On a ridiculously cold day, I bundled up and made my way up to the Soul Cycle Studio on 63rd and Lexington for the very first time. It’s been almost a year since I was on a bike at Soul Cycle but thanks to one of Lululemon’s awesome community events, I got the chance to ride with one of Soul’s newer instructors, Ryan Steinman.
When I got to the front desk to check in for my class, it turned out that I’d gotten moved from the random bike I had signed up for in the store. For a brief second I thought somehow I’d gotten knocked off the list and trekked out in the freezing cold for nothing – but it turned out I had been moved to the front row. Eek! I am not the most coordinated person, so in Soul classes with their notorious on-the-bike choreography, I usually try to hide in the back. After a brief moment of front row panic, I sucked it up, initialed by my name and asked for some cycling shoes for class. Turns out that because we were there with Lululemon, they were free! Free class AND free shoes at Soul Cycle?!? Score!
Soul Cycle’s studios are always ridiculously pretty, with their clean white spaces, dark slate floors and bright yellow logo accents – the 63rd Street studio is no exception. I changed and headed into class to get ready for the ride. Thankfully, I managed not to bust my ass on the slick slate floors as I made my way into the studio– they really are so pretty design-wise but SO impractical! It’s been so long since I’ve ridden with Soul that this was my first time on their “new” bikes. I was shocked by how much better I liked these bikes – they are smooth, easy to adjust and had a better angle than the ones before… I was seriously surprised. I didn’t have any problems adjusting my bike but the Soul staff rushed around the room helping everyone who looked even slightly confused.
Ryan introduced himself to the group and proceeded to get us started as he put on his cycling shoes – turns out he was a corporate lawyer before finding Soul and changing paths. Almost immediately, he was on the bike and launched into the Soul pushup choreography and I was briefly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Turned out, though, that Ryan was so easy to follow that I forgot how ridiculously uncoordinated the choreography normally makes me feel and just found myself grinning like crazy and having fun. Ryan’s music was great and eclectic –by far my favorite was a mash-up by DJ Robin Skouteris that included almost a full minute of opera. It was shocking and strangely, went perfectly with the isolation move he called out. The idea of the isolation is to use heavy resistance and to only have your legs move while keeping your upper body perfectly still – a brutally challenging move. Then, as the opera faded into a faster more kickass tempo, he called out for us to let it go. It was awesome. The ride flew by and was filled with talk of finding your soul, making choices, deciding to push yourself, and taking ownership of what you do in every moment; the exact kind of thing I’ve come to expect at Soul and love every time I hear it. I totally get why people love Soul Cycle. Last Sunday, Ryan’s class was exactly what I needed – a sweaty reminder that following you own path can truly be amazing.