So today is my third visit to Soul Cycle. Soul Cycle is a spinning club. For those of you who think this is some kind of arts and crafts club, let me describe spinning: imagine a bike that doesn’t move, has a really uncomfortable saddle, only takes funny shoes with clips in and is controlled by a single dial to determine how hard or easy the cycling will be. It’s nothing new, and you’ll find spin studios in most gyms around the world. In New York (and elsewhere in the US) Soul Cycle sets itself out to be a bit different, a bit like a cult. A sweaty cult with a nice line in designer lycra and and obsession with yellow. I like the fact that you can just buy a class and turn up without much notice and no more commitment than that. I don’t like the cost – $37 including shoe hire, but once a week, it’s probably cheaper than a gym membership.
Everything about Soul Cycle is super cool – I am not. Everyone seems to know what they are doing – I don’t.
I can’t work out how to clip my shoes into the pedals and have to ask, even though I’ve been twice before, I am still clueless. I am anticipating the class to be full, very dark, apart from some candles and with an instructor who is embarrassingly fit and muscle-bound. And I’m right. I am glad it is dark so that I can’t see how ridiculous I look. I made the mistake on my first visit of sitting near the front to see what’s going on, but that’s really not a good idea because the front row is reserved for those who know what they are doing and like to shout a lot and not the uninitiated. I am expecting a lot of hyped up instructions from the muscle man and get them. I’m intimidated by the super fit girls at the front who appear to be like Bruce Forsyth’s ladies in Play Your Cards Right but without the oversized playing cards, but I follow them because the muscle man keeps walking about and confusing me. I’m also slightly perturbed by his red bandanna – is that even legal in 2013?
I think I’ve got the routine right: up down, back and forth only to find they have moved on and I am woefully behind. I am told to listen to the beat and follow it but I cannot find it. Where is this beat? My body doesn’t do beat. I recognise some of the songs, but realise I am ancient when Taylor Swift starts going on about boyfriend trouble – and the only reason I know it’s her is because I remember the song from the New Year’s Eve TV show and that she even exists is only thanks to my weekly subscription to Grazia which is obsessed by her and that bloke from One Direction.
I find my consolation in the bloke next to me who seems to be as useless as me. Even I can do the bit with the small dumb bells, trying not to clonk him in the process. I’m also thankful that the bloke in front of me doesn’t sit too far back as those bikes are so close together, I’m not willing to become that acquainted with his behind.
Anyway, I’ll do it again, I’ll try and hope it’s dark and hope that somehow the beat will find me. Alternatively I’ll just get really red faced and sweaty and not have to turn the heating on for the evening.