I bought a Peloton bike! Here’s what it’s like so far. (Peloton Saga Part 1)

I first saw it in a video on Facebook. It looked so cool until – gasp – I saw the price. I recently, however, took the plunge. Here’s the story of my first Peloton experience.

Biggest deterrent: the price

The Peloton’s $1995 (plus delivery) price tag, plus $39-a-month subscription service, was more than I’ve ever spent on any exercise equipment or service. It was daunting — for two reasons.

First, I worried my money would be wasted, as is often the case with exercise equipment and gym membership. According to reviews, however, the Peloton is addictive and unlike any other experience. I decided to just do it. Besides, it’s not merely a purchase, but, rather, an investment in my health.

Second, I worried about spending such a big chunk. But when I heard Peloton lets you finance most of it — at 0% APR — I was sold.

I looked for promo codes but learned that the bike itself is almost never on sale. In fact, Peloton’s CEO, John Foley, said Peloton sells the bike at about cost but makes its money through monthly subscriptions. I did, however, find active promotions for two free months, which was the only Peloton promotion available.

Update: Peloton changed it’s promo system now gives $100 off accessories when you buy the bike when you use a referral code. I appreciate you using my referral code! AURPXR

I felt I needed it

Something about entering my 40s made my metabolism decline. Out-of-shapedness creeps up. When I reach for a rarely worn suit and the jacket . . . doesn’t . . . close — damn it — it’s depressing.  When I meet old friends after a long absences, they give me a brow-furrowed look, as if to say . . .

Why I need Peloton

Therefore, I had to do something. Try as I might, I have been unable to find an exercise regimen I can love and stick to. I do the Daily Burn a few times a week, and love it, but that’s not enough. I have grown to abhor jogging. I’m too busy for dance classes (though I do enjoy them). And I don’t like gyms.

The only exercise these days, therefore, I really like is cycling. When I go for the rare 13-mile trail ride with a friend, however, it kills me. I’d like to improve, but I don’t have time to do haul my bike out onto a trail every day.

The Peloton, therefore, seemed perfect. It would be at home – no gym needed – yet incorporates real-live spin classes where I could compete with other classmates (yay, motivation!).

Ordering the Peloton

I was having a bout of middle-of-night insomnia when, after reading about Peloton on the web and Twitter, I ordered it from my smart phone at about 3 a.m., while lying in bed. Impulsive? Perhaps. But I figured it was now or never. If I had waited until the next morning, I might have talked myself out of it, and I wanted to seize the day. (Or, technically, the night.)

A couple of days later, I got a call from a woman to schedule the delivery. I was surprised because I had read reviews where customers had reported waiting two weeks for delivery. I also thought I would have had more time to clean out the spare room, but she wanted to deliver it as early as Friday. I chose Saturday — determined to clean the spare room before then.

Preparing for the Peloton

Cleaning the spare room needed to be done. Desperately. A single box had somehow snowballed into a mountain of boxes, suitcases, and more: a looming pile that had overtaken the room. I hated this pile so much I had begun to avoid the room. It took me away from my desire for minimalism I previously wrote about. The Peloton was the perfect reason to quickly eliminate this giant mass.

The delivery was supposed to arrive at or after 12 noon. At about 9 a.m., I was roughly on schedule with my cleaning and sorting when I received a call from a man named José saying he could deliver the bike early.

“Uh, I’m still cleaning the room,” I said.

“Oh, you just need a small space for it.”

“OK. . . .”

Space. I worked faster. I loaded up the car with Goodwill donations. Behind the pile, can of paint had partially spilled onto the floor, but to my relief I was able to scrub it off. My cat had also relieved himself in one of my suitcases. Gross. I scrubbed that. I made the space.

At around 10:45 a.m., José arrived, with another worker, and the two carried in the Peloton. José plugged it in and showed me how to adjust the handlebars and seat, and where to put my water bottle. He was finished within 15 minutes.

Yay! Finally the Peloton has arrived!

Peloton bike set up

Peloton after set-up. (Some boxes still need to be sorted, but I’ll worry about them later.)

José had already turned it on. The set up was a breeze. I typed in my wifi password, and it asked me to download a firmware update, which I did do. While that downloaded, I sat to rest from the chaos of cleaning.

I then created an account and a user ID. I chose “Syn” because it was short for Cynthia, and also after learning that Syn was a Norse goddess of “watchfulness, truth, and doorways.” Who knew?

It asked if I wanted to connect to Facebook, and I did, but it said I was “the first” of my friends to connect to Peloton. That’s OK. I could make new friends in the Peloton community!

It was time to try it out.

Warning: Proper shoes are essential

Peloton’s instructions say you’re supposed to use special cycling shoes, and it comes with cleats to screw onto those shoes. The website sells shoes for $129, which I had opted to not purchase. I had just regular sneakers. What could it hurt to just use regular sneakers? After all, that’s what I use on my regular bike. I just wanted to try it!

I thought I’d ease into my Peloton experience by starting with a scenic ride through New Zealand.

After just about 2 minutes, however, my right sneaker suddenly slipped, and the pedal slammed into my shin. Like a butcher driving an ice mallet into my leg.


I stopped the course and sat on the floor. I held my leg and bawled like a 5-year-old. I mean bawled. The mighty Syn was not without her weaknesses. Fortunately no one was around to hear me.

That’s it. I needed shoes.

Apparently, the Peloton works with LOOK-brand Delta cleats, which can attach to the bottom of the shoes Peloton sells on its website “or any pair of bike shoes with a 3-screw hole setup.” Another option, which allows regular sneakers, is to replace the pedals, but Peloton recommends using toe cages. After being smacked hard, however, I decided to invest in cycling shoes. And I wanted to cycle immediately, so I needed to buy them locally — no time to wait for mail-order.

I wiped away my tears, grabbed the cleats that came with the bike, and went straight to Kyle’s Bike Shop in Orlando.

I met with Kyle, the owner, but was too embarrassed to tell him I had injured myself to the point of tears only 2 minutes into my first ride. I just said I needed shoes for my new Peloton bike.

Kyle was super nice and explained the differences between the different types of cleats — three-hole ones for road-racing shoes, and two-holes ones for mountain bikes. He said the Peloton’s LOOK cleats, which I had brought, required a road-racing shoe, then helped me select a Diadora-brand shoe he had on sale for 25% off. He even mounted the cleats for me and showed me how they could be adjusted in the future to allow for different alignment and angle on the pedals.

Finally ready to try it out!

For my first time I did not want to jump into a live-stream class. I wanted to just get the feel of the bike. I put on my new fancy Diadora shoes and snapped the bolted-on cleats into the pedals. Because the shoes were made in Italy, I was inspired to do a 35-minute scenic countryside tour around Northern Italy.

The 20-inch screen keeps track of my resistance, which I can change easily by turning a knob, as well as distance, output, and estimated calories burned, among other things. To my disappointment, however, the video is not connected to the bike in the way that it would stop when I stop or speed up when I speed up. So, frankly, it’s not the Oculus Rift; regardless, it’s still a great system.

The scenic ride was accompanied by music that played out of the speakers, but eventually I may pair headphones.

I quickly found myself sweating — and cursing about the ceiling fan, which had been sitting in a box in the hallway, and not where it should be, on the ceiling. Unlike cycling on the open road, when you cycle at home, there is no breeze; therefore, a fan is essential.

Halfway through the ride I decided my seat was too low, so I stopped and adjusted it. This is one reason why I wanted to do a test run before jumping into a live-stream class.

Overall, the ride was nice and a good workout. I am looking forward to my first live-stream class, which I will tackle tomorrow or Monday, and which I’ll write about in my next blog. I’m curious about your own experiences, so please leave comments below!

Looking for a Peloton promo code?

I had to update this blog recently because Peloton changed its promotions. It used to give two free subscription months but now gives $100 off accessories when you buy the bike using the referral code. Use my code for this savings: AURPXR