Cycling For The Soul

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(Photos courtesy of SoulCycle)

A quick scroll through Instagram and one will find a plethora of guys and gals showing off their toned muscles, proper weight-lifting form and a variety of workout routines. For once, there is a trend that no one can complain about—getting fit. Among the many ways to train your body to look and feel its best is cycling. Specifically, SoulCycle. Founded in 2006, SoulCycle has taken the nation by storm, with a location right here in Roslyn Heights since the summer of 2012.

“[SoulCycle has] changed my life,” says Julie Dermer, a Roslyn SoulCycle senior instructor. “As an instructor, witnessing the soul journeys of my riders always blows me away. There is so much integrity every ride.”

Perhaps what is most attractive about SoulCycle is its minimalistic aesthetic. Clean lines, white walls and yellow accents provide a cheery atmosphere as soon as cyclers walk in the door. The endorphins only rise from there, and after just one ride, guests are hooked.

“The high you get from cycling is like none other,” says Dermer. “And it’s addicting. I think that’s what keeps people coming back.”

Rather than offer memberships like a gym, SoulCycle works by purchasing classes individually or in bulk. Those trying Soul for the first time can buy a “First Time Ride” for $20 and then a “SoulCycle Starter” set of three classes for $75. Once cyclers have redeemed the special beginner rates, prices ranges from $36 for one class, all the way up to $900 for 30 classes. Other packages include five, 10 and 20 classes. Every Monday at noon the class listings go live for bike reservation, but a class package must first be purchased under your account before you can reserve a spot.

While each class is just 45 minutes and may appear to consist of simply cycling, a ride is really so much more, and no two experiences are ever the same. High-intensity cardio, a muscle-sculpting weighted arm series, a stretch and each instructor’s unique personality make for a different class every time you sit on the bike.

The Setup

For first-timers, Dermer recommends arriving at least 15 minutes prior to the start of class. Soul will provide the proper clip-in bike shoes for a nominal rental fee, but your own clip-ins will do just fine if you own a pair, and both bottled water and filtered water stations are available to keep you hydrated throughout your ride. What you wear is up to you, but be sure to dress comfortably to accommodate the rhythm-based choreography that will take you through all of the sprints, hills, jogs and jumps that comprise a Soul class. In case you need to change or store personal belongings, keycode lockers are available.

Upon arrival in the studio, a sign-in sheet confirms your bike reservation and staff will then assist in adjusting the bike so the seat and handlebars are custom to your comfort level and abilities, as well as give you all the information you need to know before locking into your pedals and starting your ride. Bins near the instructor’s podium house the weights you’ll need for the arm series.

The Ride

Once your bike is adjusted, you have everything you need and you’re clipped in and ready to go, the fun begins. Classes are designed to feel fun, distracting you from your muscles protesting the workout, so expect low light, loud music, a lot of sweat and a ton of energy. Those looking to tone the experience down a bit can grab a pair of earplugs from the front desk.

Once class starts, the instructor will sync the experience to a playlist they’ve curated. A typical ride starts with a warm-up followed by some hills and sprints, moves on to working out the arms with weights and finishes up with one last cardio burst and a restorative stretch.

Over the course of 45 minutes, riders cycle through a variety of positions to build muscle, burn fat and calories, boost metabolism and transform the body into a cycling powerhouse. Switching hand positions on the handlebars, lifting in and out of the saddle, swaying the hips and doing some push-ups are just a few of the ways riders will get the most out of their session—added challenges include twisting the resistance knob to up the intensity.

“The next day you may feel a little sore on your behind, but that goes away,” notes Dermer. “If you’ve tapped into muscles you haven’t used before, you’re going to feel worked—in a good way.”

After trying SoulCycle for the first time, you may swear off of it the next morning when you’re feeling soreness in muscles you didn’t even know you had, but the magic comes from somehow finding yourself craving to do it all over again anyway.

“SoulCycle is like nowhere else,” says Dermer. “The ride we take together is physical, spiritual and, at times, emotional. Together we inspire each other to get stronger and discover strength we never realized we had. More than the physical, the inner strength and courage each class brings is even more life changing. SoulCycle is a true sanctuary where we find our best selves.”

Visit SoulCycle’s Roslyn location at 250 S. Service Road in Roslyn Heights. To learn more about SoulCycle, call 516-833-1300 or visit soul-cycle.com.

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