TEST RIDE: SoulCycle – Chicago / Old Town

Another trip to the “Land of Lincoln”…another visit to a new cycle studio. This visit has been in the making for over two years now, so it’s about time! SoulCycle has finally made it to the Great Lakes region and launched one of its newest studios in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. Coincidently, their closest competitor, Flywheel, also opened their second Chicago studio in Old Town (their first studio in the Gold Coast district). My hope was to make it during SoulCycle’s grand opening fundraising event about a month ago, however I wasn’t up for the price of admission…$1,000 or $2,000 to ride next to Lady Gaga. So instead, my daughter and I had an awesome 45-minute ride with Brent last Sunday afternoon. Here are some highlights from our first (and not last) SoulCycle class.

First off, I downloaded the SoulCycle app for iPhone and created my account and checked out class times and instructor profiles. First timers need to call the studio directly to make a reservation, after that, you can purchase and reserve classes from the app. The only thing you can’t do with their app is request an Uber for a ride to and from class!

I was disappointed to learn that the first class is no longer a freebie at SoulCycle…now a $20 fee, which includes complementary rental of cycling shoes, use of a studio towel, access to full bathroom & showers, mini-locker for keeping small personal items secure while riding.

Our Uber driver got us from Lake Shore Drive to the Old Town studio just in time for our 5PM class with Brent and nearly FIFTY eager participants.

It’s remarkable how much they were able to squeeze in a relatively small space…52 bikes in the studio, lockers and changing room for up to 51 participants and two bath/shower rooms, lobby with reception desk and merchandise/retail sales.

While I’m sure we couldn’t go wrong with any of the instructors, Brent’s bio and class times helped us finalize the reservation. Brent was great from start to finish…high-energy, engaging, motivating. The SOUL of SoulCycle was evident in the instruction throughout the class/ride, keeping everyone focused on goals, team work, community and mindfulness.

The studio was well equipped with new, custom equipped bikes (two light hand weights under the saddle, and water bottle holders), AC, fans, powerful sound system (more than a dozen speakers), basic lighting, partial stadium setting…and the signature candlelit instructor’s platform.

Brent started with a quick warm up and got right into the full body work out: lots of standing hills and flats, high resistance work, sprints, jumps, upper body work by way of handlebar pushups and work with hand weights. Lot’s of the signature tap-backs. A great stretch along with the cool down that everyone earned. For me the air got pretty heavy at times during intense stretches of the work out…there’s only so much a few wall fans and AC can do in a relatively small studio packed with about 50 hard working cyclists! I really should have used my heart rate monitor…be sure to wear yours when YOU go.

At one point during class, someone needed to leave about 30 minutes into the ride…Brent took time to discretely check-in with her and safely assist her out of the studio into the main lobby.

Other than the high-tech sound system, it was a low-tech experience. No monitors on bike, no monitors in the walls…you just have to gauge your performance on how you feel at the end (evidently I killed it!).

So based on my experience at the Old Town studio, SoulCycle really has put together a great option for indoor cyclists. The entire package from abundant PR, top notch staff and instructors, and smartly-designed studios.
Pricing is an important consideration and you’ll pay top dollar to “find your soul”. Pay per class runs about $30 and multi-class packages are available to help bring the cost per class down to about $22 if you prepay. Check their website or call the studio directly for details.

If you’ve been, please share your thoughts…if you haven’t been yet, why not?

Here are a few pics and links to related resources:

Opening page of website:

Find Your Soul:

Find your instructor:

Pre-opening PR:

Lady Gaga’s Fundraiser event:

From the founder…



4 thoughts on “TEST RIDE: SoulCycle – Chicago / Old Town

  1. Hey Steve!
    Haven’t given it a try yet…for a few reasons.

    Weights on the bike – i’m just not convinced of that being good…or the pushups. I did go to a local studio a few years ago who did something similar and found that it bothered my back (I have no back issues)
    And last…probably the biggest, is that while I LOVE to teach, I really don’t care to be a participant. Is that weird?

    Do you do upper body stuff in your class?


    1. Jessica, I agree the price and somewhat unorthodox movements in a SoulCycle class are reasons to not go…but it’s a nice change of pace from the more standard fare. I don’t do much of any upper body work in my classes. Have used optional modifications that resemble tap-backs and figure eights. All in all, they are drawing more and more interest in working out, having fun…and making $$$ along the way.

      Sent from my iPhone



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