Peloton’s advertising is bad. The pricey stationary bike’s TV commercials feature extremely attractive humans working out in the living rooms of their expensive high-rises or, even more improbably, in the same bedrooms where their partners are still sleeping. (You have the right to exact excruciating revenge on anyone who thinks pedaling or grunting with exertion are silent activities that won’t wake you.) Then there was the infamous Peloton Wife, who looked physically pained when starting her exercise journey.
Based on its ads, Peloton’s bike is annoying at best and deeply unlikable at worst. And yet I fucking love it.
I became a spinning enthusiast while living in New York (highly recommend the themed classes at Cyc in Chelsea), mainly because it’s a fun way to sweat out a bad day and pretend I’m getting super fit by dance-biking to Beyoncé. It’s also an indoor activity, which is key in winter. When I moved to Los Angeles, I committed to outdoor running as my primary form of cardio, because it seemed like the thing to do. Also, I’m cheap.
So how did I fall in love with Peloton? Many apartment buildings—and not just brand new luxury ones—in LA have amenities, like outdoor pools and gyms. It’s wild. When I moved in, I discovered a single Peloton bike in my new building’s tiny workout room. Shortly afterward, I injured my right heel running thanks to my extremely high arches and aversion to stretching and decided to give the Peloton a shot.
It was a bad decision. When I move out, I’m going to have to buy a Peloton, and that shit costs $2,245 plus tax, not including the monthly subscription fee for classes.
I am not a competitive person so my Peloton love might not immediately make sense. Working out just makes me feel productive, especially after a day of blogging. Exercise also helps me sleep soundly. And as a bonus, I can eat whatever I want and drink beer without buying bigger jeans. (I have diagnosed myself with a slow metabolism, so this is helpful.) All that is to say that one of Peloton’s selling points is its leaderboard, which shows you how much better you are than other people who have taken the class, and I find myself on the fence about it. Sometimes it pushes me to increase the resistance and pedal furiously, muttering “fuck fuck fuck” until the 30-second push ends. Sometimes I banish it from the screen altogether.
Mixed feelings about the leaderboard aside, what I love most about Peloton is the instructors, who somehow motivate me to keep pedaling on this bike to nowhere. They usually make me laugh as sweat drips into my eyeballs, which makes an uncomfortable feeling seem fine. I hope they make a lot of money. When Cody Rigsby tells me to fix my wig after a particularly tough climb, I smooth my ponytail back. When he tells me to “fuck shit up” when a Britney song comes on, I try my best to do just that. Emma Lovewell’s earnestness has gotten me through many an intense arms and intervals session, though I haven’t quite forgiven her for sneak-attacking me with a Tabata class (a form of spinning which is kind of like trying to out-pedal death and failing) when the app description said nothing about Tabata or death.
Unsurprisingly, I am not the only Peloton fan in my building. The lone bike is almost always in use. I wait out all the suckers who wake up early in the morning or bike when they get home from work, preferring instead to hop on the bike after 9 p.m. Yes, I have rearranged my evenings to use Peloton. I hate myself sometimes.
As a person who would rather run outside in the freezing New York winter than pay for a gym membership, my Peloton addiction is inconvenient. And will be expensive when I actually have to pay for it. Fortunately, Peloton is no longer the only game in town, because it’s also one of the most expensive connected stationary bikes on the market. Flywheel ($1,499) and NordicTrack ($1,599) easily undercut Peloton with their bikes. You can also spend a lot less by forgoing the screen: Echelon makes an $840 bike with a bring-your-own-tablet option instead of a built-in display.
Before I splurge on a Peloton, I plan to put those rivals through a test spin. (As I said: I’m cheap.) But they’re gonna have to be really amazing to convince me to break up with Cody and Emma.