I’ve never been terribly athletic. I was on the summer swim team when I was a teen and tween, but that is the extent of my fitness life. However, in December 2017 I quit Corporate America to be a full-time blogger and I also decided to make another major life change by hiring a personal trainer. I made these changes because of stress; my body started failing me with bad knees, sore feet, an aching back, and being winded after walking up a flight of stairs. The trainer focused on weights, and I loved it. My husband and I were watching the TV series Vikings and I felt like a shieldmaiden, envisioning I was building walls and slinging axes. Lifting weights connected me with my body in a way I never did before. It was a way to release stress, to have a single focus for just a bit each day, sort of a meditation while also building muscle. And with it, my knees got stronger, my back stopped aching, my sleep improved.
Over the years, I’ve joined gyms and stopped going. I took classes and never renewed after the package ran out. I bought equipment and videos and apps to exercise at home and they collected dust after a few uses. I don’t know if it was being held accountable to an in-person trainer, sharing my workouts on Instagram Stories to thousands of people who would notice if I quit, or just feeling my body change and improve with these workouts that kept me at it for over two years straight.
February 2020, I attended a fashion event where a few vendors were set up, one being Peloton. Another attendee was a Peloton devotee and shared her experience and I checked out the bike and spoke to the Peloton employees. I was never big into cardio; every evening my husband rides his road bike on a trainer in our bedroom but my cardio is doing a leisurely hike in the woods near our home or a bike ride around town with stops for errands and to literally stop and smell the roses. The challenge appealed to me, especially doing it in my home where no one could see me as I panted, as I struggled through what others may find to be an “easy” ride. I took the Peloton rep’s card. My husband and I discussed it, he loved the idea and we liked how the bike was so easily adjusted, his 6’4” serious cycler self, my 5’3” hates cardio self, and even our tween could all ride the bike. We also liked how silent it was. We had two exercise bikes before; one couldn’t get set low enough for my short self, the other one couldn’t accommodate my husband’s long legs. My husband’s road bike on a trainer was noisy and shook the whole house; previous exercise bikes weren’t as loud but still too loud to watch TV in the same room or sleep in the room next door. We researched it, liked how they had interest-free payment plans for as low as $58 a month. We pinned the rep’s card to the calendar and said maybe this summer, maybe before winter, maybe sometime.
And then it was March. The month started off relatively normal, though the news shared stories of other countries being affected by a virus. The gym was still open, business as usual but I started worrying about being in a space where people sweat and spit and breathe heavily, all using the same metal and plastic equipment. My gym had hand sanitizer, wipes, and sprays but I started worrying nonetheless. Discussing it with my husband, we decided now may be the time to get that Peloton. And as though Peloton read our mind, the next morning the rep from the fashion event sent me an email. I used the referral code from the woman at the fashion event who raved about Peloton and signed up with a delivery set for the next week.
Peloton Delivery During the Virus
The next week was when everything began to close. Our kid was home from school, businesses began to telework, and stores were closing or reducing hours. By that Friday when the Peloton was scheduled to be delivered, we were finishing our first week of sheltering in place, not letting people into our homes, and staying at least six feet from those we don’t already live with. Peloton kept us abreast of how their delivery methods changed to adhere to the changing CDC guidelines.
Our Peloton arrived on the same day it was scheduled. The two Peloton employees built the bike outside in their van and carried it to our yard. Armed with gloves and sanitizing wipes, they instructed us from about ten feet from our front door how to attach the monitor, how we can take off the pedals, how to put on and off the toe cages we ordered so our child could also ride it. They showed us how to adjust the handlebar and the seat, how to use the heart rate monitor, and answered any questions we had including the best tips for carrying the 135 lb. bike into our home. They were so friendly and helpful while keeping a safe distance, and wiped everything down before they left. Considering the circumstances, I felt it was the best kind of service and support possible, I was very impressed.
With over a foot height difference between me and my husband and both of us being strong, we actually found it best to carry the Peloton up any stairs with the front of the bike in back, my husband carrying the back of the bike and me the front. The front is the heavier part, so this may be different for everyone. The bike is set up that you can easily rest it on a stair if you’re carrying it up a flight so you can adjust your grip or take a breather. It’s so slim we were able to get it up a narrow flight of stairs and make a three-point turn in our tiny hallway to get it into our home office.
Related Post: A Tour of our Home Office
Setting up the Peloton
The Peloton arrived 99% attached, we just had to snap on the monitor which was already hooked up with the wires and the arm that connects to the bike itself. The tech showed us how to do it, we just repeated it inside our home. The only other thing we had to do was attach the power cord which connects at the back of the bike down near the floor. Peloton techs took care of the rest, including putting on the pedals, before leaving our yard.
As soon as you turn on the monitor it will go through all the steps for you to connect wireless, choose to connect to Facebook and Spotify (to connect with friends and save favorite songs to a playlist), create accounts, and even connect headphones to Bluetooth. It is super user friendly, you don’t need to be a techie to get started on Peloton, but give yourself a half hour to do all the setup, and an extra 10-15 minutes for each other member of your family to set up their profiles.
My Experience Purchasing a Peloton
I called our local Peloton store to place the order, hoping it would help them. I believe all Peloton stores are now closed and orders are through their website. We decided to do the $58 a month for 39 months with 0% APR plan. The rep had us go through the website, where we prequalified and set up payments with Affirm that are directly withdrawn from our bank account. We used the referral code from the woman I met at the fashion event who loved her Peloton. Once any Peloton owner hits ten rides, they receive a personal referral code. They can refer up to 12 people per year. The code provides the new customer with $100 off Peloton accessories like shoes, weights, and heart rate monitors; the referrer then receives $50 credit to use in the Peloton boutique. There are no Peloton referral codes or links in this post; click here to learn more about the referral program.
Once we were approved and set up for payments, I received an email to set up the Peloton app, which is a separate charge of $39 a month. It is for an all-access membership, meaning multiple individuals in our family can have separate accounts and individually track their workouts and stats. You can use the Peloton app without a bike, but you can’t use the bike without the Peloton app. The app isn’t just bike rides but also floor workouts, yoga, meditation, and more.
To have this for around $100 a month and to be used by the whole family seemed like a good price. I started thinking of how I can easily spend $100 a month on things I don't need or don't even remember buying – a random salad dressing that ends up tasting terrible, a venti from Starbucks when I can just go home and make a coffee, the upgrade of a pedicure at the nail salon, that clearance top in a slightly odd color with a slightly odd fit, the Kindle book I likely could have gotten from the library… I decided to start tracking my monthly spending more carefully so it would even out, not be an additional cost for my family.
Using the Peloton as a Non-Cyclist Non-Cardio Person
I’m 45, I carry around 195 pounds on my 5’3” frame, and as I mentioned, I am not one who does a lot of cardio. Followers on social media upon hearing I got a Peloton had so many suggestions for classes and instructors for me to check out. I tried a 30-minute advanced beginner class and could NOT keep up. I finished it, but a good portion of it was done at about the same cadence I use when riding on a smooth road in my neighborhood on a fixed-gear adult trike. But I signed up where for the next 39 months I’d be paying for this thing so I was going to figure out how to make this thing work.
I tried a 20-minute beginner class. I didn’t vibe with the instructor, but I could keep up with the resistance and cadence about 75% of the time. I waited a day, tried a different 20-minute beginner class with a different instructor, I liked it and was able to keep up with the resistance and cadence maybe 85% of the time. Third ride, another 20-minute beginner class with a third instructor. This time, I kept up maybe 98% of the time and really felt good afterward. After two weeks of doing rides every two to four days, I was able to again try an advanced beginner class where I kept up about 75% of the time. And by this time, I knew that 75% was really awesome and instead of feeling defeated I felt damn proud. This is my fourth week with the Peloton, I am still doing advanced beginner classes, but I can keep up 100% of the time and sometimes push myself even farther. It's amazing how much I've acclimated to cycling in such a relatively short time!
There is a leaderboard on the right side of classes. For your first few rides, click the icon to make that leaderboard disappear. Who cares about how strangers are doing? This is for you. Get familiar with the bike, and with your body on the bike. Try out some classes, try different instructors. The instructor your BFF loves may not be one you love and that is okay. No need to instantly connect with friends on there. Heck, you can even change your screen name after getting acclimated. Get comfortable so you have a baseline to getting outside your comfort zone.
How My Family Uses the Peloton
My husband has been doing his own 30-minute ride on his road bike on a trainer for years but it has its limitations. He likes with the Peloton, it’s sturdy enough for him to get out of the seat, he likes the metrics – cadence, heart rate, resistance. He will put on a class, but sometimes he listens to his own music and just uses the class to have goals for cadence and resistance. My daughter likes the rides through various cities and countries. She sets up her tablet next to the Peloton and listens to her own Spotify playlist during it. I am the one who uses it more “traditionally.” So far I have only done pre-recorded rides. I wear my earbuds, I’ve connected Spotify so I can save songs I like, I enjoy the feeling of having someone motivating me through my workout. I am also the only one who is using the app; I’ve used it for some floor work and also for meditation. I can see the family using the app more in the coming months.
Children are supposed to be 13 before they use Peloton. Do as they say, not as I do. My tween doesn’t do the workouts, she just enjoys riding for 15-30 minutes at her pace while “exploring” new places. She is tall enough to have the bike at the right settings. She doesn’t wear bike shoes, just her athletic sneakers (to use athletic sneakers, you need either toe cages which Peloton offers, or to switch out the pedals).
Gear We Use with Our Peloton
With the $100 credit we received from using a friend’s referral code, we chose toe cages for the pedals for our daughter to ride without cycling shoes, and two heart rate monitors. We did not get any other Peloton gear. This is what else we use with our Peloton:
- Bike mat: You really want to have a mat under the bike to not only protect the floor and stabilize the bike, but to catch sweat. Even as a newbie, you will sweat. Peloton has a lovely mat, but honestly, a yoga mat is perfect in thickness and size. That is what we’re using.
- Bike shoes: Peloton has their own shoes with Look Delta Road cleats. However, you don’t have to use their shoes. Any cycling shoe can have the Look Delta cleats added, and you can get Look Delta cleats at other retailers such as Amazon. In fact, a person from Peloton suggested Amazon because at the time of our order they were out of stock of cleats. My husband has his beloved pair of bike shoes that he has had for I think two decades that have been with him on adventure races and centuries and such. I had bike shoes back before I had my daughter but I have no idea where they went and pregnancy also changed my shoe size. I have wide feet and when researching online the best cycling shoes for wide feet many said Shimano. I chose to get these shoes because they were stretchy for wide feet, but I also thought they looked cool. I got them in the blue color. They’re comfortable and fit great, though if you’re unsure size down. You crank the dial to tighten and then pull the dial out to release.
- Bike pedals: Just with any road or mountain bike, Peloton pedals are removable and in the same method (check out YouTube to know how to remove pedals, don’t just try to figure it on your own if you’ve never done it before). We chose to remove the Peloton pedals and use my husband’s pedals that work with Shimano SPD shoe clips. These clips are smaller so you can walk around in your shoes without tearing up your floor, also the pedals are able to be used as “normal” pedals for our daughter who wears her sneakers to ride.
- Weights: Peloton carries weights to put in the holders on the back of the bike, but honestly any small hand weights you can get at Target and other stores also fit. Start small. I started with 5 lb. weights thinking after all these years of lifting I could handle it. Nope, I couldn’t keep up during a 10-minute toning workout so I switched to 2 lb. Much better. Even my husband who regularly lifts feels it in his arms and shoulders after a class with the 2 lb. weights.
- Headphones: My husband got me the Powerbeats Pro for Christmas which I use on the Peloton. They stay in place and can handle me getting sweaty. Peloton bikes will easily connect to any Bluetooth headphones.
- Clothing: I sweat way more on Peloton than on the elliptical at Planet Fitness, than a hard session of weight training, than most anything else in my life. Clothing that is loose drives me batty, even leggings that aren’t 7/8 or cropped that end up gathering at my ankles or behind my knees are annoying AF. I like a fitted legging or capri and a sports bra with a fitted tank or a lightweight cropped top that doesn’t gather or cling anywhere. I am not wearing padded cycling shorts; while I really needed them when we used to road bike before I got pregnant, I haven't felt the need with the Peleton, likely because I'm only riding for 20-45 minutes instead of a couple of hours. That being said, my husband wears his padded cycling shorts, but that can also be from decades of habit.
- Other Gear: Any size of water bottle will fit in the bottle holders, no need to buy anything fancy. I always ride with a hand towel or washcloth to wipe my face as I sweat. I drape it over the handlebars to reduce the amount of sweat that ends up on them. I then use the towel to wipe down any sweaty parts of the bike after the workout. We also keep a multi-surface cleaner nearby and will spray a towel and wipe down the seat, handlebars, and weights after workouts.
I am no Peloton expert, but I have had so many people ask about my experience because I am not a cyclist, I am not a cardio enthusiast, and I never got athletic until after turning 40. I am really glad we got our Peloton, it has helped us burn off stress and energy while sheltering at home. I know many of you reading this own a Peloton and have had it for far longer than us; do share your tips in the comments!