Technology really is something, isn’t it? Let’s say you live in Monowi, Nebraska, population one, and are the proud owner of a Peloton bike. Day or night, you can ride live with Peloton’s “coaches” and compete alongside NYC’s finest and fittest with the touch of your bike’s screen, no subway commute required. That’s just about the best at-home, personal-trainer-less workout we can imagine. But for a rider here in New York, a city with so many cycling options just a MetroCard swipe away (yeah, that’s right, we turned that negative into a positive), we found the Peloton experience to be a letdown.
Once we quieted our euphoria over the studio’s amenities (the facility is f*cking beautiful) and all-free-everything, we geared up to ride, and things went downhill, ironically (trust, you will see why), from there. For one, bike set-up was more stressful than we would have liked. Let’s just say various pins required adjustment and were seemingly adultproof, and even after some assistance, we still weren’t confident in our settings. Then there was logging in on our bike. One, who can remember an email/password combo when they’re already starting to perspire in anticipation of the sweating ahead? Not us. And two, why couldn’t our initial sign-in with the front desk check this box, too? For all of Peloton’s technological genius, this felt silly. We will say, after this early contention, our bike was our ally for the rest of the class; it rides super smooth, and seeing our metrics front and center on our HD screen definitely kept us accountable on how hard we were pushing ourself.
While we might have mended fences with our bike, we did not have as fortuitous a relationship arc with our instructor. In fact, our coach seemed weirdly detached from the room throughout the ride; maybe because she was too preoccupied playing to the camera, which floats around the room live streaming the ride to those cycling at home. Even before the ride was underway, it was hard to tell if she was addressing people in the studio, or chatting it up with people tuning in remotely. We would also add that the subject matter of her comments didn’t give us a ton of faith in what was about to go down, either. You could say we appreciate music that elevates a workout, so we were less than enthused to learn that a) someone else had curated the playlist for the ride, and b) our coach only received said tunes an hour before class. We thought that sounded like a pretty tight window to design a music-based workout, which maybe explains why the ride didn’t flow in a way that made sense to us.
We’re not sure if it’s a characteristic of Peloton’s “Metrics” ride to go monstrously heavy (Rhythm, Live DJ, and Theme rides are also prevalent on the schedule), but the entire class felt like one, relentless climb. Standing climbs, seated climbs in the saddle, and repeat; it all made for a monotonous ride, not to mention a lactic acid nightmare. Every time a hill (or in some cases, mountain) ended and a new song dropped, we waited with bated breath for a cue to lower our resistance and pick up the pace. That’s just a figure of speech we like to use, and good thing too, or else we’d be dead from oxygen deprivation. Because the flat road, the fast pedaling, the sprints – standard fare for pretty much any cycling class – never came.
So, if Dante’s Nine Circles of Hill Hell appeals to you, kudos, we’re impressed. But you’d still need to get past the lack of personal connection with your “coach” (this word choice just feels so wrong to us, all things considered), and overall lackluster energy of the class, for Peloton to be the NYC cycling experience for you. This was the kind of workout that had us congratulating ourselves for making it off the couch and burning 500 calories more than we would have watching Arrested Development reruns. Beyond that, we didn’t feel much; not an endorphin high, and certainly not our dead legs. All things considered, in the future, we’ll probably leave this ride to the sole resident of Monowi, Nebraska and take our cycling needs elsewhere.
Gonna Cost You
$30/class, which is pretty reasonable as far as boutique spin classes go, especially when you factor in all the perks, which are plentiful. Perks on perks. Free shoes! Free water! Free shower shoes! Free combs! Do we comb our hair? No! But we love free sh*t! We’ve also had solid luck booking Peloton on Class Pass.
Our coach at Peloton just did not live up to the name. From the flow and structure of the ride, to the dated playlist, to her form on the bike (no dice on all that upper body wiggling), we were underwhelmed, and at times pretty frustrated (you bike uphill for 45 minutes straight and tell us how you feel). If we were to give Peloton another go, we’ve heard good things about Robin Arzon, and have actually taken (and enjoyed) Alex Toussaint’s class when he used to teach at Flywheel. We’re not sure how his ride translates here, but we’d guess his music, energy and vibe are still on point.
Amenities are probably some of the best in NYC. There’s a sweet lounge with food and beverage, showers, lockers. Come to think of it, you could probably live here if you wanted to. We’re just sorry for the at-home riders who can’t help themselves to the fruit-infused water and indulge in a Jack’s Stir Brew coffee in the lounge before and after the ride.