Nearly everybody has heard of SoulCycle by now. In fact, this cycling class has been labeled a cult, an obsession, or even therapy. It soothes the soul and works the body at the same time, creating an experience that people can’t stop returning to. When I came to Harvard after winter break, however, I had not choice but to try HandleBar as a convenient replacement. Inspired from our parallel tasting activity, I decided to compare and evaluate these two cycling experiences. (Been to both at least 5 times). Pricing: SoulCycle is 2x more expensive (around 35$) for one ride, whereas Handlebar is 16$ for students. Instructor: SoulCycle instructors really set a high bar in making the room feeling like energy itself- their words inspire you to embrace life and you feel like you’re overcoming your greatest personal challenges with a group of people whom you now feel connected with. HandleBar instructors are also extremely energetic and inspiring; they dance to the music like there’s no tomorrow During the workout: For me, SoulCycle has a greater variety in song tempos, so you get both HIIT workouts, slow climbs, and fast sprints. HandleBar has equally great variety for its 45 min classes, but perhaps a bit less for its 60-minute classes. Both instructors are on the bikes with you and push you along through example. Lighting: SoulCycle uses more variety in lighting, in both color and intensity. They also light candles around the room, bringing everything together. HandleBar seems to use at most three different light settings — my vote goes to SoulCycle for this one without question. After the workout: Both workouts get me sweating through my clothes, but I feel just a tad more empowered with SoulCycle. The instructors inspire you with motivation, the music infuses you with energy, and the room glows with each song. Handlebar comes in as a very close second and I continue to cycle with them – but there’s simply something unique about the SoulCycle experience that really takes it over the top.