Last week, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to join him as a guest for a ride with one of his favorite instructors at Soul Cycle. Considering that I have been hearing my friend and so many others RAVE about Danny Kopel’s class AND the fact that I am never one to turn down a free ride, it was a no brainer that I would join him for a late night class on Monday. I have only been to one other Soul Cycle class, at a different studio, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect at all.

The Union Square studio is much smaller than the Tribeca studio that I had been to previously, but still very Soul Cycle – all white, bold graphics and a very pretty, nice, front desk staff. I made it there before my friend and checked in with the front desk, where I expected to get the third degree about signing in as someone else, but obviously, people bring their friends a lot and it was super easy. I rented my shoes for $3, since I don’t own my own pair, and was handed a brand new pair of shoes – sweet! Then, I headed downstairs to change in the gleaming white changing room and drop my stuff off in a locker. By the time I got back upstairs, my friend was there and I joined him in line to wait for the studio to open up. We had front row bikes and he warned me that it might be intense (the front row is expected to bring their A game apparently). This didn’t worry me at all though, since really, what is the point of going to class at all if you aren’t going to give it your all? The only part that DID worry me was that Soul Cycle classes have a lot of chorography and my friend warned “Danny’s REALLY into choreography – and will call you out when you are in the front row.”  Greeeeeeeaat.  Let’s take a moment here to get one thing clear: there is a reason I don’t take dance classes. I REALLY suck at choreography. I can follow along well enough – kind of – if watching, but if I have to somehow manage to attempt it on my own?  Well, it just is not a pretty sight. So, I took the least of the front and center bikes and just decided not to worry about it at all.

The interesting thing about Soul Cycle is that they often have other people ride the instructor bike – which I have always found really weird and yet in Monday’s class, it didn’t really seem that strange at all. Danny bounded around the room the moment the class started, with a kind of frenetic energy that seemed like it would be hard to contain on a bike anyway, so it was nice to have someone on the bike to watch the whole time. The choreography wasn’t nearly as hard to follow as I had feared and I didn’t feel like a total spaz doing it either, although I was by no means as rhythmic as the more seasoned riders!  It was fun and felt like dancing on the bike and was a nice distraction from how hard we were working. The class was a sweaty, fierce, ridiculously fun thing that I just couldn’t help getting swept up into. Danny had that room wrapped around his little finger and it was awesome to witness that sort of rock-star energy up close. It is no wonder he has groupies!

(Photo: Soul Cycle’s USQ studio from their website, because none of the pictures I found of Danny did him justice!)