In this episode of "Undercover-Fit Guy," I dig out my fake nose and moustache to check out the spin class known as SoulCycle. My goal this time is to find out what SoulCycle is, how it works, and what aspect of it I should review.
4. How Are SoulCycle Classes Taught?
The website says SoulCycle has “magnetic instructors, who support us, coach us and push us to reach our personal bests.” I could comment on this but honestly, over the pumping music I could only make out about a quarter of what our instructor shouted at us—and most of what I did hear seemed nonsensical and perhaps best summed up on an inspirational Pinterest page.
It was also so loud and dark in the room (at one point the only light in the room was provided by the exit signs) that there was no way I could even ask for help or instruction. The SoulCycle website boasts the “class feels a lot like a dance party: It's dark, loud, sweaty and fun!” But due to this dance atmosphere, instead of partying, my eyes were glued to the instructor, watching intensely while attempting to mimic her choreography. At the points in the class when the leader left the bike platform to adjust the lights and music, I was completely SOL.
SoulCycle apparently does not hold “instruction” or knowing “what you are doing and why” in high regard. In my class (which had four beginners, like myself) it was clear that if you can’t keep up, or indeed figure out how to execute the move safely, you are on your own.
5. How Well Do SoulCycle Bikes Fit?
As a cyclist, I have spent a lot of time (and money) ensuring that my bike is set up in the correct geometry for my body. I mean let’s face it, cycling is one of the least natural things we can do with our bodies. There is not a single part of our biology that says “sit on this seat, bend forward at the waist, crane your neck up, hold on to this stick, and move your legs in a circle to propel yourself forward at a high velocity!” So, it behooves us cyclists to make sure we do the least amount of biomechanical damage as possible when we do engage in this bizarre ritual.
SoulCycle’s bikes were apparently designed by Villency Design Group (who also designed the Peloton brand bike). Word has it that they “reinvent the stationary wheel” by fussing with three elements:
A greater distance between the handlebar and the seat. Apparently to allow the rider to work their upper body and core while they pedal. Remember when I said that I had spent time and money making sure that my bike fit my body properly? Well, SoulCycle just tossed that out the window so you could do some (fake) "push-ups" and (weird) "crunches" while you spin.
Hand-sanded joints with an “extra tight seal” to help prevent corrosion caused by sweat. I for one am pleased with this innovation because I certainly did my best to corrode Bike #30 in SoulCycle’s Yaletown location.
Robustness to withstand a ton of rider movement. SoulCycle’s “signature choreography” puts a lot of strain on the bike frame and despite the fact that their bikes are 10-30 percent heavier than a standard spin bike, I still nearly tipped mine over several times so this is another tweak that I am happy they included.
And this brings me to what I decided I really wanted to address in this article. Seeing as I am a cyclist, why would I get on a bike if it wasn’t going to improve my skills?