Lonely Planet Writer

Heading to NYC? Why you need to try SoulCycle's new bike-less workout

Imagining a SoulCycle class without the stationary bike sounds about as plausible as doing aquaerobics without a swimming pool, or going rock climbing without a climbing wall.

Soul Annex’s newly opened premises in Flatiron District, Manhattan. Image by Soul Annex

Alas, such is the draw behind SoulCycle’s latest venture, SoulAnnex. While not everyone loves the gruelling workout that a traditional spin class guarantees, many fans of the boutique fitness movement still want to be apart of the immersive and cathartic experience that a sweaty session at SoulCycle has become synonymous with. SoulAnnex offers a way to experience that signature cardio burn, without the need to hop on a saddle.

SoulCycle. Image by Ari Perilstein / Stringer/Getty Images

If you haven’t heard of SoulCycle, consider this your primer: real estate mogul Elizabeth Cutler and talent agent Julie Rice opened the doors of their first grapefruit-scented indoor cycling studio in 2006. Struggling to find an exercise outlet they could connect with, the duo sought to fuse the community and team-bonding element Elizabeth found on hiking trails with the spiritual aspect of Julie’s beloved yoga, with some calorie torching cardio thrown in for good measure. Fast forward a decade, some 10,000 people clip into bikes every day at over 80 studios across the country.

Inside the brand’s futuristic SoulAnnex studio.

Newly-opened in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, the brand’s futuristic SoulAnnex studio intends to channel that same vibe for floor and mat based classes with three distinctive modalities in mind: move, define, and align. Like all SoulCycle classes, the major focus here is on rhythm, energy, momentum, strength, and recovery. Signature workouts being offered at the white-lit space include ‘Cardio Kombat’, ‘EmBody’, ‘Le STRETCH’, ‘Tochr’d’, ‘Housework’, and ‘Challenge to Change’.

According to the company’s CEO Melanie Whelan, the official SoulAnnex motto is “It’s never been about the bike.” Call it the soul without the cycle: the brand’s inimitable aesthetic and energy is distinguishable in everything from the sleek reception area and neon lights to the choice of music playlists.

The studio in the newly opened premises.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind experience,” Whelan said. “People come in for an amazing workout but they connect with the staff, who are warm and want to get to know you, and they connect with each other. We wanted to create a space for our riders to come together with our instructors and experience the best of Soul Cycle off the bike. SoulCycle created the “boutique fitness” category in a meaningful way. Because we were the first, we’ve continued to innovate. We’re really competing for our riders’ time: we’re only as good as our last ride,” she added.

SoulAnnex, classes from $34. For more information, see here.