We Tried It: SoulCycle
How do you feel about a little spiritual enlightenment with your workout?
July 21, 2017
I’m a pretty active sort—I bike to work, I’m a fairly religious bootcamper (44 burpees on my last birthday, nailed it)—but shudder-filled memories of mid-’90s spin classes at the Y (call me a poor visualizer, but I can’t “climb a hill” unless I can see said hill in front of me) have kept me from diving into any of the next-gen spin sessions around town.
But curiosity got the better of me, and a scene from the latest Bridget Jones installment (which I shamelessly loved), plus the opening of Vancouver’s first SoulCycle finally pushed me to get over it.
The new space in Yaletown is surprisingly compact, though through the magic of space planning, 57 bikes fill the studio, along with a stage for the instructor. The change rooms and locker area are sunny, mantra-filled spaces that speak to what seems to be the SoulCycle deal—part workout, part dance party, part cheer session, part yoga-inspired-be-your-best-self. And this being a media session, Blo Blow Dry Bar was on site to get us in braids, which may be my new official workout look (so tidy! So fancy!).
We enter a warm, candle-lit, room and with a fair bit of set-up guidance from the staff, hop on the bikes. Our instructor Bridge (of course his name is Bridge) gets us moving and the music starts cranking. Despite the fact that I consider myself kind of a burpee queen and master of the kettlebell, my first five minutes on the bike gave me a sense of dread. Was I really going to keep doing this for 45 minutes?
Bridge is a decent cheerleader. His great mane of blonde hair gets tossed back every so often as he performs a kind of spin-and-dance combo on the bike. The spin part comes naturally—you never forget how to ride a bike, right?—but the dance is a little more awkward for a first timer like me, though as I glance around the room, I see those that are good at it are really good at it. It’s inspiring, and frankly, beautiful to see a room of people bobbing together at the same time.
We pedal in time to the music, and we’re encouraged to turn up the tension on our bikes for Beyoncé (for the twins! For the queen!), for Céline Dion (Canadian Royalty! Does she have twins too? Two more spins for them!), and dial back down again for faster-paced sprints. The sweat starts pouring off of me—literally, I feel rivers sliding down my sides, and realize why we’re given towels on the handles of our bikes, along with water—but my pedals keep moving, and I’m keeping pace with whatever Bridge throws at me. Whatever, that is, except for some of the Oprah-like sentiments thrown at us: every turn of the pedals is a move to positivity! Open your heart centres to change! Um, I kind of can’t sweat and think at the same time. Do I have to be positive too?
The workout, I dug. I’d like to think at some point I could master the weird weaves and bobs, and I had that great rush at the end of feeling like I’d made it. It’s the Soul part of SoulCycle I know I’d struggle with. A fellow participant said to me at the end that she felt a little like she was praying to a God she didn’t quite believe in, and I get that. I’m not sure I want to hear about my heart centre when I’m working out—I just want to sweat and get to the end of it. (All workouts are great at the end, right?)
1128 Mainland Street
$20 for your first ride
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