Sooooo… husby convinced me to get a Peloton bike a few weeks ago. I was kind of meh about it because it just struck me as being far too expensive for what it is and it has the whiff of faux luxury to me. (Incidentally, this is also how I feel about Tesla vehicles.) You can go on Kablamazon and get what seems to be a decent spin bike for like $400. And the Peloton bike starts at over five times that price. And then there’s a $40 monthly subscription on top of that. (My miserly tendencies also cause me to sneer at anything with a monthly recurring cost.)

But, I gotta say, I kinda love it.

First of all, let’s be clear: it’s definitely overpriced. See above. So, deriving value from this purchase commensurate with what comes out of your pocket will take work. According to the NYT review, it takes about six months of four classes a week to reach the equivalent of in-gym spin classes. So you have to not only use it, but you have to love it. See above.

One thing that I love about it is that when you subscribe, you get access to biking, running, bootcamp, stretching, yoga, meditation, and other sorts of guided classes. I thought it was just biking classes, cuz it’s a bike. But it’s not. I also didn’t realize that you don’t even really need the bike to subscribe if you just want some instructors to lead you through exercises. For me, I don’t like interacting with other humans directly, but having one yell goofy things at me through a screen actually does have appeal.

I like to use Chromecast to put some of the classes on the television in the den to do yoga and meditation. It’s super handy.

So far, I have not found a meditation instructor that works for me, but I VERY much appreciate their short, beginner yoga classes.

Another thing that works well for me is badges. For normal humans, this is really stupid. Badges have absolutely no value outside of psychological manipulation. I love them. This is a kind of manipulation to which I am extremely susceptible. I have done some sort of Peloton class every single day since we got it and I will continue to do so for at least a total of 60 days because there is a badge you get for working out 60 days in a row.

Sidebar: I think Peloton should have “secret” badges that they issue for things like:

  • When you bike the equivalent distance of the length of a country. EVERY COUNTRY. Like, “Yay! You biked the length of Monaco!” “You’ve biked the length of England!”  and so on.
  • When you’ve biked the distance of the circumference of the Earth and other geographic elements. “Yay! You biked the depth of the Marianas Trench!”  “You biked the distance from pole to pole!”
  • When you’ve generated enough wattage to power a lightbulb for an hour, a day, a month, a year.

I freaking love badges. I am not a normal human.

The machine itself is pretty cool. It’s sleek and has a giant touchscreen.  I like the UI.  I also enjoy giving other people on rides with me high fives.  I haven’t tried any of the live classes yet, but I might eventually. They also have “scenic” rides where they just play video of hiking trails and things while you pedal.  As a machine, it really is nice.

The only feature of the machine that I’d like to see is some sort of “auto adjust” feature on the resistance so that I don’t have to turn the knob myself during classes.

The instructors are generally good and there are a ton of them, so you can find people whose style/playlists you enjoy.  I particularly like Robin Arzon, Ally Love, and Alex Toussaint.

Speaking of playlists, one of my complaints is the Spotify integration. I can connect it to my Spotify account. When I “heart” things in a class, they turn up in a special playlist in Spotify. But I canNOT just play one of my own playlists through the bike when I’m on one of the free rides.  I think that’s annoying.

And speaking of integrations, it will connect to lots of apps and devices. I mentioned Chromecast above, but it will also connect to Apple TV. I use my airpods with it instead of the corded headphones. It will connect to Strava, Spotify, Facebook, and a bunch of other apps.

Peloton also sells a treadmill, but I’m not very interested in that. There are rumors that they may come out with a rowing machine at some point.  If I’m still riding their bike when that happens, I will probably be pretty keen to get the rower because I love rowing.

All in all, it’s an expensive, but actually very nice piece of home gym equipment. During this time of coronavirus when gyms are closed, it’s a really cool thing to have and I’m slowly working it into my daily routine, which is good.

Here’s the NYT Wirecutter review if you want to read some more about the pros and cons: