The perfect, if expensive, escape for easing coronavirus anxiety

Fairly compact • Effective workouts • Library comes with thousands of classes to choose from

Expensive • Monthly subscription fee

The Peloton Bike is expensive, but it comes with thousands of engaging and effective workouts that are all packed into a beautiful piece of equipment.

Work(out) From Home is a weekly column where we review smart fitness machines in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to technology, there are still plenty of ways to exercise if your gym is closed. 


Back in December, everyone roasted Peloton for its holiday ad. You know, the one where a husband gives his wife a Peloton bike for Christmas and she vlogs her experience while looking incredibly nervous. 

Once the coronavirus outbreak got worse and gyms began to shut down, though, all of Twitter erupted with jokes like, “Bet you wish your husband got you that Peloton for Christmas now.”

And, they’re not wrong. 

Unlike your standard indoor cycling bike, the smart, connected Peloton comes equipped with a display and companion app so you can follow along in a huge catalogue of on-demand and live classes. But with a starting price of $2,245, the bike is expensive. It’s tough to justify such a purchase during this very unstable time. 

If you can swing it, however, it’s truly worth it.

Every day, I put on my workout clothes, clip my shoes into the bike, power up the display, and cycle away to some upbeat music for at least half an hour. It’s one of the only activities that makes me forget the world is basically on fire. 

The workouts are tough, but the captivating experience and (practically) never ending list of exercise classes are enough to make me want to glue myself to the seat and stay in the magical Peloton universe forever. 

Or, at least until COVID-19 is a just a distant memory. 


That price, though

I don't have the money for a Peloton but if I did, I wouldn't think twice about purchasing this bad boy.

I don’t have the money for a Peloton but if I did, I wouldn’t think twice about purchasing this bad boy.

Before we dive into the bike, let’s examine how much it costs. Because it’s not cheap.

Regardless of which package you choose, each comes with a one-year warranty, home delivery, and financing for up to 39 months. 

Starting at $2,245 (or $58 per month), the Basics Package includes only the Peloton Bike. The Essentials Package costs $2,404 ($62 per month) and comes with the bike, a pair of shoes, and a pair of headphones, made by Urbanears, though you can pair with your own via Bluetooth. For $2,494 ($64 per month), you’ll get all the aforementioned goodies with the addition of a heart rate monitor and a bike mat.

The most expensive option is the Family Package. For $2,694 ($70 per month), you get the bike, a set of weights, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of headphones, a bike mat, and two water bottles. It’s a good option if you’re going to be sharing the bike but don’t want to share the accessories.

You’ll also have to sign up for a subscription to take full advantage of the bike. That costs $39 per month and gives you access to Peloton’s on-demand library and programs, as well as live streamed classes.

Ordering a Peloton during this pandemic comes with a few caveats. Deliveries, which normally take up to two to three weeks, might take up to four weeks now, depending on where you live. 

To keep from spreading germs, the bike will be left in front of your door fully assembled. During the typical delivery process, team members usually come in and set up the bike where you want it. So keep in mind that you’ll have to move this thing in yourself.

From there, all you have to do is plug it in and follow the steps on the display, such as filling out your profile information and settings.

As compact as it’ll get 

I don't know about you, but I think the Bike fits in well with that living room decor.

I don’t know about you, but I think the Bike fits in well with that living room decor.

I’m currently quarantined inside my parents’ townhouse in New Jersey, so I’m lucky to have a lot more space for fitness equipment than I would in my apartment back in NYC. However, coming in at 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, the Peloton is compact enough that you could squeeze it in your living room or maybe even your bedroom.

In terms of design, the bike is made out of carbon steel but features Peloton’s signature red touches on both the resistance knob and the belt drive. The height of the handlebars, seat, and display are all easily adjustable too. For someone with short arms and legs like me, it took a while to find a comfortable sweet spot, but it just required a little patience. The 21.5-inch touchscreen display with 1080p resolution feels responsive and looks really crisp. 

Using Bluetooth, you can pair a heart rate monitor to the Bike. In addition to the Peloton-branded monitor, it’s also compatible with Strava, Fitbit, Apple’s Health app, and the Apple Watch, so you can sync your metrics.

I highly recommend making sure that wherever you place the bike, it’s as close to the Wi-Fi router as possible. I kept my bike in the garage, which is rather far from our router. There were times when the video would stop to buffer mid-class, which was super annoying after a while. Especially when you’re getting intensely into your workout. 

The display also comes equipped with two 10-watt speakers that get very, very loud. Especially if you’re in an empty room. Since the bike itself is quiet, however, you don’t really need to turn the volume up that much. If you do want to drown out any outside noise or keep from disturbing your housemates, the display does come with a 3.5mm headphone jack. Underneath the display are two cup holders, one of which I use for my water bottle and the other for my phone. There are also two racks for your hand weights behind the seat.

It’s a nice looking piece of machinery, so those of you who obsess over interior design won’t feel like it’s a complete eye sore that you need to hide. Also, you deserve to show it off and maybe even brag a little. Once we’re all allowed to have people over again, of course.

A hypnotic experience 

One look at that display and you forget you're even working out.

One look at that display and you forget you’re even working out.

I am not what some would call a “Peloton Stan.” In fact, prior to using my first piece of Peloton equipment last year (the Peloton Tread), I rolled my eyes at the company’s cult following. But after running on the treadmill for a few days, I was sold. Specifically because Peloton is unmatched in its ability to suck you into a workout so that you forget how much you’re being physically challenged. 

The same can be said for the Bike. 

Once you’re clipped in and seated comfortably, you can choose your workout on the display. On the Home Screen is the Featured Tab, where you can search through popular classes and Peloton’s own picks. Next to it is the Challenges tab, which includes a variety of different monthly challenges (like running or yoga) you can commit to. There’s also your profile, where you can see your total workouts, monthly activity, and any badges that you earned.

The Classes tab is where you’ll likely spend most of your time. Once you tap on Cycling, you can filter exactly what you’re looking for by length, class type, instructor, music genre, and sort (like new, trending, top rated, easiest, and hardest). 

Plenty of classes to choose from if you don't want to cycle away.

Plenty of classes to choose from if you don’t want to cycle away.

Image: brenda stolyar/mashable

Classes range anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.

Classes range anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.

Image: brenda stolyar/mashable

When you start a class, you’ll see a ton of different information on the display like milage, duration, and leaderboard (where you can see how you rank against others taking the class). 

But your most important metrics are your cadence (the rate at which you’re pedaling), resistance, and output (which is basically how hard you’re working). Throughout the class, the instructor gives you a range of numbers by which you can increase or decrease both your resistance and cadence. They also use music to help you keep up with the pace.

During a class you might be asked to keep your resistance anywhere between 25 to 30 while pedaling at a cadence of about 60 to 70 rpm to mimic the feeling of riding on flat, even pavement while the beat of the music is nice and slow. 

Then, when the speed of the music gets faster or more intense, you’ll be asked to increase the resistance to about 40 to 50 while pedaling at a cadence of 80 to 90 rpm. This basically feels similar to the feeling of riding uphill. 

Depending on the class, you’ll likely alternate back and forth between these settings for about 30 seconds to a minute each. Some of the instructors set wide ranges of cadence and resistance, so there’s enough room to modify depending on your level of comfort.

All of the classes are filmed inside Peloton’s New York City studios, complete with others who are taking the class in person, cycling away with you. The camera stays focused on the instructor though, who usually leads you through a warmup, the actual workout, and then a cool down session. 

The coronavirus edition, however, is a little more bleak. It’s just the instructor in the studio and a bunch of empty bikes. Due to the pandemic, there aren’t as many live classes being streamed each day either. But I’m more of an on-demand type person anyway. it allows me to work out on my own time. 

One day, there will be a Peloton Studio filled with people again. But today is not that day.

One day, there will be a Peloton Studio filled with people again. But today is not that day.

There’s not too much of a difference in terms of experience either, other than the fact that you can’t compete with others in real-time on the leaderboard and you’re missing out on a chance for the instructor to call out you out for your skills.

The empty studio is kind of sad at first, but the instructors’ positive attitudes weirdly make you feel like it’s just another day. Nope, no coronavirus outbreak, here. It’s the exact type of energy I need to keep myself from going insane these days. 

There was one night this week that a class put me in such a good mood, I forgot coronavirus was even a thing until I sat down for dinner immediately after and it’s all my family could talk about. It made me want to get back on that bike and never come back.

If you’re not in the mood for a hyped-up class, you can also opt for a standard ride where you just ride at your own pace. Or you can choose to do a Scenic ride where the display places you virtually on trails and roads across the country and the world. 

You know, basically everywhere you can’t go right now. 

It’s worth every penny

I know the Peloton Bike has been around for a while. But if there were ever a time to invest in the machine, and you’re privileged enough that money’s no object, now might just be one of them. 

While a starting price of $2,245 is very steep, and you still need to subscribe to the classes on top of that, you’re getting a lot for the money. In addition to thousands of cycling classes (that are both fun and effective), there are tons of floor workouts to choose from that can also incorporate weights. 

All of this content is also packed into a sleek, comfortable form factor that looks and feels just as expensive as it is.

Even when we’re all allowed back out into the world, the Bike will still be just as useful. It offers just as effective a workout as you’d get at a gym or any other fitness class and new classes are added on a daily basis. 

If you just don’t have the money, however, you can opt for a standard indoor stationary bike (which starts as low as $200) and pay $12.99 per month for only the Peloton app instead using your tablet or phone. While you won’t be able to track your metrics in real time via the app, you can still cycle along with the classes.

As for me, I’m going to find it very tough to part ways with my loaner Bike. Especially during this time of crisis. And if my future husband happens to be reading this, the answer is, yes, the Peloton Bike would make an excellent gift.

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