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Fans of this thigh-quaking class lift hand weights, do modified push-ups, and work their core with crunches—all while furiously peddling spinning bikes.
Equinox gym has closed on its deal to purchase privately held SoulCycle, confirming an exclusive Post report last month.
Terms were not released.
The indoor cycling studio with a celebrity cult following -- die-hard clients include Chelsea Clinton, Brooke Shields, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes -- will gain access to the deep pockets of Equinox, the upscale national gym, to help grow its modest footprint.
While I found Flywheel a little more challenging than Soul Cycle (maybe it was because I was visibly alerted to the fact that I was 5 notches down where I was supposed to be during each song at Flywheel thanks to the screen), I had more fun at Soul Cycle, even though it was $2 more expensive per class. The frenetic energy in the room was a draw and the instructor’s words motivated me to ‘push harder, be leaner, and achieve anything you set your mind to.’ Plus, the separate locker rooms and showers were a draw. Now the question remains: with both sides racing to the top, which side will you fall on?
When Julie Rice moved back to New York from Los Angeles in 2005, the spin classes here didn’t cut it for her. So she and her business partner, Elizabeth Cutler, leased 40 bicycles and created a candlelit exercise space called SoulCycle in a defunct dance studio on the Upper West Side. SoulCycle, which formed a strategic partnership with the Equinox gym chain in May, now has four Manhattan outposts, two in the Hamptons and one in Scarsdale; it went bicoastal last month by opening a studio in West Hollywood, Calif. Ms. Rice, 41, lives in a West Village duplex with her husband, Spencer, 38, senior vice president of marketing at Civic Entertainment Group, and their two daughters, Phoebe, 6, and Parker, 11 months.
SoulCycle has more than its share of celebrity fans, including Kelly Ripa, Katie Holmes, Lady Gaga and Anderson Cooper. Yet, the clientele are just as likely to be time-crunched moms or road warriors looking for a quick and consistent workout. “Many of the company’s clients are bicoastal,” says Cutler. “They’re spinning in Los Angeles one day and in New York another.”
Key to the brand is SoulCycle’s instructors, who number about 60 and growing. The company holds monthly auditions for would-be instructors, who come from all backgrounds, ranging from elite athletes and professional dancers to long-time clients of SoulCycle. Once chosen they go through 12 weeks of training to learn the SoulCycle “method.” To keep turnover to a minimum, the company puts its instructors on staff and offers paid vacations and full benefits. “Early on we recognized [that the] fitness industry [is] so transient,” says Rice. “We thought if we find great talent and invest the time and money to train them, we need to make the job attractive enough so they’ll stay.”
FOUR years ago, three women opened a candlelit cycling studio called SoulCycle in the back of a lobby on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, charging $27 a class. At the time, stationary cycling was a ho-hum staple of traditional gyms, and this place had no showers, and no room to maneuver in its cramped hallway. What self-respecting Manhattanite would pay a premium to pedal 45 minutes to nowhere?
Anything New York can do, L.A. can do better equally well (pro basketball, Mario Batali restaurants, a Real Housewives franchise).
So when Manhattan’s popular SoulCycle opens its West Hollywood outpost this Friday, we know it’ll be a spin-sation.
What makes these bike bosses the best (NYC classes regularly sell out within a minute of scheduling): a winning combo of expert instruction, total-body workout regimes, and something-for-everyone playlists (Adele, Flo Rida, Elton John).
Think high-octane spiritual journey on a stationary bike. Illuminated by candlelight, you’ll spend 45 minutes doing a mix of heart-pumping cardio and full-body toning peppered with empowering affirmations that’ll make you feel unstoppable. Ride on!
You’ll find biking bliss in California, Florida, and New York; more studios (Connecticut and New Jersey) are coming this year.