I won’t lie to you — I hate, hate, hate to exercise. When I was at school, I dreaded gym class most of all and would find any excuse I could not to take part. Things didn’t change as I moved into adulthood either. I tried taking up running just to stay healthy, and even strove to train for a couple of 10k races. The problem was, as soon as the race was over, I lost interest again. Even the best cheap fitness trackers didn’t help. But, recently something has taken my interest; the Peloton bike.
For some reason, the Peloton ads on TV really appealed to me. And even though I don’t cycle, and the price point was somewhat hefty, I took the plunge and bought the Bike+ model last week. Here’s my overall experience so far, including what I’ve learned and how things are going.
Since writing this article, I've gone from doing no exercise to one month on a Peloton, here's 5 things I've learned.
Why did I buy a Peloton bike?
It might look like a spur of the moment kind of decision, but I’d actually been considering buying a Peloton for some months. Since the pandemic hit and working from home became a regular occurrence, I felt like I was somehow getting even more unfit. I tried my best to make time for daily walks and convinced myself to go for a couple of short jogs over the weekends, but I found every reason to avoid it.
I saw Peloton sales had shot up during this time and I too wanted to take part. The idea of working out at home without others staring at me was a key driver, and I really liked that, as well as cycling, you could twist the screen of the new Bike+ model to do yoga, pilates and meditation. But, there was such a wait for delivery (13 weeks at the time) that I was put off.
By the time winter hit — with it getting darker earlier and the temperature dropping, I had pretty much stopped exercising altogether. I knew something had to change. That’s when Peloton’s latest bike, the Bike+ actually went into the UK Black Friday sales. It was £300 off, reducing it to £1,995. Still a hefty price by any means and then there’s a £40 ($39) per month subscription fee on top, but when my partner offered to share the cost and the bike, I jumped on the offer. After all, £20 each per month for unlimited classes seemed much cheaper than a gym membership.
The accessories we wanted were likely to ramp up the price, but we found ways to drive it down. Instead of buying two pairs of the Cycling Shoes (£119 or $125 each), we ordered some Toe Clip Adaptors for £25, so we could ride in regular sneakers. We also bought the Bike Mat (£49 or $59) for the bike to sit on, as we didn’t want sweat dripping on the carpet, but you could technically use another mat for this. You can also buy your own adjustable dumbbells and water bottles, so you don’t have to pay top dollar.
Peloton Bike: Installation
I was quite worried about the installation as I’ve heard some horror stories about bikes being abandoned at the bottom of stairs and left for the buyer to assemble. But, I was pleasantly surprised. The delivery arrived during the agreed time slot and the guys called me 30 minutes prior to arrival. We live in a block of flats and they brought the bike through four sets of doors, up the lift, all the way to our spare room.
They took about 20 minutes in total to assemble, and even offered to move the bike around to see if I’d prefer it in another position. I really can’t fault the customer service. They fitted the Toe Clip Adaptors, helped me set up the Wi-Fi connection and took me through navigating the system.
How are the classes?
Since Saturday night, I’ve taken three beginner cycling classes, two yoga classes and one quick meditation class. I was hoping to do more cycling, but being new to it, it has taken its toll on my muscles. I felt fine in the first and second cycling classes, but by the third, the aches and pains started to settle in. Having said that, I’ve cycled 13.4 miles, which I don’t think is too bad for week one. Plus, I can look through my progress on the Peloton app and can see I’m getting faster.
When looking for classes, it’s useful that you can filter by your level of experience, the length of the class, the music genre and even the instructor. You can view a description of the class before you start as well as see the music they’re going to play, which is a nice touch. Plus there’s a good range in lengths of classes — I found 20 minutes was just right for now. But, it can go all the way from 5 minutes up to 90 minutes for cycling.
As I stuck to beginner classes, they didn’t push me to the extreme, but I still found they were more than enough, especially if you ache before you start. I had started to build up a sweat by the end, which to me means it’s working. One thing I will mention is that the seat is taking its toll on my buttocks — this might be because I’m new to cycling, but it admittedly feels like it could be better cushioned.
Hopefully I will get used to it over time. I find the instructors are motivating, they explain the on-screen stats as you cycle as well as how to interact with other cyclists, which was very useful.
I loved that I could see others taking the same class at the same time. I’m pretty competitive, so this drove me to cycle harder. Plus, it’s a nice touch that you get badges and awards for certain milestones, such as for the number of classes you’ve taken and daily streaks. I’ve only taken pre-recorded classes so far, but I definitely want to try the live classes next as I assume these will be the more motivating and interactive option. If you book yourself in, it’s in your diary and you’re less likely to drop out.
The other class options aren’t to be dismissed either. I loved that I could rotate the screen and conveniently select a yoga or meditation class. You can even tilt the screen down so you can see it from a yoga mat. I found these were great to take part in first thing in the morning before I started my day. I will say these can be a bit more complicated than cycling, particularly if you’re not used to yoga. I found myself being asked to do poses I’d never heard of and getting confused by the directions — and twisting your head to look up at the screen isn’t the easiest in the downward dog pose. Having said that, you soon recognize the patterns and become self-sufficient.
My Peloton verdict
All in all, I think it’s been a successful first week with the Peloton Bike+. I want to get on it as much as my body will allow, and I’m definitely feeling it. I now just need to keep it up and hopefully progress to the intermediate levels. I’m excited to try some of the programs too, which involves a number of classes over a few weeks — boxing has just been added, which sounds interesting!
Peloton Bike+: was $2,495 now $2,295 @ Peloton
The Peloton Bike+ is now $200 off, taking the price down to $2,295. This sale ends 12/13. You get a big 23.8-inch display that rotates, 4-channel audio, auto-resistance and Apple GymKit integration.
Peloton Bike: was $1,499 @ Peloton
The regular Peloton Bike offers a 21.5-inch HD touchscreen, 2-channel audio, a resistance knob for manual control and gives you access to thousands of Peloton classes.
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