The Burn: Peloton Gives You Literally No Excuse

I write all the time (duh) and like to draw, but I think I’m really at my creative peak when I’m making excuses—particularly exercise-related ones. I like the feeling of exercise and how the words “I went to the gym today” sound as they casually roll off my tongue, but motivation is a tricky thing. Especially when

a) It is raining
b) My car is low on gas
c) Also there might be a transit strike
d) There are raccoons outside
e) I’m having a good hair day
f) I wore my athleisurewear to the pumpkin patch and it is covered in mud
g) My water bottle smells like wine

I could go on. But a not-so-new fitness company/craze/cult called Peloton has just opened their first brick-and-mortar storefront in Vancouver, and after trying a class for free (not a media perk, anyone’s welcome) I’m really wracking my brain for more excuses. Peloton advertises “studio cycling from the comfort of home.” The Peloton stationary bike has a screen that can stream Peloton classes, which are all recorded at a studio in New York. Subscribers can access thousands of cycling classes led by only 16 instructors, so yeah, they all look like Greek gods.

The Space

Ideally, “the space” is your own home. Kind like Netflix, Peloton gives users the opportunity to access workouts in their own space and on their own schedule. The brand-new South Granville showroom is not a studio running live classes of its own, which seems a bit strange—until you head into the back. At the rear of the lofty showroom is a room set up to look like a home office. It has a desk, bookshelf, houseplants, and a giant wall-to-wall mirror.

Peloton set up this space to give new users a trial run. It’s not quite as private as your own home, it does give you a good idea of what it would be like to have one of your own. Jamie Herbert, Peloton Interactive Canada’s general manager, encourages those new to the brand to try it out. If you’re thinking “I wonder how many times they’d let me come in and ‘try’ it for free,” you’re not alone—I asked. According to Herbert, there isn’t an official limit, so I guess one technically could take advantage of that (seems like the perfect crime, but one my own social consciousness prevents me from committing). The front half of the showroom has a series of bikes set up, as well as lots of Peloton swag and accessories. It’s a bright, open space in the heart of South Granville, with minimal decor save for giant black and white portraits of the revered Peloton instructors.

I’ve only been to a few spin classes in my life, but there’s something about putting on the Peloton shoes that really makes you feel like a pro. Buckled like rollerblades with red cleats to attach to the pedals, they’re a confidence boost in footwear form. A Peloton rep (Pelotone? Peloperson?) from Portland named Evan gave me an overview of the bike, which is like a class in itself.

The large screen on the front of the bike allows you to choose first between a live or recorded workout. The New York instructors put on at least 14 classes a day (that’s on New York time, so if you want to do a spin class at 3 a.m., knock yourself out, you psychopath). The recorded workouts are uploaded daily and there are thousands to choose from. You can sort them by instructor, music, difficulty and time. As we were choosing my workout, Evan asked me if I’m competitive. I have been known to hold year-long grudges over Monopoly games, so I told him yeah, a little. He selected the 20 minute Tabata ride led by instructor Robin Arzon.

The Workout

For me, Robin was the perfect instructor—upbeat, encouraging, and scary. I mean this in the most complimentary of ways; I’m not about to listen to some stranger in New York tell me to pedal faster unless I’m afraid of them. She is one of the toughest instructors around (brag) but is also super motivational. Her woos and rah-rahs were punctuated by some pretty awesome lines, like “What you’re doing most people will never do” and “I’m that friend that will stop you from making that mediocre choice.”

The Peloton screen shows the cadence (speed) and resistance of your ride, and throughout the workout arrows will show you when to speed up, slow down, or crank up the difficulty. The 20-minute Tabata workout was a series of pushes and breaks in a 2:1 ratio—for example, we might bike for 20 seconds at 45 resistance and then 10 seconds at 20. I definitely didn’t keep up with Robin, but I also wasn’t discouraged in the slightest.

I also wasn’t alone. You can see the other people riding along with you on a leaderboard on the screen, and even give them a “high five” by tapping on their name. You can also view their profile and metrics, which is great for those with an extra competitive streak—exactly how do you compare to SoccerMom14 from Chicago? The instructor can see these metrics too, and if you are taking a live class, you might just get a shoutout. During my session, Robin complimented some users on their one thousandth ride.

The Verdict

So the whole “I don’t want to leave the house” excuse doesn’t work for Peloton. Neither does any self-consciousness you might have about working out in front of other people, in the middle of the night, or the fact that you haven’t shaved your legs since August. I pointed out to Evan, though, that you do need the bike—an almost $3,000 investment that is an obvious barrier for many people living in Vancouver. There you have it. The perfect excuse, right?

Wrong. Peloton also has an app, so you don’t actually need the bike. You can stream classes from your home, office, or community gym. It’s around $20 per month. Also, it’s not just cycling—they have running, yoga, and strength training classes, too.

I’m honestly struggling to come up with excuses. If you can think of any, please let me know. ‘Till then, anyone want to Peloton and chill?

The Deets

Vancouver Showroom located at 2762 Granville Street
Bike $2,950, app $19.49/month