Ruth Zukerman began teaching spin classes in 1996. She introduced her friends, Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, to the classes and to one another. This trio of friends decided to open their own gym featuring nothing but spin classes. Pooling their cash, their first gym was on the Upper Westside of Manhattan, New York.
Villency Design Group designed the SoulCycle stationary bicycle using a “split seat” to relieve the discomfort caused by conventional bike seats. Equinox Fitness, a competing cycling gym, acquired a majority stake in the company in 2011.
Zukerman left the company in 2009, with Rice and Cutler selling their shares to Equinox in 2016 and stepping down from the company. The company has plans to go public but these plans appear to be stalled as of this time.
SoulCycle has more than 100 locations in 15 US states, Canada, and plans to open a new location in London in 2019. The company also launched its own channel on Sirius XM and Pandora, playing the music they use during the various spin classes.
In August 2019, Related Companies, owner of Equinox and SoulCycle, hosted a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection, leaving many cyclists outraged and calling for a boycott. In response, the company immediately made a plan for “free rides” to raise money for the charity of the instructor’s choice. Numerous other cycling gyms and gyms offering cycling classes, such as Hollywood Fitness Studios and Town Sports International Gym, offered free classes and discount memberships for those who want to boycott SoulCycle and Equinox.
To turn things around, the company put a new CEO in place in December 2020.
The corporate office for SoulCycle remains in New York City, New York.