In New York these days, there are really two camps when it comes to spin: those who love Soul Cycle and those who love Flywheel. Both camps are adamant that they are the better studio. I have been going to Flywheel since they opened and have been staunchly in the latter group – Flywheel all the way! But it would be a lie to say that even with all of my Flywheel love, that I wasn’t just a little bit curious about Soul Cycle.

I worked part-time a few years ago for someone who was flat-out obsessed with Soul Cycle. Part of my job was to make sure that every Monday, when the classes are opened to be booked, that I was online to snap up bikes in her favorite classes, since the bikes were always booked in a matter of minutes.  Oh, the drama if she didn’t get into those classes!  I never managed to go because really, the classes are so expensive that I could never afford to go try one out for myself. Plus, on top of the $35 price of the class, you have to rent shoes for an extra $3 (unless you have your own) and for some reason that just incensed me.  Yes, I know now that the clip in shoes really do make for a better spinning workout, but before I had actually tried them, it just seemed so ridiculously elitist to require them for a spin class.

On Tuesday though, I was lucky enough to score an invite to a Fitness Magazine function celebrating their two recent cover girls – Biggest Loser’s Olivia and Hannah, the sisters who rocked it out last season. The event was a free Soul Cycle class led by instructor Jenny Gaither.  The ladies, by the way, look amazing in person too. The class was held in the Tribeca studio and Holy Moly is it a beautiful space – huge and open and airy. I am not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. As I went up to the front desk, I found my name on the list and checked in. I was all ready with my three-dollar fee for my shoes (such a small price to pay for such a treat) but was told there wasn’t a charge for them and oh, here is your free SmartWater for the class too. Sweet! Off I was to change and drop off my stuff before heading into the class.  The bikes are a little different so it took a little bit of fiddling with it to figure out the settings.  And although a very friendly Soul Cycler came over to see if I needed help, I pretty much got it figured out all by myself without too much hassle.

The class itself was ridiculously fun and challenging. There were lots of things that I just had never done before that made me feel a little inept and uncoordinated – like all of the “to the beat” push-up variations, but it was fun nonetheless.  Jenny Gaither was awesome – full of positive, loving, enthusiastic energy that really, you would have to be in a coma not to be affected by. I immediately got why they have a cult-like following. It felt a little like being inducted into one, but by the end I felt like maybe a little mystic positive energy wasn’t such a bad thing to find in a sweat drenched class full of hard-core New Yorkers…