The anticipation for the opening of Soul Cycle Chicago has been building for months. Crain’s Chicago Business started talking about the chain last year and Chicagoans who have tried the class in its coastal locations have been clamoring.
The wait is over. April 14th, the Old Town studio opened its doors and welcomed Chicago to, as the Soul Cycle Initiated like to say, “tap it back.” In its first week of business as usual, the cycling studio packed dozens of classes and held a class raising funds for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way foundation, in which riders could cycle side-by-side with Lady Gaga herself. Not a bad week.
Classes are led by instructors transplanted from Soul Cycle locations across the country as well as one Chicagoan who made the cut. It’s evident that each instructor is allowed to use and display their unique personality and style while leading the class. After taking three classes with three different instructors, the only constant was the great workout. Instructors at Soul Cycle locations in other cities develop followings, probably because people gravitate towards similar personalities and because trainer crushes are real.
In my brief experience with Soul Cycle instructors, one rode with her hair down and played music that was reminiscent of when she was a teenager, another had the personality of the guy that starts the party and your favorite DJ combined and the final alternated between a complete sweetheart and a bad ass. Again, trainer crushes are real.
The classes themselves are incredibly musically driven. In class, all movements follow the beat of the songs, which creates an environment in which cyclers are riding in unison in a way that feels very team-oriented, rather than competitive. There are points at which participants are encouraged to take their speed to their absolute maximum, which is really the only time the class isn’t riding together.
Classes are more intuitive, in that resistance is personal and not necessarily prescribed outside of the prompts to add or take turns off of the resistance. This allows riders to choose their own adventure and listen to their bodies. Meaning: If you can handle more resistance, add it.
The word “soul” in the name Soul Cycle references the calls from instructors to look within one’s self throughout class, set an intention and push through obstacles. One instructor, My party starter/DJ combo – Kellen, reminded everyone that the way they face challenges in class mirrors they way they face challenges in the world outside of class. I thought to myself, “YES!” and peddled harder.
Soul Cycle terms itself a full-body work, meaning that classes use weights and choreography to target arms, abs and back throughout the workout. All of that work is done in a way that feels like a dance party on a bike.
As I’ve talked about Soul Cycle this week, I’ve been asked a few times to choose a favorite or “better” spinning experience in Chicago and my answer is this: Every body is different and every class has a personality type that it fits. So if you’re asking this question, I would encourage you to try Soul Cycle and decide for yourself.
Gym: Soul Cycle Old Town, 1225 N Wells Street
Focus: These 45 minute classes encourage participants to ride to the beat and work to their limits while working as a group and moving to the beat of the music.
Cost: $30 for a single class
- Class packs bring the cost per class down.
Money saving offers:
- $20 for first timers.