Peloton Bike Review: What makes this bike so special?
I cycle my legs cautiously, push down with all my might and finally, my cycling shoes snap into the bike’s clip-in pedals. “That’s a f******* workout!” I say in a testy tone, which spurs the delivery guy into an instantaneous laugh. “It’s a good thing,” he proceeds to tell me. “You don’t want your feet slipping out of the pedals now, do you?” And he’s right, I don’t. As he takes me through the bike’s many features, we’re only several minutes in and I’m all questioned out. Leaving my cycling shoes clipped in, I graciously get off the bike and thank him for his help as I show him out my front door.
Without hesitation, I hop back on the bike, strap on my cycling shoes, awaken the 22-inch HD touchscreen (located point-blank in front of me) and choose a class. I’m drawn to pick a 30-minute ride with Cody Rigsby. The screen counts me down… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. And I’m in.
Chiseled and charismatic, Rigsby leads me into my first-ever at-home Peloton cycling class, as one of Justin Bieber’s infamous hit songs play in the background. Making my way through his interval-packed class, which requires me to crank up my resistance more often than not, I struggle to ride to the beat. My legs feel like jelly, my body drenched, and I feel like quitting. But even though I know he’s not [physically] watching me, his constant encouragement through the screen feels as though he is.
Before I know it, it’s the final minute of my ride. I turn down the resistance to flush out my muscles; an energetic high overtakes my body; my face beams a huge grin. First ride: complete.
My 30-day Peloton challenge
Naturally, I was ecstatic when I was given the opportunity to trial a Peloton bike for a few months for the purpose of writing a Peloton bike review for Best Health (after all, it was named one of the top fitness trends for 2019). In order to get the most out of my experience, I decided to complete a 30-day challenge. Yes, I became one of those women who work out every single day. I made a pact with myself to ride every single day. Here’s how it went.
Having a top-of-the-line stationary bike just a few meters from my couch is convenience at its finest. The reality of not having to pack a gym bag, step outside into the frigid winter air and commute, or miss a favourite instructor’s class because I worked late, was a godsend. These factors allowed me to go into a Peloton ride more stress-free than I would an in-studio class. But the best part? The luxury of not being stuck in an air-restricted space along with 30 other individuals sweating just as much—if not more.
For me, that convenience is key. And I’m not alone. According to a 2018 Ipsos survey, 77 percent of Canadians say it’s more convenient for them to exercise at home than go to the gym, and 70 percent say they would actually work out more if they could do it from the convenience of their own home. I know I did!
I had my pick of instructors, quite literally, at my fingertips. But no matter what classes I tried, I always seemed to go back to my first-ever class instructor, Cody Rigsby. Whether I joined in on one of his live classes or an on-demand option, there was never a time where I didn’t feel supported or pushed to do my best. His high energetic personality always gave me the drive to power through.
There was also this virtual instructor-rider relationship that I found fascinating. In my mind, I felt as though I knew him. I’d respond to his questions, laugh at his jokes, acknowledge his feelings, and take note of his critiques. But most of all, I trusted him and his techniques to take care of my body and push my muscles to new heights. (These Canadian fitness influencers will motivate you to get fit this year.)
Easy progress tracking
It’s not uncommon to be able to track your progress during a workout with all of the high-tech fitness equipment and apps nowadays. But Peloton simplifies that. After each class, I was able to immediately view my calibrated ride chart: where I ranked on the leaderboard, distance travelled in miles, calories burned, and total output which is based on my cadence (speed) and resistance (power) level.
When I began my 30-day challenge, my calibrated results were pretty low. But as the days went on, I started to notice a shift in my cadence and resistance. Whatever Rigsby set as the cadence and resistance baseline, I would happily set it 10 notches higher, all the while staying on beat and retaining my stamina. My total output in a 30-minute class went from averaging a 115 kilojoule at the beginning of the month to a solid 140 at the end.
But, the cost…
I think it’s safe to say, this bike has forever changed a cycling class for me. Now that I’ve had a taste of having my own personal Peloton, I’m bummed about having to return to those in-studio classes I complained about earlier. With Peloton packages ranging from $2,950 to $3,404, plus the monthly Peloton class streaming membership of $49/month, the cost of continuing the at-home experience is a little steep for my budget right now. But it’s a luxury I won’t soon forget about. (Maybe we’ll meet again one day, Cody.)