SOUL. Its meaning? “Athlete, Legend, Warrior.” This saying is otherwise known as the SoulCycle motto. And yes. In case you were wondering, I love SoulCycle. I love it with all my heart and thrive with overwhelming joy whenever I get to go on another ride. So clearly, when I was walking down Callao here in Buenos Aires and saw a sign for “RockCycle” I was very intrigued.
I figured since it had cycle in the name, it was a spin facility. However, what really caught my attention was that it looked just like a SoulCycle location, same font and all. When I went home later that day, I did some more digging. And from the looks of the website, it was the “Soul of Buenos Aires.” Almost everything about the website was the same. How to book the bike, the FAQ section, riding to the beat of the music, everything was so similar. It was a little weird, but I figured I would give it a try. Plus the first class was free, so what did I have to lose 🙂
I cannot really describe how I felt walking into RockCycle for the first time. It was sort of like I had stepped into an alternate universe. When I walked in the doors and approached the desk, it looked the same. When I checked in, I had to initial a sheet just like SoulCycle.
I needed to rent bike shoes and put my stuff in a white locker, again just like at Soul. In class the instructor played loud music and told us to ride to the beat of the music. We had an arm section at the 30-minute mark and then finished with the famous motivational ride. Even after class, there was the same coves in the wall to place the shoes and towels.
There were signs made of lights and motivational sayings on the wall, with almost exactly the same words as at Soul.
Part of me loved it. I felt a bit like I was back in Tribeca, riding to my favorite songs with one of my favorite instructors. But another part of me felt like I was cheating one of my loves. I was at SoulCycle, but I wasn’t. It was like I was going on a date with Soul’s identical twin. And that date just wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t the same as the original sibling that I really love.
Now I write about my RockCycle experience because SoulCycle is something near and dear to my heart. But this isn’t the first time I’ve felt this was while being in Buenos Aires. There are a lot of stores here that are just like places that we all know in the US, but they aren’t those actually places. For example, there is a store called Brookside here. Go and you’ll think you are in Brooks Brothers. Everything is the same. But in reality you are in that store called Brookside. I’ve experienced this with stores similar to many other clothing brands as well as food chains.
I don’t know much about Argentinian politics, but from my observations, there are issues with protectionism. My guess is that people have seen brands and ideas while abroad and brought them back with a new name. Most likely because the actual companies cannot break into the Argentinian markets. Again this is a total guess. So don’t take my word on it. It is just interesting to experience. You feel like you’re in one place, but you are actually in another. Like I previously said—it’s like an alternate universe.
Regardless of why this happens here, what I experienced at RockCycle today was a completely weird feeling. It will definitely help to have around every now and then when I start missing things at home too much. But no matter how many times I go back, it will never be SoulCycle. Something about Soul just has a little something that no one can compete with.
It has that “Athlete, Legend, Warrior” experience that I cannot get anywhere else, no matter how similar.