I encountered spin cycling in the later 90's, and quickly realized the quality of the instructor was crucial to a good workout. Maybe that's true for most instructor-led exercise classes, but spin cycling lost all its fun when the instructor had poor music, tempo and coaching skills. And that was WAY before SoulCycle was founded in 2005. My favorite spinning instructor was a small young woman with a drill-sergeant style and great taste in electronic dance music. I learned to love electronic dance music, much more than any type of exercise, including dancing.
After that instructor left, I was not loyal to that gym. SoulCycle has done a great job of making sure the total experience is addictive: the ambiance, the activities, the people who get to know each other, as well as having extremely well-trained instructors. No loyalty discounts are necessary in these circumstances, although they may offer them.
Fast Company: SoulCycle Wants You To Join Its Tribe, 2016-Sep by Jonathan Ringen
Skeptics wonder how long the indoor-cycling trend—or any modish exercise—can stay popular. And even if it does, what’s to keep riders loyal to the higher-priced SoulCycle brand? Can such a quintessentially New York experience translate to the rest of the country? And will the riders who give SoulCycle its cachet—all those movie stars and early-adopter cool kids—still show up once everyone is doing it?
To Whelan, these questions totally miss the point. SoulCycle, as she sees it, isn’t competing against other fitness companies. "I always say that our real competition is Netflix," she says, meaning anything that might keep you at home and not out in the world. "SoulCycle isn’t about fitness," she reiterates. "It’s about a very powerful breakthrough for people, which can be physical, but can also be emotional or about community, about connection. Once people connect to it, it becomes part of their life. So, $30 for that?"