind of person who frequented clubs.
The hardest component for me, besides the intense cardio, was the heat. It gets hot in that room, what, with all the candles and mantras and souls and spandex-clad bodies spinning in such tight quarters.
Some people throw up. (Luckily not any in my class.) So that’s another thing to expect in a SoulCycle class (sorry, “journey”): it gets hot, and it’s not unheard of for the person next to you to cry or throw up.
As a naturally uncoordinated person, I thought I’d feel like a third wheel at SoulCycle. I have never taken a spinning class, and seldom (and very reluctantly) get on a bike at all. I figured that everyone else in my journey (the indoctrination is complete!) would probably know what they’re doing and I’d be flailing about. This is still what happened, but because it’s dark and everyone is so focused on their own performance, I didn’t feel self-conscious. The ladies next to me on bikes one and three were very supportive, high-fiving and congratulating me after particularly tough stretches.
I’m sure that SoulCycle will find its audience here. I’m sure that Lexi and the other perky instructors will help Denverites burn trillions upon trillions of calories. But the price (classes are $28 + the $3 shoe rental) is steep, and I didn’t quite have that soul-shaking experience that so many devotees and celebs have had. And no, I did not cry.
SoulCycle DNVR: 265 St. Paul St., Denver, 720-400-8500; soul-cycle.com