After Trying Peloton, I’ll Never Look at Indoor Cycling the Same Way Again

I tried the famous stationary bike as it launched in Canada. There's plenty to love — plus one not-so-small problem.

Peloton BikePhoto Credit: Peloton

Peloton Bike review: The first ride

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 makes the delivery guy laugh. “It’s a good thing,” he proceeds to tell me. “You don’t want your feet slipping out of the pedals, do you?” He’s right, I don’t. He takes me through the bike’s many features, I ask all my questions, then, leaving my cycling shoes clipped in, I show him out the door.  (This was before a holiday ad from the company starring a “Peloton Wife” caught significant backlash online — otherwise I may have had more questions).

I hop straight back on the bike, strap on my cycling shoes, awaken the 22-inch HD touchscreen directly in front of me and choose a class. I’m drawn to a 30-minute ride with Peloton instructor 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 a Justin Bieber hit plays in the background. I struggle to make my way through his interval-packed class. My legs feel like jelly, my body’s drenched in sweat, and I feel like quitting. But even though I know he’s not actually watching me, Rigsby’s constant encouragement through the screen helps.

In the final minute of my ride, I turn down the resistance to flush out my muscles. An energetic high overtakes my body. My face breaks out in a huge grin. First ride: complete.

My 30-day Peloton challenge

I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to trial one of these machines 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). I decided to complete a 30-day challenge. I made a pact with myself to ride every single day. Here’s how it went.

The convenience

There’s no question that having a top-of-the-line stationary bike just a few meters from my couch is as convenient as it gets. The reality of not having to pack a gym bag, or madly rush to a class after working late allowed me to go into a Peloton ride stress-free. And it was lovely to not be stuck in a stuffy gym along with 30 others sweaty individuals.

I’m not alone feeling this way. 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 work out more if they could do it from the convenience of their own home. I know I did!

The instructors

I had my pick of instructors, quite literally, at my fingertips. But no matter what classes I tried, I always seemed to return to Rigsby, to my first-ever class instructor. Whether I joined in on one of his live classes or an on-demand option, his energetic personality always gave me the drive to power through.

There was also this virtual instructor-rider relationship that I found fascinating. I felt as though I knew him. Alone on my bike, I’d respond to his questions, laugh at his jokes, acknowledge his feelings, and take note of his tips. I trusted him and his expertise to both take care of me and push me to new limits. (Related: Here are 9 amazing Canadian women trainers to follow on Instagram now)

Easy progress tracking

Tracking tech has made being able to track your progress during a workout easy, and  Peloton is no exception.  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 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 130 kilojoule at the beginning of the month to a solid 160 at the end.

But, the cost…

This bike forever changed cycling class for me. Now that I’ve had a taste of having my own personal Peloton, it’s hard to get excited about in-studio classes again. But, with Peloton packages ranging from $2,950 to $3,404 at the time, plus the monthly class streaming membership of $49/month, the cost of continuing the at-home experience is out of my budget. I can only hope, Cody, that we’ll meet one day again.

Next, find out which workout might be about to overtake spinning in popularity.