“Let’s keep it moving.”
I was being Peloton-blocked.
Good-naturedly, my husband quickly ushered me past their brand new storefront in Tysons Corner Mall the moment he turned around to find me fixed in place, staring at this:
“Remember the elliptical?”
How could I forget, I wanted to say, when you won’t stop bringing it up?
Yes, the elliptical. The same one that had gone unused in my basement for close to a year. Which, as I tried to explain to him many times, was not really a fair comparison OR criticism. On account of the mice.
At some point, a lone mouse pulled a reverse Shawshank Redemption move by tunneling through a small brick opening he’d discovered in the rear of my home, just underneath the patio deck. His friends and relations soon followed. They decided to build a condo underneath my basement couch, directly in front of the elliptical wedged between said couch and the rear wall. For the elliptical user trapped behind the couch, there was only one way out: a narrow opening between the end of the couch and an adjacent wall.
You can guess what happened next.
After prying myself from the fetal position upstairs, I managed to call a pest control company. My then-fiance also set out traps, but I never again stepped foot in that corner of my basement, let alone on the elliptical. Only later, just prior to my wedding, did my daughter reveal to me what they’d also found during the epic clean-out that followed: an impeccably-crafted mice nest woven underneath one of the massive foot pedals of the elliptical. Which I guess they were using as a front porch.
(The irony was not lost on me. Had the elliptical been put to regular use, as He Who Shall Not Be Named loves to point out, there’s no way that would have happened.)
Whatever. Rodents are second only to snakes on my list of phobias, so following the drama that elliptical was as good as dead to me. I’d never again be able to use it without feeling like vermin were creepy-crawling all over my skin. It was like the Hoarders Rat Guy episode all over again.
Can you imagine? It took me two years to get past that scene in this guy’s living room. And just hearing the first few bars of the song Ben is enough to trigger flashbacks. Which leaves me feeling very conflicted since – just as I did when I was 10, standing in front of my 1975-era bedroom mirror with a fake hairbrush microphone in one hand – I still drop whatever I’m doing to sing passionately along.
On the one hand, there’s something so beautiful and poignant about a 14-year-old Michael Jackson serenading his beloved pet. On the other hand, it’s about a damn rat.
Ben, the two of us need look no more, we both found what we were looking fooooorrrr….You’ve got a friend in me-e-eee…
The elliptical had to go.
I called up my sister and brother-in-law to ask if they wanted a nice pre-loved piece of exercise equipment. I left out that whole ugly business about the foot pedal infestation but, honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered. This was the King and Queen of Free Stuff That Falls Off the Back of Ye Truck I was dealing with here, so that detail would have been met with little more than an amused For real? quickly followed by just hose it down, we’ll be there in 20.
As it was, no further discussion was necessary. And so now the mouse-tainted machine sits in my sister’s basement…unused.
But I digress. Enormously. Back to Peloton.
An at-home fitness evangelist, I’ve been mulling this thing over for quite awhile now. So far I’m feeling pretty confident that a spin bike like this would not suffer the same fate as my elliptical, and not just because I’ve since moved out of the Mouse House.
For one, any product that got its start by raising $300,000 in an online Kickstarter campaign is clearly bringing something to the fitness market that folks felt was missing. Talk about a grassroots mandate. Second, every person I know who’s gotten into spin cycling is still taking classes months (often years) later. They rave about how drenched in sweat they are when they finish. And, most telling, they keep going back for more despite any logistical barriers involved. (More on that in a bit.)
Consistency leaves clues. Plus, any 45-minute workout that yields a potential 715 calorie-burn deserves my second look.
When I returned to the Peloton store at a later date, I had a nice chat with Anna and Regina, who were delightful and extremely knowledgeable about their product without being pushy. As the videos below show, it’s a pretty cool concept: an at-home spin bike with an attached 22-inch HD screen streaming live and on-demand classes from indoor cycling instructors. (Currently, classes are available in English and Spanish, with plans to add more languages in the future.)
The leaderboard on the display is reminiscent of the participant list at all those boring WebEx online trainings we’re forced to sit through at work, except in Peloton’s case you can be sure these folks are actually busting their tails as opposed to your coworkers pretending to pay attention to PowerPoint slides while surfing the web. The leaderboard compares your cycling performance to others taking the class, so you can track how well you’re doing. (Or how much you’re slacking.)
“We want to be the Netflix of fitness,” said Anna. Or was it Regina? I don’t remember. Too blinded by the bike’s slick chassis and high-tech display, and wondering how on earth I was going to convince He Who Shall Not Be Named that this machine would not become basement-bound as the most expensive clothes hanger on earth.
I resisted seduction. Too soon.
Let’s talk money and ROI, I challenged. Here’s what they told me:
- A Peloton bike costs $1,995. With the 12 month subscription, the total outlay equates to $2,463. (Unlimited user profiles are allowed, and – as mentioned – their progress tracked, meaning everyone in the household can take the live streamed or on-demand classes and compete against one another, if desired, for the same cost.)
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just attend periodic spin classes at a local studio?
- The average boutique studio spin class costs around $30 which means you would spend $5,300 per year if you went 3x per week. So the cost of a Peloton would offset the price of these studio classes in under 6 months. If you attended 2 cycling classes a week, you’d spend $3,500 a year, meaning the cost would offset in 9 months.
To be fair, you can take basic spin classes at other full-service gyms for less. Fees vary, of course, but the average yearly gym membership is around $100-150 per month. This works out to around $1800 annually, or roughly in the same neighborhood as the cost of the Peloton bike itself. So yes, it’s an option for those unwilling to shell out the money for an at-home cycle. For me, though, there’s one glaring wrinkle with that approach:
I’ve talked to a few folks I know who do this, and the whole thing sounds like a giant pain in the ass. For starters, nothing is guaranteed. You’ve got to show up 15-20 minutes early just for THE CHANCE to reserve a cycle. Except, of course, for that one recommended superstar instructor whose class you have no chance of getting into ever, unless you’re willing to camp outside the gym doors like you did for the iPhone 6. (And cosmic law dictates that there be only one of these fitness unicorns employed by your local gym at any given time.)
I’m not a fan of “ifs” or “maybe” anything, after I go to the trouble of schlepping on public transportation or getting in my car and driving X miles to get to a gym or studio. The workout I came for needs to be a sure thing. Which is but one of the reasons why I will always favor a solid at-home fitness solution, where I control all the variables. And can choose on the fly between a 20-minute, 30-minute, 45-minute or 1 hour workout based on whatever I’ve got going that day in terms of my busy schedule.
As if the seduction weren’t already complete, Anna and Regina sent me a nice follow-up email summarizing Peloton’s main selling points:
The Bike – Peloton is the best in-home spin bike on the market. The sleek design, near-silent belt drive and smooth magnetic resistance means you can showcase the bike anywhere in your home without the noise and mess characteristic of other home fitness equipment.
The Tablet- Our 22-inch HD, sweat-resistant touch screen provides you with a truly immersive studio class experience. The quality of the screen, sound and video brings you directly into the studio environment.
The Classes – Featuring the best indoor cycling instructors, Peloton streams 8-10 live heart-pumping group classes directly to your home each day from our studio in New York. Additionally, there are hundreds of on-demand classes available at your fingertips. These classes can be sorted by instructor, language, ride type, ride length and theme and allow you to compete in real-time with other riders who have taken the class. With all this variety you will never be bored.
The Experience- Whether it’s following the leaderboard, tracking your personal metrics or accessing your workout history details, you will enjoy a sense of motivation and achievement unlike any other in-home workouts.
Bless their hearts. They had me at the store window.
That said, a proper review on the Peloton will have to wait until I’ve actually had the chance to give it a test run. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from those who already have. What do you think? Is it worth the money? Do you enjoy the experience? Most importantly, do you find yourself using it at least three times per week?
And on the off chance it’s collecting dust in a corner of your basement somewhere…
You might want to check out underneath those foot pedals. (Just saying.)
To learn more, view the video below or check out www.pelotoncycle.com.