Review: Eleven Days into My New Addiction that is Peloton Cycle

January 2021 Peloton bike Review Update: I’m still using my Peloton bike almost daily. I find that on the days I don’t use it, my ADHD skyrockets and is virtually unmanageable, but on the days I do use it, it’s better than medication. I’ve also bought the Peloton Tread, which during the age of Covid-19, I’ve been using for all my run training. Between the bike, the tread, and two 22-pound kettlebells, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to a gym again.

SoulCycle: “I’ve created the most addictive exercise regime!”
Flywheel: “No, I’VE created the most addictive exercise regime!”
Peloton Cycle: “Hold my sports drink.”

The first thing you absolutely, positively have to understand about buying a Peloton bike is this: If you have any type of addictive or competitive personality, and I mean ANY type, you’re going to become a Peloton junkie. Listen to me, people. I don’t mean “Keith Richards” type of addictive personality. I mean a personality as benign as “I should only have three M&Ms but I had five,” or, “why is that person walking at the same speed as me? Are we racing? I guess we are.” Peloton will turn you into an addict, and it won’t be a slow road where you don’t recognize it until you’re addicted. This will happen two minutes into your first 45 minute ride.

Peloton Knob

For the uninitiated, Peloton Cycle is a spin bike with a 22-inch screen attached to the front of it. You buy the bike, then pay a monthly or yearly fee to stream thousands of spin classes to your bike, that you can join either live as they’re streamed from their NYC studio, or on-demand anytime. It’s part workout, part on demand TV, and part social media, all in one nifty package with a resistance knob in the middle of it.

I’ve never really been a “spin class” type of guy. I’ve taken a couple of dozen over the years, even winning a Halloween costume contest at a Flywheel location several years ago, where the prize was, (you guessed it,) free spin classes. No doubt, the classes are fun, totally full of adrenaline, with music and people cheering you on, but living in NYC and being indoors most of the day, I prefer the outside. If I have a chance to exercise, I’m the guy getting a summons for running in Central Park before 5am, or doing a long ride on weekends over 9w and up through Storm King Mountain and back. Going to a spin class never really did it for me.

Then I had a child, and my early morning workout routines got cut in half. No longer could I spend an hour or two each day swimming, biking, or running at the first hint of sunlight. For about two years, I accepted that I’d have to curtail my early AM workouts to the days when I didn’t have my daughter staying with me.

Enter Peloton Cycle. I’d heard of the bike about a year ago, and their marketing director at the time invited me down to take a class. It was a fun 45-minute ride, but at the time, I didn’t see any difference between a Peloton class and the other spin studios popping up all over NYC.

Fast forward to this May, when I found out the foot surgery I had in December didn’t take, and I’d be off running for at least the next four months. Angry that all I could do was bike and swim, I did what I always do in situations like this, and made a ridiculously pricey impulse buy in about five seconds. $2200 for the bike, $250 for delivery and setup, and $450 or so for a year’s subscription to their classes. Just under $3,000 for what I assumed would be an overpriced clothes hanger in a week.

The website said it’d take up to two weeks for delivery, but the bike showed up just four days after I placed my order, including the Memorial Day holiday. Thursday, June 1st at 2pm, two gentlemen wearing Peloton shirts arrived at my apartment, carrying three boxes into my bedroom. They laid out a rubber mat, put together the bike, had me enter my WiFi password, adjusted my seat and handlebars, and were gone.

It’s a sexy machine, I won’t lie. It’s quiet as anything, and it has a really small footprint, which is great for a NYC apartment. But still, it’s a home exercise bike, right? Growing up, I remember at least two treadmills, one bike, and a handful of gadgets-du-jour sitting in my parents basement, either covered in dust, or storing clothing and other things we’d never need again. So I wasn’t expecting much when I slipped on a pair of bike shorts, a heart rate monitor, and my cycling shoes, and clipped in for my first “on-demand” ride.

I found an 80s ride, (45 minute on-demand class set to 80s music.) amongst the tons of on-demand rides, including TABATA rides, HIIT rides, 20 minute to 120 minute rides, and a host of other options, all available at your desire to exercise.

“This’ll be fun, but not competitive,” I thought. I naively assumed that because it was a pre-recorded class, I’d be doing my own thing, fighting to set a baseline that I’d then work against to improve next time. In other words, I didn’t think I’d be on the class “leaderboard,” where you’re competing against everyone else in the class, since it was a previously recorded ride, and for me, the leaderboard is key, because I’m competitive.

I was wrong, and that was the moment my addiction began. This is where I took that first hit of the Schedule II Drug that is Peloton Cycle. I can pinpoint the moment I became an addict. It was within two minutes of the class starting, when I saw my name on the leaderboard, and realized – in shock, that it was climbing, as if I was taking the class in real-time. I was competing not only with those who’d taken the class in person, but everyone who’d ever taken it on demand, plus everyone who ever would. This wasn’t me against 30 people. This was me against the world.

It’s been ten days, and the following things have happened. Here is my quick Peloton bike review.

  • I’ve taken 11 classes
  • Two of them have been “in-studio” classes with friends.
  • “Let’s meet for a studio Peloton ride” has joined “let’s go to Cryotherapy together” and “let’s go for a 5am run” on my list of odd things I require of people who want to met me in person to pick my brain
  • I’ve taken a selfie with an instructor after an in-studio ride I attended.
  • I’ve taken six live rides from my apartment, hoping to get a “shout-out” from the instructor (not yet)
  • I have a ridiculous man-crush on John Michael Di Spirito, the DJ who spins during the “live DJ rides.” (Seriously. They have live DJ rides, and they’re amazing.)

The addiction here is simply this – You can sign up for the live rides, or any one of thousands of pre-recorded rides and the bike is RIGHT THERE. Like, it’s less than two feet from my bed. What POSSIBLE reason could I have to NOT get out of bed, take the class, and try and beat “mrizzo” or “PRortheER” on that class leaderboard? (Did I mention you can “follow” fellow riders, and make sure you sign up for the same classes they do? Yeah. That.)

The leaderboard is the crux of the difference between Peloton Cycle and all the other spin classes out there: I not only can try and beat the guy who always beats me, but I can try again, and again, and again, from the comfort of my own home, or from the NYC studio, if I’m feeling really fiery. And each time I try, I know I’m getting stronger, whether I move up on the leaderboard or not.

That’s the real win for me – I can track my metrics, and even in ten days, can see the difference. You know me and my ADHD brain – Without metrics, I’ve got nothing. I trust the data. Give me a year of this, and my 2018 triathlon season is going to be NOTHING like my 2016 one.

The marketing they do is the best kind of marketing, too. I’ve heard there are ads for Peloton on TV, but I’ve never seen them. Every single time I heard a mention of Peloton before I bought one came from people I knew – people I trusted – sharing their addiction as well. And of course, that’s a lot stronger than any advertisement.

The sense of community is huge, too. There were people on my second ride of the day today (yeah, that happened,) who were riding in celebration of “LindaLee,” who hit her 1,000th ride at this class. The instructor was congratulating everyone on their milestones, as “Dancing in the Dark” played on an uphill climb. I found myself clapping and yes, shouting when asked. And this was a pre-recorded ride. Is it cultish? Abso-freaking-lutely. Is that ok with me? Most definitely.

Added bonus – If I feel like it, I can a ride one of dozens of “scenic rides,” anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours of beautiful rides across the country and around the world, with the screen acting as my view. I’ve taken one so far, and it’s peaceful.

The aforementioned selfie with friend and a Peloton instructor

Again, hear me when I say this, because I now speak from personal experience: Peloton will make you one of “those” people: The guy who has to tell you that he does CrossFit within two minutes of meeting him, or the woman on the plane, who when the flight attendant shouts in a panic, “is there a doctor on board?” stands up and shouts, “I’m a Vegan.”

Of course, it connects to Strava and Facebook and FitBit, because, you know, if you can’t share your workouts on social media, did they really even happen?

For me, it comes down to another excellent reason to exercise, and possibly the most addictive one yet: Not just because I know I need to do it to get faster for my races, but because the second I reserve my spot in a live class, whether in person or at home, that’s the focal point. I won’t stay up late, because I want to do the class, and I want to be the best I can, and I want to destroy everyone else on the leaderboard. I want to have exercised before my daughter wakes up. I want the endorphins, the dopamine, and the serotonin I wouldn’t otherwise get. My ADHD ROCKS ME after a Peloton class, in such a good way. This is the tool I’ve been searching for, the one I didn’t realize I so desperately needed.

Yup. I’ve become one of those. A junkie. An addict. An annoying person who will try to convert you every chance I get. And I’m totally ok with it. And I probably owe an apology to all the spin class junkies at whom I’ve ever rolled my eyes. I get it now. I really do. Dare I say, I’ve become one of you, in a way.

This is a game-changer for me. I couldn’t be happier with my impulse buy.

PS: If you wind up getting one, use this referral code – R9GK82 -You’ll get $100 worth of free gear.

PPS: I have no relationship with Peloton other than being a really happy member of the Peloton family. They have no idea I’m writing this, and this review is totally mine and mine alone.

Join the discussion 26 Comments

  • Thanks Peter for the review. I’ve been thinking about spending the money, but have been hesitant. I believe you’ve helped me with a decision.

  • Anna Wickham says:

    Peter! I checked out Peloton after seeing you post about it on social media a couple of weeks ago, and I’m addicted now! I just use the iPhone app subscription at my gym, so it lacks a lot of the features that you talked about here, including being a part of the leaderboard and connecting on Facebook. But I love the instructors, the live DJ, the high quality of the classes, and the energy. I’m thinking about investing in the bike later on 🙂 thanks for the tip and loved the blog post!

  • Summer says:

    Wondering how you feel about it 6 months in? Considering the purchase…

  • Matt says:

    Are you still hooked on it?

    • Peter Shankman says:

      100% if not more. I just passed 150 rides. Took two this morning while the snow fell. I was concerned it would fall by the wayside. Totally not. If anything, I’m more addicted. I’ve ridden over 675 miles this year already. All on the Peloton. Once it warms up, I’ll start riding outside again, but will still use the bike at least 3x per week.

  • Nikkole Palmatier says:

    I also went and impulsively bought this bike today. I had been eyeing it for a while but I’m a classic “buy it, use it for a month, and never touch it again” person. So needless to say my husband is convinced this will end up like my expensive treadmill and my overpriced juicer. Reading this review has given me hope. My main reason for buying it is because I’ve had a hard time getting back on my workout regime. I used to do fitness competitions and stopped for 2 years and I am literally in worse shape than the 1st time I started to train to compete. I am hoping I become addicted because I need to get back into competition shape. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Sari says:

    Have you gotten a shout-out yet for your 50th, 100th or 150th rides?

  • Pete says:

    Ordered the bike today! Will be delivered on Saturday! I’m in the same boat. Had twin boys so not much morning free time to work out anymore! Super excited to get started!

    I’m curious to see if this will help my bike time for my next TRI. I’m guessing the non free spinning wheel will take a bit to get used to.

  • Nolan says:

    As a military veteran I must say, I LOVE THIS BIKE. It has seamlessly replaced those morning PT workouts and kept my body and mind up to snuff. It is very quiet which is important considering I have two kids sleeping a couple rooms away.
    Thanks for the great writeup and look forward to riding with you all!
    If anyone wants another referral code, here is mine: DTGW7Q

    Rangers Lead The Way!

  • Natalie says:

    I purchased a Peloton last week after being inspired by this post! If anyone is reading this and looking for a code you can use mine — U883ZV!

    • Karli Vierra says:

      Thank you all for posting about this bike! Based on this blog I purchased it about 3 weeks ago, having never tried one at all!! I absolutely love it! I am far from self motivated… but Ally Love makes me wanna show up everyday! If you haven’t tried her classes, you’re missing out!

      I tried to use both of your codes, but both had “reached their limits of use”. So for anyone reading this, here’s my code for $100 off your purchase 🙂 4QXPD4

  • Sprocket says:

    Sorry, hands down I’ll take a real bike any day over a stinky sweaty room on a spin bike. For that price I can buy an incredibly comfortable and fast carbon bike and go outside and enjoy fresh air, sunshine, rain, cold, nature, touring and riding with the thousands of others who have recognized the physical, mental, and social benefits of doing so.

    • Peter Shankman says:

      That’s great for you. By the way, I’m a 2x Ironman. I’ve got thousands of outside miles under my belt. I don’t particularly like riding in snow and sub-freezing temps, so for that, I’ll keep having a blast on my Peloton as well as my Specialized Venge. (which is way more expensive than the Peloton, BTW.) But hey, bro… You do you.

      • William Ferrer says:

        Haha, came across this blog post through googling… I’ve had the bike now for a month and am completely addicted in the best of ways. I loved this reply to the outdoor ONLY cyclist. As a Boston resident, this is the ideal home workout tool. what is your Peloton handle, Peter? not to creepily stalk.

      • Joe Marchionni says:


        Joe in CT, I’m a very active 57 soon to be 58 year old person. I’ve worked out with free weights years back, combined with running on a treadmill etc.
        Today I resort to utilizing a Bowflex Revolution to accommodate my past injuries and or wear and tear. I recently had total knee replacement surgery on 3/28. My son mentioned Peloton, which was uncommon to my workout world. I’m seriously considering purchasing a bike for rehab and also utilizing other workouts like yoga. I’m not able to fully extend my knee at the moment, soon enough. What recommendations do you have for me, also I have very limited cycling experience. I want to be a testament to Peloton as a new customer who utilized their bike and system to rehabilitate my knee and change my whole physical and mental state!

  • I just bought one “for my wife”, hoping it gets delivered sooner than 2-3 weeks…
    Your post has me so excited. Wish I knew about your code before I purchased it!

  • Patrick Ferguson says:

    Ha! I read your entire post nodding and saying “ yep… yep… oh yeah.” My Peloton is different than, say the never used elliptical in the same room… the Peloton is an experience… a need that calls to me. As evidenced by the fact that I’ve done 185 rides in my first 187 days with the bike. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. #PFergy

  • Gwen says:

    Hahaha, love this post/blog entry. I just hit 100 rides on my Peloton (I bought it a little over 7 months ago), and I was surfing around the internet wondering if anyone else is as addicted to this bike as I am. I searched for “I’m addicted to Peloton,” and there are a lot of hits! I’m not alone! I’ve always been a workout junkie, especially cardio, but this bike has gotten me in the best shape of my life and I’m in my 40s. It’s an amazing thing for those of us with competitive streaks.

  • Laura says:

    I’m a new app only user, since I already have a spin bike and treadmill at home. I don’t care about metrics, but am just as addicted as you are! ORIGINAL ARTIST MUSIC is part of it – most streaming services or dvd’s have canned music or covers. Also, these instructors are top notch and never do any kind of body comments. They don’t say, “look good in that swimsuit this summer” instead they will say something like, “when you are feeling tired, DIG DEEP, PELETON!” etc. I just got my first callout on Ride 4 and screamed, twice. It was from hottie Alex Toussaint. – Laura #kickboxerchick

  • Tiffany says:

    Has anyone liked it even if they’ve never ever done spin before? I want to buy it for my husband and figured I’d give it a shot as well… just wondering if it’s too advanced for a newbie.

  • Breck says:

    Just ran across your Peloton blog. Excellent write-up (although a couple yrs old). My wife & i just got a bike last week. I just past ride 8. 7 days, 8 rides.

    Think I’m going to be at junkie status here soon also. And you’re right about the leaderboards — addictive as well.

    Love it so far.. I know ill say the same in 3, 6, 9 mos & behind !

    Great blog

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