SoulCycle sparks debate after bribing Peloton riders to turn in their bikes in exchange for free classes

·2-min read

SoulCycle is offering free classes to Peloton riders, but on one condition: they ditch their Peloton bike.

The indoor cycling franchise announced the Souls Reunited program on 27 July as part of its campaign “F#ck It, Let’s Ride Together,” a push to get customers back in the SoulCycle studio as pandemic restrictions ease.

The program is simple: The first 100 eligible riders will receive 47 free, in-studio classes at any of SoulCycle’s 83 locations in the US. To qualify, people must own a fully-paid Peloton Bike or Peloton Bike+ and must not have taken an in-studio class after 16 March 2020. SoulCycle is also offering complimentary pick-up of the exchanged Peloton bike, as long as riders live within 20 miles of one of SoulCycle’s 83 studios.

Fast-acting Peloton owners must register between 27 July and 3 August in order to receive the free classes worth $1,400 – about the same price as a Peloton exercise bike.

“Riding in a studio is an unrivaled experience, adding a much needed dose of intoxicating energy and an electric atmosphere into our workout routines, and we missed this during the pandemic,” the company said on its website. “This offer is about saying ‘we hear you’ to those who want those feelings back, and giving them the chance to ride together again.”

Peloton sales skyrocketed as the Covid-19 pandemic forced gyms to close and fitness junkies to turn to indoor workouts. But now that lockdown restrictions have lifted, the maker of the high-end exercise bikes and treadmills has taken a huge hit.

In February, the company laid off 2,800 of its employees. Earlier this month, Peloton announced it will stop making its own bikes and treadmills and will instead outsource production to Taiwanese company Rexon. As an effort to rebrand, Peloton tapped Christopher Meloni to star in its newest advertisement focusing on the Peloton app, rather than its at-home bikes.

However, fans weren’t sure what to make of SoulCycle’s new offer on social media, as some revealed they found the campaign “desperate and pathetic”.

“I love SoulCycle - you guys were like my ‘first love,’ but this is a little desperate and pathetic,” one person commented, while another said: “This is so tacky.”

“This feels desperate,” someone else claimed, while others suggested that the offer would lead to excessive waste. “Also the waste?? Weird flex,” one person wrote.

Meanwhile, SoulCycle released its own indoor bike in March 2020 starting at $2,500.

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