It’s not about the bike: Vox reviews SoulCycle D.C.
SoulCycle D.C. is offering free rides all November to men trying out the
techno-based fitness cult spinning studio for the first time, so Vox decided to defy gender stereotypes and take an early morning cruise down to Foggy Bottom on his 1980s Raleigh road bike to evaluate its potential as a new form of worship for Georgetown’s teeming masses.
The tiny gym sticks out like a TIbetan temple in the wilds of M St. NW, mostly because it’s the only building on the block with a gigantic yellow bike wheel painted over its entrance.
operating Thetans staff members were bubbly, helpful, and all at least two standard deviations above the mean in terms of attractiveness. More broadly, it’s safe to say that SoulCycle is not really a place for ugly people—the clientele was generally young, jaw-droppingly beautiful, and about 85 percent female, according to Vox‘s visual survey. SoulCycle isn’t so much a pound-shedding gym as it is a keep-me-otherworldly one. It can safely be said that there are worse places on earth to be a red-blooded American male.
The minuscule studio itself looks like a nightclub, and, in keeping with that theme, personal space does not exist. Riders were placed absurdly close to one another, which became problematic when the instructor asked his proteges to “pump it up” and start swinging around little weights in heavily choreographed patterns.
One of the classes’ worst aspects was the footwear SoulCycle provided—they won’t let you wear your regular sneakers into the spinning room. That, of course, would make it too easy to escape. Instead, Vox was given a pair of (hopefully clean) cleats that clipped in to the stationary bike. They proved to be an absolute nightmare to remove, and Vox was one of several first-timers who flailed their legs for several minutes at the end of the class trying to free their Souls from their Cycles.
The actual exercise experience was, in a word, bizarre. Garrett, the class’s dear leader, blasted electronic music at sinful volumes to a candlelit room full of his enraptured “little monsters,” like he was Lady Gaga or something. His vague exhortations to effort—”climb this hill for someone who needs you,” “be honest on your bike today!”—seemed to work for everyone in the room, but they struck Vox as grating and insincere.
20 minutes in, Vox was praying for an early end to the monotony. Garrett’s vaguely post-coital sighs at the end of the class sounded like Tchaikovsky to these tired ears. A bit of yoga-esque stretching on the bike, then fade to black—the class was over. Cue the “namastes” and five-person-deep line to flirt with Garrett and his deltoids.
SoulCycle left Vox reeling with questions about the nature of exercise in contemporary America. This is a culture where people pay 34 dollars to get yelled at to ride a bike in place for 45 minutes but complain when the elevator is broken, because God forbid they take the stairs.
Have we lost our collective mind? Are we as a country so physically broken that we can’t motivate ourselves to break a sweat without Diplo blaring at deafness-inducing volume while a rippling Adonis beseeches us to “find our inner selves?” If this is the future of fitness, Vox wants to hop off the train right now before it goes any further.
But yeah, Vox’s thighs haven’t felt this way since 2011. Good workout, guys.