Rêve Cycling: halfway to SoulCycle

It’s not breaking news that indoor cycling has taken the fitness world by storm. Whether you prefer to be part of the tribe at SoulCycle or battle it out for the top spot in FlyWheel, you’ve heard of spinning, and have probably tried it (or have at least been tempted to).

This past summer, SoulCycle filed for an IPO after earning $112 million in revenue during  2014. Media and investors alike cite the cult-like following and tribe mentality as keys to the company’s success. As a frequent spinner myself, I’ll admit that at first these classes seem crazy. On average, classes cost $30 for 45 minutes, they’re initially hard to follow, and definitely intimidating. The high-intensity classes include push-ups, crunches, tap-backs, and around-the-worlds, not to mention the 5 minute arm section. SoulCycle relies on rhythm riding, pushing the pedals to the beat of the music, slower for hills and higher resistance,  and lower for sprints and ab work.

Unsurprisingly, these cult classes have made their way up to Maine. And while they have yet to migrate up to Waterville, I decided to drive south for my spinning fix, to Rêve Cycling in Portland.

Founded in 2013, Rêve fills the niche of boutique spinning in Portland without requiring the drive down to Boston. However, just as Portland is halfway to Boston, Rêve is about halfway to SoulCycle.

Don’t get me wrong, my need for stationary speed was completely quenched, but, part of me wanted to do more. SoulCycle takes some getting used to, but once you get the moves and the rhythm, there’s no going back. There’s a difference between indoor cycling and a full-body workout. Rêve is indoor cycling. It’s a lot of hills, a lot of sitting in the saddle, and a lot of jumps, but it’s not a lot of fun. It’s hard to imagine, but I find myself smiling at SoulCycle. The music, the moves, the instructors, the dark room, the synchronicity of a sold out class: it’s infectious.

The differences: Rêve was far from sold out. Not a bad thing; I did go at noon on a Tuesday, but it definitely detracted from the ambiance. The motivational sayings were also all about the individual, rather than riding with a group. There was no upper body engagement in this class, but there are others offered, which do include weights and toning. At $12 a class for students, Rêve is way more affordable, even including the cost of gas to get to Portland.

The similarities: The facilities were awesome, super clean, and well-kept. The staff was friendly and helpful. The instructor was motivating and had lots of energy.

Overall, had I not been so familiar with SoulCycle I think I would have loved Rêve, but, it just came a little short. Though, the first time I tried SoulCycle, I wasn’t sold either, so I think I’ll give Rêve a second chance.

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