Whether you've actually attended a class in the US or have just seen it referenced on Insta, there's no way you aren't at least vaguely familiar with the concept of SoulCycle.
And from the sounds of it, Echelon is going to be Dublin's new and improved version.
We spoke to Echelon's Founder and Director Carla Bredin to find out a bit more about the soon-to-be cult classes.
What is Echelon?
Echelon, the first built-for-purpose indoor cycling studio of its kind in Dublin city, combines high-intensity cardio, nightclub-style music, and intention-based coaching to provide an exceptional workout experience.
Drawing on the boutique model that has captivated the fitness scene in New York for over ten years, where the ambient, beat-heavy surroundings have riders pedalling in sync, Echelon will be Ireland's upgraded version.
In addition to this style of intention-based rhythm-riding, Echelon specialises in endurance training and will provide a space for riders to tap into their grit and determination. The intense workout has been crafted to ensure riders push to the limits of their comfort zone and back.
Where is Echelon?
The studio, conveniently located on D’Olier Street, is sound-proofed to ensure a nightclub-style soundscape and designed to the highest standard with unique details such as complimentary shoe hire, sweat towels and bath towels and luxurious toiletries.
The qualified indoor cycling instructors at Echelon make up Dublin’s finest and most-dedicated fitness professionals. From marathoners and triathletes to yogis, dancers, and performers, each instructor brings their unique training concepts to the studio.
There's no joining fee, no membership either, riders just log in, buy their class packs, and get on the bikes – lights down, music up!
Show up, sweat, reset
Is Echelon set to be Ireland's version of SoulCycle?
Yes, you could certainly say that. I think that SoulCycle has become shorthand for describing that kind of dimly-lit, beat-driven, inspiration-based coaching on a stationary bike. And that’s exactly what Echelon will be providing for 60% of the schedule. The other 40% of our rides are endurance-focused, so we won’t always be woo-hooing and dancing on the pedals.
If you prefer data-driven performance coaching or are an endurance athlete coming indoors to train, you’ll adore our tech-centric Output Ride. We encourage our riders to try both classes, The Input and The Output, to see which vibes with them more. The results can often be surprising.
When did your wellness/fitness journey begin and how long has setting up Echelon been on your horizon?
I didn’t run my first mile until I was 28, so I was definitely late to the fitness party. When I went back to University to study nutrition, I started running to shake off my science-heavy day, get out of my head and into my body for an hour. I fell in love with the headspace running offered and the distances kept increasing to half marathons and marathons.
Spinning became a complement to the solitary miles I was logging outside and I truly fell in love with it. My sister lives in NYC and is an OG SoulCycler these 10+ years. Every time I’d visit her, she’d take me to those bass-pounding, packed-out, sweaty studios and I loved it. We’d go for brunch or bubbles (or both) and dream about bringing the experience to Dublin. In late 2016, in New York to run the marathon, I stayed for four weeks to visit as many studios as I could.
I returned to Dublin determined to make it happen here. So it’s been officially in the works for just over two years. Securing premises, planning permission, loans, builders, and staff has taken its sweet time. No such thing as a quick fix; in wellness, in business, in life.
Tell us a bit more about the name?
In road cycling, an echelon formation is when the group of riders fan out in a diagonal line along the road. It happens in response to cross-winds so the riders ‘draft’ or slip-stream’ with one another; the sweet spot for drafting is directly behind and a little of the side of the rider in front of you.
Each rider takes it, in turn, to move to the front, because the front of the echelon is where most power must be generated. The rider at the front eventually peels off and goes to the back and the next rider takes the lead and the brunt of the effort. So an echelon is a group of riders who are hungry for individual glory, racing towards the finish line, but working as a team when things get tough.
I can’t think of a better motif to capture what we do. We all have our personal goals and our individual finish lines, but when we acknowledge the strength of the pack and work as a team, we get further together.
What makes an Echelon class different from a regular spin class?
I think the specialist nature of what we do sets us apart. We do one thing, and we do it really really well.
Our passion is for the experience as a whole. Classes are programmed with precision, playlists are woven in with care, and coaching cues are to bring out your best, never diminishing you or pressurising you to push further than you should.
There’s a science and an art to that kind of programming, and we’re incredibly passionate about the results it brings.
Echelon will open its doors this summer, but check out the site now and sign up to hear about the classes first.