I swapped my real bike for Peloton classes for two weeks — here’s what happened

A woman riding a Peloton bike
(Image credit: Peloton)

If Peloton is a cult, I’m already a fully indoctrinated member after testing the Peloton Tread for 100 miles (read my Peloton Tread review here to find out more). Yet when I installed the Peloton Bike+ in my living room last week, I wasn’t sure how my boyfriend, David — a dedicated road cyclist — or my puppy, Toby — a dedicated chewer of just about every laptop charger I’ve ever owned — would cope. 

Two weeks later, the dog has decided the Peloton isn’t all too interesting after all (plus, the bike comes with a handy lock to stop him from being able to turn the pedals and hurt himself), but my boyfriend has been the bigger surprise. Despite initial grumbles about the living room looking like a gym, he’s quickly swapped his daily rides around the Surrey Hills for 90’s hip-hop rides in the living room. Putting my fitness editor hat on, I asked David how he’d found swapping his outdoor bike rides for the spin workouts. 

Check out the best exercise bikes for spinning indoors, plus the best shoes for Peloton and indoor cycling. Not sure which cardio machine is best for you? Have a read of our treadmill vs exercise bike article to see which is a better workout.  

The bike was much better looking and much quieter than other indoor spin bikes 

“I was skeptical about having an exercise bike in the living room," David said. "That said, the Peloton is much better looking than other indoor spin bikes — they’ve done a good job making it feel premium, and more stylish. It’s also really quiet thanks to the magnetic resistance — I’m able to do a class first thing without worrying about waking the neighbors up.” 

It's easier to get workouts in 

“In the winter months, I’ll use my turbo trainer when it’s tricky to get outside, but it’s always a bit of a faff and involves me cleaning the bike, removing the back tire, and getting it set up before I ride," David said. "The Peloton is super easy to adjust and having it set up in the living room does make it easy to clip in and get cycling, especially if there’s more than one of you using it. You don’t have to worry about finding your bike lights, your puncture repair kit, and your spare tire — only to find your bike computer isn’t charged. 

“As a cyclist, I know I should be doing more strength training, but have never really found a plan that has kept me interested. I’ve started doing a strength plan on the Peloton, and have enjoyed doing these classes. That said, from a cycling perspective, so far I’ve found the classes seem to be aimed at those looking to increase their overall fitness, rather than improve their cycling performance, although I haven’t played around with the FTP test settings yet.” (Here’s how to do an FTP test on the Peloton).

I’m a big fan of the data 

“Like a lot of cyclists, I’m competitive, so I’ve enjoyed seeing the leaderboard on the screen with my PB — it’s a great motivator," David said. "It did take me a couple of classes to realize that the leaderboard in on-demand classes reflects where you are in the class, and that you’re not actually racing. I also struggle to keep my ego in check and hold back in recovery classes, but that’s on me. I also like being able to see all my data — my cadence, power, resistance, and heart rate, on the screen in front of me, and use my Apple Watch as a heart rate monitor

“One thing I have found slightly irritating is that I can’t see friend’s rides anywhere on the app or bike. I know I can ride with them if I want, but it would be good if, like on the Strava app, I could ‘like’ or interact with their activities.”

It’ll never fully replace outdoor workouts

“When the weather is great, there’s nothing like getting out on my bike, and while the Peloton is fun, it won’t replace that," David says. "I love heading out and discovering new places, stopping for a coffee, or meeting friends, and that social element is missing when cycling indoors. Personally, for me cycling outdoors is more fun as there are constantly different challenges, for example, gradient on a hill, or an obstacle to avoid. While the Peloton does make indoor workouts far more interesting than just spinning on the turbo, for me, it won't ever replace the real thing.”

Read next: I did 30 Good Mornings every day for a week — here’s what happened to my body

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy. 

  • KingOfTheClimb
    You can absolutely pair your Peloton and Strava accounts and see what friends are up to. I do it all the time.