I’ve seen the Peloton Bike advertised on TV, on Facebook and I’ve even had leaflets through the post. But is it worth the money? And can it help me to lose weight? Here are my first impressions after owning a Peloton Bike for 6 weeks.
On 29th July, I saw a jumpsuit in the window of H&M and decided I needed it. I was about to go on holiday for a week and thought the jungle explorer look would be a perfect addition to my holiday wardrobe. The biggest size they had was a size 18, and I tried it on but it didn’t fit. I was absolutely devastated. I cried in the changing room, and again when I got to my car and found I had a parking ticket (I was 10 minutes late coming back to the car).
Logically, I know H&M sizing is awful and unreliable. But logic couldn’t really change how I felt about it. When I started my current job about four years ago, I was a size 10-12. I had started to feel really self-conscious about my weight and didn’t want to leave the house. I felt like I was being stared at and judged when I ate in public or for just existing.
So, I decided to do something about it. I’ve never liked diets (they never work and thrive on making women feel bad about themselves) so I decided to focus on exercise. I have some dumbbells and a workout bench, and a friend wrote a workout plan for me to start me off. But after a couple of weeks, it still wasn’t quite enough. And that’s where the Peloton Bike comes in.
Why the Peloton Bike?
I started seeings ads for the Peloton Bike on Facebook and on TV — suddenly it seemed to be everywhere. I like cycling but I know if I had a road bike, I would make constant excuses to not do it — it’s too cold, it’s too hot, it’s too rainy, it’s too dark. Where I live, the nearest gym is a 20-30 minute drive each way, making a quick 20 minute workout a big commitment. So the idea of working out at home was very attractive.
It was a fairly quick decision. I read some reviews online and had a look at the r/pelotoncycle Reddit too. I liked that the Peloton community seemed supportive and encouraging. Rather than making people feel bad for not being very fit, the Reddit group focuses on helping others.
Plus, it comes with a 30 day trial, so what did I have to lose?
Ordering and delivery
I bought my Peloton Bike on 21st August. I used the Klarna finance option, as it was 0% APR. It was very quick and easy, and I was accepted for credit instantly.
I scheduled my delivery for 28th August. On the day, the driver called when they were about an hour away, and again when they got closer (at my request — no one can find my house!). The two delivery men were very friendly and polite. They checked where I wanted the bike to go, and put down the bike mat to double check I was sure. I bought the Family accessory pack, which includes the cycle mat, heart monitors, cycling shoes, weights, Bluetooth headphones and water bottles for two people. They asked me to try on the cycling shoes while they were there, as they could exchange them if they didn’t fit (and explained how to do the strap!).
Once the Peloton Bike was in place, one of the drivers went back to the van to prep for the next delivery, while the other went through the set up and how to adjust the bike so it’s comfortable.
About the Peloton
The Peloton has a huge tablet on the front, which connects to the internet and streams the rides from their app. The app has other exercises: yoga, meditation, running (audio only), stretching, walking, cardio and strength training. You can either watch these through your phone or tablet, or stream to a Smart TV. You can just get a subscription to the app if you don’t want to commit to buying the bike. The app is available on iOS and Android — I have an Android phone and so far the app is the only slightly disappointing part. I can’t view any of my workouts in detail (just the summary), but you can on the iOS version.
The bike rides are split into Live Rides (filmed in a studio with a class), Encore Rides (a replay of the Live Rides, which resets the Leader board), Pre-Recorded Rides (pre-recorded in an empty studio) and Scenic Rides (where you can cycle through pre-recorded routes around the world). Once Live Rides have finished, they are available in the library to ride alongside the pre-recorded rides.
Peloton has 17 cycling instructors, all with their own style and music tastes. They are all quite different in style — I prefer Robin, Cody and Denis as they encourage you while they cycle. The rides vary in difficulty and length, from 20 min beginner to expert 1 hour rides. The instructors call out target speeds and resistance, but you can adjust and adapt these as it suits you — sometimes I just can’t manage it, so I do what I can.
My experience so far
I’ve now completed 18 rides — I use the Peloton bike on average three times a week. As well as exercise, I have tried to improve my diet — mostly by eating less ice cream, not having takeaways and cooking more from scratch. But my main focus has been exercise on the Peloton and some weights.
At the start, my fitness was probably about a 3/10. I work from home most days and I don’t really go out much. I’d get out of breath across the footbridge at the local train station.
To start with, I did the 20 minute beginner rides with Cody Rigsby and Denis Morton. I was very tired, sweaty and achey by the end! Both instructors are really encouraging. Even though I knew it was a recording and that they can’t see me (even on Live Rides, they only see your stats), the instructors look into the camera and it feels very personal. The first few rides I cried the whole time! I felt overwhelmed: everything hurt, I didn’t think I’d ever lose weight, and pride that I was doing it.
After 2 weeks I progressed onto the 30 minute Advanced Beginner rides, and after a month I felt able to do some of the easier standard 30 minute rides. Standing up during climbs was incredibly challenging. It took me a long time to get the strength to be able to stand up for more than 30 seconds, but I increased it gradually. In the last ride I took (a 30 minute Lizzo themed ride), I managed to stand up during all of the climbs! I felt so proud of myself afterwards.
I have lost about 5 inches from my waist so far. Clothes that were tight now fit nicely, and older clothes that no longer fit, I can now almost squeeze into. But it’s more than that — I feel so much fitter, I have much more energy, and I have so much more confidence. I used to feel tired and exhausted by existing all the time. After a day out, I would get home and collapse as I ached all over, but I now have the energy to have a night out afterwards!
Things to know before you order
Now, there is one thing I should warn you about, which no one at Peloton tells you. You will need to name your bike. This is a big commitment: you can’t change it later. Make sure that it’s a name that you will be happy living with for the next few years.
The driver asked me to name my bike and I panicked, and paced the room for five minutes trying to think of something beginning with P (for Peloton). My mind went completely blank. I ended up naming it Perry — the only P name I could think of. Which is also the name of one of my best friends. “I had a great ride on Perry today!” As you can imagine, that’s not awkward at all… So, make sure you are prepared: spend the week between order and delivery thinking of a good name. Or go with the default, “[Your Name]’s Peloton” (which I wish I had done now, it would have saved me a lot of embarrassment over the last month and a half!).
About the camera on the Peloton
The tablet on the front of the bike has a camera, but this isn’t used in classes. It can only be used to send messages to your friends (or so I was told by the delivery driver — I can’t see a way to use it at all!). The instructors can’t see you while you are cycling, and none of the other riders can either. All they see is your username, any stats you’ve put public (for example, your gender and location) and your output.
My impressions, six weeks in
So, as you can probably guess: So far, I am really enjoying using the Peloton. It’s incredibly convenient, and I love the variety of classes and instructors.
The Peloton Bike is expensive. I currently pay £62.50 a month for the bike and £39 for the app (it’s £19.49 per month without the bike). However, for me it was about what I would have to pay for a gym membership plus petrol. My boyfriend also sometimes uses the bike, so that saves on an additional gym membership.
It is quite a big bike, so you need to have enough space for it. My Peloton is in the living room, which I like as it means I see it everyday. While you can place it in a garage, for me that would make it easy to forget about!
The only disappointment has been the Android app not displaying details of my previous rides, but this is really minor. I now use the Strong app to record my workouts and the details of each one (it’s free).
I will update my blog again with an update on my impressions and experience. Let’s see if I still feel the same way after six months and in a year!