Review - The Peloton Bike
PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 May 2019
copyright SHAWN HUBBARD
Cheshire Life Editor, Katie Mulloy, discovers if the latest in digital fitness is a smart investment
The perky instructor - the kind prone to a whoop and a holler and high-five - has just offered me some sing-song words of encouragement as my legs seemingly turn to stone and my pedalling slows. 'Go Katie in Cheshire!' she enthuses. The 'shire' of 'Cheshire' emphasised into two syllables by her New York twang. Which is appropriate given that as we pedal in synch she's very much in Manhattan - whereas I'm in a not-so cosmopolitan corner of East Cheshire… in my living room.
I'm also, crucially, on a Peloton bike - a state of the art, studio-standard spin bike (for the uninitiated, spinning is essentially a workout class on an exercise bike) - which is now neatly taking up a corner of said living room. It is at the very cutting edge of a booming at-home, digital fitness industry; its defining feature its ability to live-stream spin classes from across the Atlantic which you then follow on its inbuilt screen. So you can be breaking a sweat in your living room doing the kind of exclusive fitness class people pay $30-a-time to attend in person.
At £1990, and a further £39 a month for the live-streaming subscription, the Peloton bike is hardly a poor man's alternative. But for that money you do get the bike installed and set-up - and thankfully getting started isn't much harder than completing an online shopping order. In fact it's all very sleek and user-friendly; you simply tap on the classes you want to follow, either selecting from the live-streamed schedule or pre-recorded sessions .
If you're an entire beginner then perhaps you'll need a bit of practice, but otherwise the instructors and camera angles are very clear. . Your instructor can't see you but they can see the name you've chosen to be known as and how hard you're working - hence the personal shout out - and, thanks to the real-time leader board ticking along the right of the screen, you can see how well you're doing compared to everyone else from around the world who's also doing the class.
This community is what Peloton trades on - the idea that you can compete against people you've never met, that you constantly have new goals and can be part of something bigger than just you in your living room. And while all that appeals to my competitive streak, to be honest, as a busy working mum to a demanding toddler it's the convenience of Peloton that works. The bike itself is virtually silent which means I can fit in a workout while the baby naps upstairs and I can choose the difficulty depending on how little sleep I might have had the night before. Yes, it's true that in this world of virtual fitness you have to high-five yourself at the end of your class but given we're far less into that in Cheshire than they are in New York it's a drawback I can live with.