THE BASICS: Psycle is a brand new sparkly spin studio right in the heart of London town (less than a 5 minute walk from Oxford Circus station). Psycle has opened in a blaze of excitement on the London fitness scene, offering a state-side inspired, choreographed class on static resistance bikes. £20 per class.
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: Londoners had been whipped into a near frenzy at the build up to this studio’s launch, and upon opening the doors to the big, cream reception area, I was definitely impressed with the space, the décor, and the smiley welcome. I was handed a pair of immaculate white spinning shoes to change in the studio, and went into the changing area to check it out (and to get changed obviously, otherwise I would have looked a bit weird).
I admit, I’d had wrestled with the idea of parting with £20 for a 45 minute class, but as I went in clutching my pristine shoes and then saw free towels, hair turbans, toiletries and swish computerised lockers in the vast changing rooms, I could appreciate that you’re also paying a premium to work out in such a beautiful space.
I argued silently with the electronic lockers for a bit (I also struggle with the following; automatic doors, automatic hand dryers, and – the bane of my life- automatic taps). Winning the locker stand-off and wishing I was more technologically capable, I headed down to the waiting area outside the basement studio, eagerly anticipating the class.
I smiled at a few people but didn’t receive much a vibe back which was a shame, but I think can probably be attributed to the fact that this studio is in Big Scary Central London, where people don’t smile at each other….. It may have also been down to the fact that not everyone sees a workout as a social occasion like myself, and so may have been keen to avoid the grinning loner (rightly so).
We went in, picked up some hand weights (I went for the 3kgs) and found our bikes. Our instructor introduced herself; she was tiny, bouncy and enthusiastic which was great. As she got her microphone and music plugged in and ready to go, two people in Psycle t-shirts dashed around the studio to get our bikes set up and shoes clicked into place correctly. Towels were rolled up on the bikes ready for use- again a nice touch.
The music began and our instructor got us peddling at a low resistance. She got us clapping above our heads in time to the music which was a fun way to start the class, and the light in the studio (dim enough to hide the sweat but illuminating the crowd by really cool strips of dancing colour all around us), meant that we could see the whole group. Because of this visual element to the class, we probably worked to stay in unison with one another, like a little choreographed team, which I think suited the class.
In terms of the class content itself, I found it good fun but a little gimmicky at times. I liked the variation of forward, backward, sideways standing sections, but some of the ballet arm moves left me a little frustrated, as I would have rather used weights to get more of a sweat on. I appreciate they were working our core and improving balance, but I think the concept of spinning to me is to thrash myself and promptly fall off the bike when I finish.
This may simply mean I am a sadist, but unfortunately the spinning luddite in me didn’t overly rate ballet arms in a class I’d originally hoped to be sweating like a Hot Bitch at.
Things I definitely liked during this class: 1) the lighting- the studio is very pretty. 2) The soundtrack; Great choice of songs, in fact I think the music made the class for me. However, in classes like this, songs absolutely need to be mixed into a seamless mix, and I think that the choppiness between the (admittedly excellent) tracks was due to first few days of teething, so forgivable. The happy vibe of the class was also undeniable, and the instructor worked hard to keep this consistent. Her enthusiasm and beaming smiles were encouraging and genuine.
Main thing that I would hope to see improve as Psycle cuts its teeth: the break in the middle of the class. We were instructed to take two minutes of a nice mellow track to spin our legs out half way though the class. I wasn’t so sure of how necessary it was to cut a 45 minute class in two with a rest, especially considering that it was more shiny-forehead-choreography over unadulterated-intense-sweat. I would have preferred to keep going for the whole class.
Class over, one more argument with the electronic lockers and off home to see how Mr. Calf-Tendon injury liked the class. (Answer the next day- he was happy enough to wear heels in the office).
THE VERDICT: I got the impression that Psycle is a whole package- a concept if you will. This is rather than a place you go to get down and dirrrrrty for some sweaty endorphin-inducing spinning. It’s a £20 package of a glamorous studio, sumptuous extra touches, a cracking central location, and some gimmicky lighting and choreography. Together this package was cute, and I think will suit the clientele who will be attracted by the location. It isn’t so much (not yet at least- perhaps it will become this) a place you go to when you want beast yourself after a day at the office and leave dripping with sweat. I prefer dirty, crunking nightclub spinning. For me, Psycle was pretty spinning.
If you’ve never been spinning before, then Psycle would make a good introduction, but I think you may find yourself wanting something a little meatier as you get into a spinning rhythm. I’ve heard Tim’s classes are the sweaty hardcore ones but can’t verify at the moment! It’s very early days for this studio- I might pop back to see how my experience compares once the building dust has settled.
THE EXTRAS: It was nice to bump into the Food and Lycra ladies at this class!