SoulCycle to open first D.C. studio next month

For years, SoulCycle has been getting requests to come to Washington.

In late July, it’s finally going to happen.

“Washington has nearly always been our number one request,” said Gabby Etrog Cohen, vice president of public relations and brand strategy for the New York-based company.

The chain of indoor cycling studios, founded in 2006, has garnered a cult following with devotees, including Lady Gaga and Anderson Cooper. Attendees ride in candlelight with music blaring in the background.

“It’s a 45-minute, full-body cardio party,” said Julie Rice, who co-founded the company with Elizabeth Cutler. “We really believed there was an exercise experience missing from the marketplace.”

Each instructor puts his or her own spin on the tunes, which range from dubstep and hip-hop to classic rock and pop music, Cohen said.

The Washington studio will be at 2301 M St. NW, near George Washington and Georgetown universities, as well as a number of high-end residences and office buildings, Cohen said. The 3,187-square-foot studio will have 55 customized bikes and will offer about eight classes per day.

“We wanted to be somewhere that was really great for working people,” Cohen said. “This was a good central location.”

A second area SoulCycle is scheduled to open in Bethesda this fall. Altogether, the company plans to open 15 studios this year, and another 15 to 20 next year.

A number of cycling studios have sprung up in Washington in recent years, including Zengo Cycle, Sculpt D.C., Off Road and Ride D.C.

At SoulCycle, classes will begin between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. and go until about 8:30 p.m., Cohen said. Each 45-minute session costs $30.

SoulCycle’s bicycles are custom-made to be sweat-proof and waterproof. A special holder under every seat contains free weights that are used during classes, while a longer-than-usual distance between handlebars and seats offers a more intense abdominal workout, Cohen said.

“It’s the most joyful form of exercise,” Cohen said.

Abha Bhattarai covers local retail, hospitality and banking for The Washington Post. She has previously written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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