Hey friends, welcome to this 5 minute read! By the time we’re done, I’m going to tell you all about my first impressions of the Peloton bike, if I’ll be getting one, and if I think YOU should look into adding one to your fitness plan.
I celebrated Thanksgiving this year in in Champaign, Illinois at my sister-in-law’s house, and she has a Peloton bike in their second bedroom. Coordinating consistent fitness and family time can be hard around the holidays, and Irene was kind enough to let be play around with her Peloton while we were there.
I took five different classes and did two scenic rides in the two days that I rode it, and I’d like to share some thoughts with you.
First things first: I’ve only taken a single spin class in my entire life. That was almost 10 years ago as part of the onboarding for my first fitness job. When I first bought a mountain bike 5 ½ years ago, it took me back to my childhood of Boy Scouts and playing outside. All this to say that the whole indoor cycling culture isn’t really my thing. For those of you who aren’t as dedicated to, or elitist about, riding bikes with two wheels outside, the good news is that you won’t have the emotional barrier that I had with getting on something that doesn’t pedal anywhere.
The first day I rode the Peloton I took a 5-minute warm-up class before starting a 90-minute class, but it was pretty boring so I only made it 30 minutes before bailing and doing a scenic ride, which is basically a recorded drive down a path – this one was on the Lost Coast of Humboldt County, California.
That first day of riding wasn’t very fun, and I attribute that to the 3 hours of hard riding and only 5 hours of sleep the day before. After a full night’s rest and recovery, I was better prepared for the training that I wanted to do.
On Thanksgiving I took a 10 minute Hill Climb class as a warm-up, then a 30-minute class that misused the name of Dr. Izumi Tabata, then I took a 30 minute “Sweat Steady” class, and I finished with another 20-minute scenic ride, this time in Patagonia.
Oh, this might be useful context if it seems like that’s a lot of exercise to do in a row: When I go mountain biking or for a road ride, I really like going for that 2-4 hour sweet spot. So there are two big questions you might have: Will Harold be buying a Peloton, and should I get one myself?
Based on my preferences and finances, I won’t be buying a Peloton anytime soon. I’d rather save my money for knobby tires and keeping my suspension squishy. However, it did whet my appetite for training with power, so now I’m intrigued about what it would be like to use a power meter on my mountain bike in addition to a heart rate monitor.
As for you, if it’s financially feasible, a Peloton might be a great addition to your fitness plan. I’m fully aware of the luxury I have with being able to consistently go for 2+ hours outside, and how that’s not a reality for people with families, or babies, or dogs. I’ll keep my long rides, but if I had access to a Peloton at home I’d probably make the most use of the shorter class formats, between 15-30 minutes, to make sure I could consistently get in some high-quality cardiovascular exercise during the day.
Honestly, if I could wake up and hop on this thing for 10 minutes while the coffee brewed or while Katie took a shower, or for 20 minutes after putting dinner in the oven, then I absolutely would use it. My guess is that for the vast majority of people, shorter and more consistent workouts are far more practical than longer durations. If it’s intensity that you’re after, the class database on the Peloton has plenty of options to keep yourself engaged in exercise.
If high-intensity isn’t really your jam then you can certainly take the easier classes… but if that’s the case, it might be a better financial option to get a real bike and casually commute to work instead.
Bottom line: If you’ve got the money for it and the motivation to make use of it on a regular basis, purchasing or subscribing to Peloton might be the move for you. I’ll be saving my money for mountain bikes and trips to take them on, but in reality, a cardiologist won’t be able to tell the difference between what device you’re riding, just if you’re actually doing it. Consider what will help you be the most successful with physical activity, and do that.
Alright friends, that’s it for this piece. If you have experience riding a Peloton, I’d love to know what you think. Do you love the experience? Have a better at-home exercise idea? Prefer a different indoor cycling class? Are you committed to outdoor riding on real bikes like me? Let me know in the comments!
As always, you can watch this episode of HGTV below: