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The Stationary Bike of the Soul

The Stationary Bike of the Soul The Atlantic


There's a whole neighborhood of the Internet dedicated to SoulCycle—worshipping ittrashing it, treating it as performance art. The typically 45-minute-long stationary-bike classes combine hard pedaling, weightlifting, house music, candles, and inspirational phrases: "Athlete. Legend. Warrior. Renegade. Rockstar. SoulCycle," reads one of the mantras on the studios' walls and merchandise. Classes are priced at $30 to $34 a pop and only happen at special SoulCycle studios in New York, New England, California, and, as of a couple of weeks ago, Washington, D.C.

Unwittingly or not, the fitness program is a pretty strong caricature of a particularly snark-inducing cultural stereotype: the coastal elite who has the time and money to upgrade him or herself to an exercise "warrior" rather than a humble "bike rider." Participants aren't just buying a better butt—they're buying the moral superiority that ostensibly comes with "working out" one's soul.

Yet, for all the eye-rolling trend pieces that have been penned about SoulCycle, its disciples have pedaled on. The company has plans to open 25 to 30 new studios in the United States and London in the next year or so, and they're even planning to venture into the middle of the country—or at least Chicago, a company spokeswoman said. Across the country, classes allegedly get 10,000 riders per day and 20,000 per week. 

Stashed in: #health, Fitspo, Cycling!, Soul, Booty!

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So... a "better butt" and "working out one's soul" are connected?

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