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I thought Peloton was a waste of money — until I tried it myself

Despite the butt pain and annoying shoes, I still loved the Peloton classes.
Peloton Workout
I ended up loving my in-house ride with a view.Stephanie Mansour

I love trying new workouts, but I am a creature of habit and stick to my own tried-and-true routine.

Every once in awhile, though, there is buzz around a new workout that I just can’t ignore. I couldn’t seem to escape Peloton, whether it was a client who wanted to invest in a bike, an ad on TV, or influencers on social media posting their sweaty selfies after a ride. The popularity convinced me to finally give Peloton a try. If everyone is talking about it, there must be a reason, right?

I wondered where I’d put this work of art in my small apartment in downtown Chicago — and if I’d even use it.

I attend a spin class maybe once a year. If I’ve had a crazy travel month or if I’m feeling lazy, spinning is the kick in the butt I need to get back into a workout routine. But is it something I would do every day? No. I find it too intense and not enjoyable enough to do more than once in a blue moon. So I was curious how I’d feel if I actually had the bike that everyone’s raving about sitting 10 feet from my couch.

How much does the Peloton cost?

Pricing for the bike starts at $1,495. A membership, which gives you access to the app and classes, is $39/month.

Peloton at-home bike: the setup

On a Saturday morning I was greeted by friendly Peloton deliverymen — they were more like a welcoming committee! Andrew and Brandon from the Peloton Waukegan Warehouse alleviated my spinning nerves and promised they wouldn’t leave until I felt comfortable on the bike. They helped me strategically place my Peloton to make use of the amazing city view from my apartment and hid the cord for me so it wasn’t an eyesore (or tripping hazard).

Peloton at-home bike: the workout

I said goodbye to Andrew and Brandon with my feet strapped in and my booty on the bike. I jumped right into a 30-minute ride with Cody Rigsby and the delivery guys clapped for me as they walked out the door (hey, I needed all the support I could get!). I was surprised that I felt pretty good during the ride and actually enjoyed it!

The next day I sat on the bike and — ouch! — my sit bones hurt so bad. I felt severely bruised and almost got off the bike to wad up a sweatshirt to sit on, but I decided to work through it. I thought that maybe it would be like when my thighs hurt after running and I run or walk to loosen them up. I was wrong. The pain lingered throughout my entire ride.

On day three, I touched my butt with my hands and it was definitely bruised. Thankfully that day I took a break and played tennis instead of hopping on the bike. On day four I hopped on and my butt still hurt! At this point it was getting comical and I debated ordering a padded bike seat, but one of my friends who is a Peloton user assured me the pain would go away.

I never expected to crave a spin workout, but I loved how I felt after Peloton classes.Stephanie Mansour

For a few weeks, I rode the Peloton every day that I wasn’t playing tennis, which was about four times a week. I was obsessed with the instructor Cody Rigsby. I began to wake up craving his commentary, music selection, and the sweatiness and sense of accomplishment I felt after each ride. (One day I even got a little crazy and followed a ride by a Pilates class.)

I settled into a routine with my Peloton: I’d pick a class and then start the arduous process of strapping my feet into the shoes. The first thing I would do is "high five" everyone in the class who was there live with me. I did this to feel a sense of community and connection to others virtually. Throughout my ride I would see that those people high-fived me back and it served as motivation. I felt like I was “in it” with others even though I was in my apartment all by myself!

What I liked

I loved the Peloton community and reading everyone’s hashtags and groups that they were in. It felt like a fun community that I could only access while my butt was on the seat.

I wish I could say that I sampled more of the Peloton instructors, but I am a creature of habit so I kept going back to Cody. In fact, I didn’t even download the Peloton app on my phone, but it would be a nice option to have when I am traveling.

A selling point of this bike is that there’s an automatic tracker to set your cadence and resistance to whatever the instructor says. So you don’t have to manually turn the dial to get the resistance; the bike will do it for you. I absolutely loved this feature. I also loved the huge screen and the loud speakers. I felt like I was working out in a club with a motivating instructor on screen running the show.

The workouts inspired me to amp up my own off-the-bike workouts, too. I started running faster during sprints in my HIIT workouts and even hustled more on the tennis court. I began to love how sweaty and out of breath I felt on the bike. It definitely reinvigorated my internal self-talk and my “can do it” attitude when working out.

What I didn’t like

I wish I could say that my butt got used to the seat, but it never did. One critique I have is that the seat could come with a pad. I do have some built-in padding on my butt (hello squats and lunges!), but the pain I felt didn’t go away no matter how many rides I did.

My biggest complaint (which to be honest, has always been a complaint I’ve had with spinning) was the difficulty of locking my shoes into the bike. At first, I put the shoes on and then tried to lock them into the bike. This entailed a lot of pressing down into the locks and the pedals spinning because I couldn’t get the lock in just right. Then I decided to keep the shoes locked in and put my feet into the shoe while they were attached. This proved to be challenging because the pedals would move unless I used one hand to press the stop button on the bike. So I was constantly bending over, feeling soreness in my back from this motion, and feeling frustrated getting on and off the bike.

In a perfect world, I’d love to have an easier way to get my feet in and out of the shoes on the bike. But of all of the Peloton diehards that I’ve talked to, I seem to be the only one that had this problem with the Peloton shoes.

Is the Peloton bike for you? Ask yourself:

  • Do you enjoy spinning?
  • Will you ride the bike at least 3 times a week?
  • Will you utilize the other Peloton classes, like yoga, Pilates, arm workouts, HIIT, etc?

The verdict: Is a Peloton bike worth it?

If the answer to all of the above is yes, then go for it! This is the cream of the crop in terms of at-home workout equipment — and the addiction I felt to the workouts was real.