Like a lot of people, I walked out of my first SoulCycle class three years ago drenched in sweat — and totally addicted. I know, I know. That's a cliché thing to say these days. I mean, Andy Cohen hates SoulCycle, and maybe he's right — the "faux inspiration" is a bit much. Plus, did you see that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode with "SpiritCycle?" Because that was so spot-on, I was half-laughing, half-blushing from embarrassment. The thing is, though, I don't go to SoulCycle to "get spiritual" — I go to get a good workout. I hit the same instructor's class every Saturday morning to treat myself and de-stress. It's become the best part of my week because it's an hour to myself — no phones, lights off, and great music (you can always catch me singing on my bike). Despite how shamelessly I love it, I'm not dragging my friends along every week or anything — again, this is my hour. But the one person I'd been dying to ride with was my dad. In fact, last year for Father's Day, I got him a SoulCycle gift card. He's been into indoor cycling and biking for as long as I can remember, and we're also both training for a triathlon we will be doing together this summer. So, as soon as we started our workouts — his in Chicago, and mine in New York — I insisted that we put the gift card to good use the next time he came to visit.
Finally, during a recent weekend when my whole family was in town, my dad and I reserved a spot in the 7:45 a.m. Saturday class — a little earlier than I normally go, but he's an earlier riser than I'll ever be. Like, not joking, we had planned to meet up at 7 a.m., and he showed up early, with coffee in hand, in all his gear and ready to go. We scored bikes next to each other in the second row, which is my favorite spot, but a little too close for him. "I normally hide in the back," he told me as we walked in. But soon enough, we were off and my dad was killing it. If you've been flirting with the idea of giving SoulCycle a try — but you're worried you won't belong — let my dad's experience be your guide. Below is what he had to say about his first class.
1. It’s too crowded: I’ll give him this one. Admittedly, the location that I go to is one of the smaller ones (I’m sorry, West 77th. I love you!). And, especially when one class is getting out and the other is going in, you can barely walk. I love the idea of riding as a “pack,” but I totally feel my dad on this one when it comes to the locker room. 2. It’s competitive (but that’s not a bad thing): Personally, I like to feel like I’m about to win the Tour de France (no, just me?), and my dad liked that part, too. If you dig classes because you can do your thing, but with instruction, I can see this feeling intimidating. But, as they say at the beginning of class, you have to remember that, “This is your ride.” 3. It's annoying that you can't bring your phone in: Sorry to drag you, dad, but this still cracks me up. When he told me this, I felt like I was living in one of those “kids these days” memes that’s actually a picture of parents. He really wanted to have it with him for his heart monitor, but still. Actually, that almost makes it funnier. 4. It’s not just for young people: When I first suggested he come with me, my dad was very adamant that he "knows a ton of people who go." My dad is with it, y'all! But no, I totally believe him. SoulCycle might be a cult workout, but it’s definitely not a cult workout with an age limit. (Guys, work out with your family. It’s fun!) 5. It’s not the same workout as cycling: Super valid point by dad. He actually convinced me to switch up my training schedule to include one long endurance ride, instead of two cycling classes. Because, while they’re both fantastic ways of working out, they’re not one and the same. His verdict: would try again. I don't think I made a devoted rider out of my dad, but he did enjoy it. Next time you’re looking for some bonding time with dad, or maybe a fun Father’s Day gift, it’s worth looking into bringing him to your favorite workout class.