Before You Sit in the Front Row at SoulCycle, Read This

Dear First-Time SoulCycler,

Welcome! I know there is a ton of hype about this indoor-cycling craze, so bravo for signing up and taking the plunge. I can go on for days singing the praises of this stellar workout that truly changed my life. It helped me get through a breakup, start waking up earlier, and lose the extra weight I had been holding on to since starting a desk job. When I'm having a tough time or feeling out of sorts, I know that sweating it out on the bike and pushing my body to the max with a stellar soundtrack makes everything feel a little lighter. SoulCycle is known to cause a state of euphoria, but it does not come at a cheap price, so if you get hooked, a portion of your income will be tithed to the tribe from now on. When I am paying $30 per class in San Francisco, I want to have the best workout possible. And a lot of that has to do with you, my sweet SoulCycle newbies.

In every studio, a list of five rules is plastered on the walls. Most are pretty obvious, but the last one is where people tend to get tripped up: "There is a direct correlation between your energy and your neighbor's ride. If you want to do your own thing, please don't ride in the front row." If you haven't been hitting up SoulCycle classes for a while, this language can be a little confusing. "Doing your own thing" may translate to paying no attention to the beat or skipping the strength-training portion of class, but in SoulCycle, there is great emphasis placed on moving together on the same foot, as a pack, which can be difficult for first-timers.


I get it: I sound like that episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (pictured) where Kimmy has to earn her right to ride up front or in the first episode of Bravo's new (awesome) scripted series Odd Mom Out where Jill is called out by her instructor for not keeping up. Sure, these are both parodies of die-hard indoor-cycling culture, but there's some truth here for those of us who are die-hard front-row riders, so hear me out. Not every bike has clear view of the instructor, and front-row riders help the instructor keep the beat and lead choreography for the entire class. They're the first people to pop up and motivate the group when everyone else is fading. I've been in classes where the first row is filled out by regulars and others where it's a ton of new people, and when the front row is off, lots of people don't know what the f*ck is going on.

You have the right to sit wherever you want, future SoulCycler, and if you feel it's absolutely necessary to be up front to get the most out of your first time, you do you. I just hope there's someone a little more seasoned on either side of you, so that the people behind you, and the people behind them, and the people behind those people can also catch the beat.

All my love,
The Girl on Bike Six