The future of fitness is together but alone
July 23, 2019 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Peloton’s multi-billion dollar valuation has led to a flurry of social “connected fitness” trainers aiming at rowing, boxing, cardio, weight training and much more (The Verge). They’re all focused around the same thing: live and on-demand classes with leaderboards and virtual high-fives that give you the feeling of being in a bustling class, but while you’re home alone. Convenience and community – can you have it all? posted by adrianhon (65 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
A new round of soon to be useless devices like stair-steppers and rowing machines to fill garage sales everywhere.
posted by Freedomboy at 8:01 AM on July 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


I both make amazing progress when I'm part of a group with a shared goal and hate every minute of it. Social engagement and cardiovascular exercise both take the same degree of mental energy, I can't do both at once and not want to stab the chatty Cathy next to me (and I cannot talk while I'm running, stop asking me questions!)
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:02 AM on July 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


The future of everything seems to be "together" in some corporate-mediated social space but physically alone.
I am pretty sure humans were not designed to thrive in that kind of environment.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:16 AM on July 23, 2019 [42 favorites]


My new building is very proud of the Pelotons in its gym and I'm like, ugh, can't you just put in one recumbent bike I don't need to subscribe to or buy special shoes for or lean in in a way that's not great for my back?
posted by praemunire at 8:16 AM on July 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I have an exercise bike in my shed, and I have a little spreadsheet where I track my stats (mileage and miles per hour), and that is enough for me, thank goodness. As of right now, bliss is heading out there with my tablet and watching part of a movie on Netflix as I sweat through my daily 20-odd miles.

ETA: I HOPE an ergometer hits the local garage sales soon. That would be amaaaaaazing for cardio cross training.
posted by sobell at 8:18 AM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


in my city there is a "secret" wednesday night bike ride. It ranges from 20-50 riders, enough to cause drivers to take notice but not enough to get in trouble with the cops.

It's a blue collar ride. Folks show up in their workboots, jeans, jackets. Many on fixies, some on road bikes.

The group typically rides around town for an hour, through alleyways, streets, and bridges. Then they find a secluded place in a park or by a river or some other place to enjoy a few beverages or hits for a half hour. Then another hour, usually faster pace, from that place to the final bar.

Rides I attended ranged from 15-25 miles (+ the 6 miles between my house and the starting point)

People need groups. People don't need corporations.
posted by rebent at 8:38 AM on July 23, 2019 [33 favorites]


I was going to say, nothing beats the convenience of just stepping outside and going for a walk (or a bike ride if that’s your thing). Then I remembered that’s not a possibility for vast swaths of the country because cars are more important than people and walking has now become an ‘alternative form of transportation’ (a phrase that was actually used in a discussion about pedestrian safety).

Likely, ‘IRL’ is now also becoming an alternative and somewhat unusual/old-fashioned form of socializing - the norm is to be technically mediated in your interactions with your friends. I mean, I love emojis, but that’s fucked up.
posted by The Toad at 8:45 AM on July 23, 2019 [16 favorites]


This is the exact opposite of what I seek when I exercise.
posted by srboisvert at 8:51 AM on July 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Current corporate vision for the future seems to be house bound people getting food delivered, streaming entertainment, and if they want to exercise joining one of these virtual spin classes.

This is good prep for a few years hence when it will too hot to ever leave the house. Let the Uber eats guy don the radiation suit and worry about the street catching fire underneath his wheels, you've got a new series to binge while you pedal a bicycle furiously to get nowhere!
posted by pilot pirx at 8:55 AM on July 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


What I thought of first when I looked at this is how many friends I have who are obsessed with mobile games, and like... look, if leveraging those things makes people exercise more often, it seems like a societal net benefit, unlike people spending money on loot boxes or gacha games. It seems less about real community than about leveraging that sense of needing to keep up with a group, even if the group is a bunch of strangers online, to make you feel compelled to do the thing. But for once, the thing is actually healthy? And the machines are not substantially more expensive than one would expect of exercise equipment?

So--if it works, great. If they stay up long term and don't get the servers shut down in a year leaving you with a piece of equipment missing all its fancy features, great. That's the part I'm more skeptical about, especially with the stuff that's less well known than Peloton.
posted by Sequence at 8:56 AM on July 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


The last thing I want is someone else knowing my workout stats. And I’m too cheap to even pay for exercise class—part of the reason I love swimming laps in the neighborhood pool is that’s it’s FREE, GLORIOUSLY FREE (also, relatedly, very crowded, but we can’t have everything...).
posted by sallybrown at 9:06 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'll take the "loneliness" of the casual long-distance runner any day. (Plus sometimes one can just bail on the way & take a nap under a tree & not answer to anybody!)
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 9:16 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


Just wait untill this becomes a corporate compulsory thing, in order to be eligible for company health insurance.
posted by Faintdreams at 9:19 AM on July 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


I was going to say, nothing beats the convenience of just stepping outside and going for a walk (or a bike ride if that’s your thing). Then I remembered that’s not a possibility for vast swaths of the country because cars are more important than people and walking has now become an ‘alternative form of transportation’ (a phrase that was actually used in a discussion about pedestrian safety).

Or even if you're in an area where you have sidewalks, when do you do this? I work 9-5:30, and I have to leave the house at 7:45 to get there on time. I wake up at 6 to do that. So if I was going to try a run before work I'd have to wake up at 5 and be even more sleep-deprived than I already am. If I wait until after work, I only have a few months of the year when that's even viable - it will start getting too dark at 7 pm soon (the time I get home from work). And a woman jogging alone at night has its own concerns.

And if I had a gym membership or a class that's money out of my pocket, and it's also having to navigate bringing gym clothes to work and then getting myself home on a subway looking ridiculous after working out.

Whereas if I had some kind of a treadmill thing I could squeeze in something when I got home inside and be home already when I was done with the shower right there and I'm home so no one sees me so who cares.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


My wife loved the spinning classes she went to, but the gym isn't close, and the logistics are more difficult vs working out at home. (Timing, showering, meals, etc., especially before work)

I had a gym membership, near work that I could go to on a long lunch. But work got busier, and I rarely went.

Instead, I cancelled my membership, she stopped going to classes, and we use the Peloton bike now. In 5 months, it's made a huge difference for both of us in terms of how much we work out. I'm on it a couple of times a week, and my wife, a teacher off for the summer, uses it 5-6 times a week, including the floor classes, stretching, yoga, etc. The gamification seems about right. The elements on your screen (output, resistance, speed, leaderboard) can all be toggled off to suit. (And aren't there at all for any of the non-cycling classes.) Given the costs we cut vs the price we are paying, it'll even out in about 12 months, and we are both working out lots more.

The social aspect of the software is really muted. You can follow other accounts, but you can't send or receive messages. I'm fine with that - people at my gym either came with a friend, or wanted to be alone. There is a thriving unofficial Peloton facebook community , but obviously, it's optional. I still do just as many activities with friends and family. My fitness routine, 2-3 times a week, was never all that social to begin with.
posted by thenormshow at 9:44 AM on July 23, 2019 [13 favorites]


I certainly have some personal reservations about Peloton as a social thing (especially as an avid outdoor cyclist), but really what I mainly don't like is the stupid bikes. You have to manually crank the resistance! Zwift and a smart trainer is the way to go. Even if you didn't already have a road bike you can get a smart trainer and a decent 11 speed road bike for less than the Peloton clunker.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:56 AM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


I am the target audience for this except for being too cheap. It's really hard for me to go places for exercise, but I'm only motivated by competition.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:58 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


> I cannot talk while I'm running

Running is specifically for peace, quiet, and being alone. Outside I am happy to nod to the odd person I might pass and say 'hey boy' to any dogs encountered but otherwise I cherish the solace of silence. In the gym, the bomp-bomp of the dance music must be blocked out by my own. It's a distressing experience.

I once managed twelve miles on a treadmill in a loud gym when marathon training in dead winter with snow and ice outside. It's one of the most challenging experiences of my life.
posted by humuhumu at 10:03 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the thing that keeps me from getting a gym membership is just this: It takes at least an extra half hour to get there and back. That might not sound like much, but if I'm shooting for 30mins of exercize, that would double the amount of time I'd have to devote to it.

I'd probably never get a Peloton but I can see the appeal of a machine that gives you some of the benefits of a gym class without having to go to the gym.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:04 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


For the expense, it is surprising just how poorly featured the Peloton is. You have to control resistance by hand — it isn't tied to automated events in the exercise routine, but is something you must switch over when directed. Moreover, like most Android cell phones, the electronics are locked into an old version of Android that cannot be updated and which cannot be extended with other applications. So if you want to, say, read the news or watch some shows on streaming networks while you exercise, you'll need to run a separate device on top of the flat panel.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:09 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


In the Seattle winter, the dark and rain are enough barrier to cut my number of outdoor runs in half, even being used to it and having the gear for it. The commute to the gym was sometimes manageable but I had to cut that out for budgetary reasons. The people who sold us our house worked for Microsoft and left their Kinect here with many different work out games and I was doing some of those this winter and that was more varied and engaging than just treadmilling or stationary bike with some music. So yeah, I totally see why this Peloton thing would be compelling, not as a replacement for other workouts, but as a complement when other workouts just don’t fit into your life.

Then again, if I could afford a Peloton, I’d probably choose to work less and could probably fit in more outdoor workouts.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:14 AM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


That looks indescribably dreadful.
posted by sonascope at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


For the expense, it is surprising just how poorly featured the Peloton is.

Peloton is vastly cheaper than what the "serious mode" of indoor cycle training looks like.

A decent bike (if your the kind of rider that's more on the "what's my LT/V02 max?" side of things verses "let's go to spin class") costs twice as much as a Peloton. You will also want ERG mode and so you've gone out spent 50%-75% of what the Peloton costs on a smart trainer. You also have Training Peaks, Zwift/TrainerRoad/Sufferfest subscriptions, etc. etc. $2k plus $39 a month is a steal compared to all that.
posted by sideshow at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Staking a business model on a presumption of expanding exercise commitments from Americans is not necessarily the safest bet.

also:
posted by docpops at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I laughed at the onslaught of Peleton ads before Christmas and Valentine's Day that were encouraging men to give them to their wives and girlfriends and had a clear undertone of it will make her 'hotter'. I thought the Peleton was more likely to be the last straw, and that the whole thing was really kind of a joke.

So much for that guess.
posted by jamjam at 10:47 AM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Have not read the article but I feel the need to say that their Hulu ads really creep me out.
posted by bunderful at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2019


"$2k plus $39 a month is a steal compared to all that."

I don't know sideshow, you can be a decent used, demo or entry level road bike for $1-1500 and you can get a Wahoo Kickr smart trainer for $1,200 (they are often on sale for $7-999). A Peloton is $2,245, which is close. Plus you can ride the bike outside anytime you want. Zwift is $15 a month and all you really need (Virtugo is free, not as good, but decent). A free Strava membership and the free Elevate add on gives you Training Peaks level stats. So, it's a wash really and comes down to personal preference in how you like your indoor cycling experience.
posted by remo at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


While I also have distaste for corporate social spaces, the assumption that all people are safe and comfortable in "IRL" fitness spaces, or yes even going for a walk, needs to be faced. I have had vile things yelled at me just walking on the side walk, both sexual and about my weight (including "go back inside until you lose some weight" and I was with people that night). And don't get me started on the well-meaning patronizing fitness peers and instructors in and out of the gym. So having access to group classes at home where I won't be shamed and preyed on... isn't a negligible benefit for a lot of people, it's what stands between them and dignity and health. Now I can't afford one of these bikes, but it appeals to me for those reasons.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 11:10 AM on July 23, 2019 [26 favorites]


I don't have a Peloton, but I do ride indoors via my bike hooked up to a smart trainer with Zwift. With two small kids and a hectic job, the only chance I get to ride is at 5am. I do most of my rides on Zwift with two groups on there called "The Herd", where folks like me help newbies get their bearings. The other group is called D.I.R.T (Dad's Indoors Riding Trainers) which is mostly parents who like me can only ride in the early morning most days.

From riding with these groups and my own training I managed to shed 30 pounds and was able to crush a brutal 150 mile gravel ride via riding 80% of the time indoors. The bonus is I made some real life friends from my area via Zwift and now have people of similar skill I can ride outdoors with.

So, while the whole in the house by yourself is not ideal, I found the shared interests and the use of discord to occasionally chat (I'm usually going too hard to talk) and social media has brought me together with folks I may never have run across on one of my outdoor rides.
posted by remo at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


The future of everything seems to be "together" in some corporate-mediated social space but physically alone.

E. M. Forster is not generally remembered as an SF writer, but "The Machine Stops" has proved far more foresighted than nearly any other SF from its era.
posted by tavella at 11:25 AM on July 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I only needed people chucking bottles at me oh, two-three times iirc, before doing my training outside seemed like maybe not the best idea.
posted by aramaic at 11:26 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


The idea that you need to spend a couple grand for a stationary bicycle that comes equipped with an incredibly fit person yelling at you seems like something you'd see on The Simpsons.
posted by tommasz at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


The future of everything seems to be "together" in some corporate-mediated social space but physically alone.
I am pretty sure humans were not designed to thrive in that kind of environment.


I'm pretty sure humans were not designed. I'm also pretty sure there are plenty humans capable of thriving in that environment. Some might even go beyond thriving. They may actually like it. Strangely variable creatures these humans are.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2019 [13 favorites]


The idea that you need to spend a couple grand for a stationary bicycle that comes equipped with an incredibly fit person yelling at you seems like something you'd see on The Simpsons.

One of the best post-season 6 episodes made, with Albert Brooks as the fitness coach in fact. (though it was a roman chariot and not a bicycle). Close enough.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:54 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that I've seen this yet: in many places, it is already unbearably hot. In many more places, it will become unbearably hot soon due to climate changes. I have, years ago, done plenty of running outside in the heat. It makes scheduling even harder -- you just can't run at certain times of day, it doesn't get much cooler at night, and you certainly can't do it in the middle of a workday or any other time when you can't shower immediately after.

I've started running again but it's all been on a treadmill. Let me tell you, it's more boring, but it's also so much less of a fucking production. If I've got ~45 minutes free, I can get on the treadmill and go. I can wear earbuds and turn my music up without worrying about some creep coming up behind me. And I'm not courting heat exhaustion and sunburn/skin damage every time I want to run.

It's been much easier to get motivated to run this time around.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:58 AM on July 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I do 90% of my running on a treadmill because I want firm control of my tempo but it seems ludicrous to own one. Something has gone wrong in USian urban planning that so many people have chosen to have the space to own their own fitness device rather than accepting less space in order to have convenient access to many shared services, including fitness devices. As usual, too-cheap gas and too-cheap parking are the culprits.
posted by Kwine at 11:59 AM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


No individuals being lazy is not why they don't have easy access to shared resources like fitness centers please see any thread on the housing crisis
posted by bleep at 12:30 PM on July 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


I guess I'm lucky to have a YMCA within two blocks but I'd much rather walk to the Y and use one of their machines than have to buy and maintain some complicated internet-connect machine.
posted by octothorpe at 1:02 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


My ideal indoors setup would be a recumbent bike (something like the Catrike 700 would be keen, if I ever have $4K burning a hole in my pocket) attached to an indoor trainer thingy like the Wahoo KICKR SNAP and maybe Zwift, if I don't just use the time to catch up on some Peak TV. Bonus: I could use the bike in meatspace on something like RAGBRAI.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:13 PM on July 23, 2019


As with many discussions like this, if you're impulse is to reply with a permutation of, "Why don't you just..." it may be helpful to back away from the Post Comment button for a few seconds and imagine the person you are talking to is one or several of the following: LGBTQ, fat, female, non-white, disabled, a caregiver to others, and/or just in general living in circumstances very very different from your own.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:15 PM on July 23, 2019 [27 favorites]


I am a little surprised no one has mentioned the Black Mirror episode One Million Credits yet...
posted by Faintdreams at 2:33 PM on July 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Lord, I hate those Peloton commercials. There just something faintly...übermenschen...about them that creeps me out. As opposed to the Bowflex “I am Max” commercials. Those are just laughable.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:39 PM on July 23, 2019


I think Peleton, or something like it, would be absolutely great for me but there's no way I could let myself buy it. I got my wife a nice Dutch-style bike 2 years ago so I think that means I can get a new bike as well. From there a smart trainer is justifiable I think.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:03 PM on July 23, 2019


As opposed to the Bowflex “I am Max” commercials.

This brought me right back. Between watching those and all the episodes of Seinfeld centered on the gym, my perception of adult leisure time as a kid was a tad bit skewed.
posted by sallybrown at 3:24 PM on July 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Plus you can ride the bike outside anytime you want.

Uh ... can i tho
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:01 PM on July 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


I've started running again but it's all been on a treadmill. Let me tell you, it's more boring, but it's also so much less of a fucking production. If I've got ~45 minutes free, I can get on the treadmill and go. I can wear earbuds and turn my music up without worrying about some creep coming up behind me. And I'm not courting heat exhaustion and sunburn/skin damage every time I want to run.

When I do indoor training I pick a tv show I really want to watch from Netflix and then use my tablet and the download feature on Netflix and only watch it while on the treadmill. Good TV can be surprisingly motivating for doing my workouts because I want to know what happens next (it does have weird effects when I am running while watching action: my heart rate goes all over the place). My big issue with indoor training is heat buildup and air quality. Fans are very important particularly in small spaces.
posted by srboisvert at 4:18 PM on July 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


No individuals being lazy is not why they don't have easy access to shared resources like fitness centers please see any thread on the housing crisis

This thread is about expensive luxury items and my comment is about how wealthy people are incentivized to own their own rather than share them, by among other things, taxpayer subsidized gas and parking. "Lazy individuals" is something that you've brought along with you and not part of my comment in any way.
posted by Kwine at 4:47 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Is there any exercise bike that comes with a screen to simulate like, the tour de france or an alpine track or something. I need to feel like I'm going somewhere.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:25 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! That's better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.'

Hadn't heard of Peloton until watching the Tour de France coverage where the ad breaks are buttressed by it constantly.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:31 PM on July 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


This is the exact opposite of what I seek when I exercise.

Also an emblematic portrayal of dystopia in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which the "telescreen" quote above is from. Did I miss a bit about that in one of the OP articles?
posted by XMLicious at 6:06 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm constantly reminding myself how lucky I am to live one block from a gym I really like. It's one thing to live near a gym, and another to like a gym - to get both feels like winning the jackpot. With that in mind, I think I'd struggle with exercising in isolation. While I don't chat all that much, just the subtle nods of recognition between gym members scratches a social itch. When I put in my time, surrounded by others who do the same, it's gratifying on a very human, nearly limbic, level. I'm see how any of these companies can ever provide that kind of experience. If I was somehow isolated by geography, then these services would probably seem sufficient, but they'd never replace a gym if one was otherwise available to me.
posted by elwoodwiles at 6:15 PM on July 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


My partner and I never used a gym membership before, only exercised sporadically in the past. Until we moved to a condo with a modest gym. Now we can just walk downstairs and go in and there's a few aerobic and strength machines, some free weights, mats, and so on. We've become super regular about going 5-7 times a week and feel (and look) so much better for it.

It really is about convenience, though -- if we had to sign up for a gym membership or walk five minutes in the snow to go to the gym, I doubt we'd bother.

I'd really love to ride my beautiful bike outside but this is Toronto and I don't want to experience several incidents of near-death and/or road rage when doing something that ought to be gloriously enjoyable. It really sucks, honestly.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:23 PM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Hadn't heard of Peloton until watching the Tour de France coverage where the ad breaks are buttressed by it constantly.

Now, if they made one that tracked along with the telecast, automatically increasing tension as the peleton goes up a hill or letting you sprint along with the break away, that would be something worth paying $40 a month.
posted by madajb at 6:39 PM on July 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


Heard tell of something comparable for Formula One, allowing you to race against real-time ghosts of the actual cars, but as a mostly highlights/free-to-air pleb I'm not quite sure of the details. Some level of artificial interactivity or immersion in [SPORT OF CHOICE] would be amazing though. E.g. maybe all those guys who thought they could take a point off Serena Williams actually could (with a Wii controller and on easymode)
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:55 PM on July 23, 2019


Lots of pro riders from all cycling disciplines are on Zwift. I’ve been passed by a few and I’m usually the one doing the passing when mere mortals are involved. Their power outputs will break your amateur heart.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:24 PM on July 23, 2019


I have a free gym at work, but never use it because I just cannot bring myself to work out in front of other people. So my elliptical at home is where all my exercise happens.

I don't need/want something like the Peloton, but I can certainly see at least one appeal. If my only option was gyms I'd just not exercise (it's enough of a struggle with access to my own machine with AC and a TV to watch).
posted by thefoxgod at 9:24 PM on July 23, 2019


My partner worked for one of the at-home training companies mentioned upthread. Their biggest customer base is parents who want to train hard (1h+ rides a couple times a week) but can't leave their kids alone. They train at home before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. It's not all about fancy equipment or not wanting to go outside -- for a lot of people, it solves a very real problem.
posted by third word on a random page at 12:11 AM on July 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


This definitely seems like *a* future of fitness, but I don’t think it’s *the* future of fitness. The market is limited, I think, because it’s expensive and requires a dedicated space, which isn’t really feasible in a lot of homes. I can totally see it filling a need for some people, such as (affluent) parents who want to work out before their kids wake up, but there are always going to be other models for people who can’t afford the fees or don’t want to devote the space to a piece of workout equipment. And I’m also not totally sure that even the parents would get a ton of extra value that they wouldn’t get from buying the equipment and forgoing the social aspect.

My current routine is that I’m running outside three times a week (with the help of Zombies, Run!, which, and I cannot stress this enough, is the greatest), and I’m strength training with YouTube videos from Fitness Blender two or three times a week. I’ve been doing this since April, and it’s been great. It’s also cheap, even with the paid version of Zombies, Run!, and cheap is a requirement for me. I like that both Zombies, Run! And Fitness Blender let me use my own music, which is way more important to me than a Leader Board or feeling like part of a group. I’m lucky to live in a place where it’s feasible and relatively safe to run outside, although safety is always relative for women runners. However, I don’t plan to run outside in the winter, because it’s dark and bitterly cold, and running outside seems both unpleasant and dangerous, just from a falling, getting injured, and freezing to death perspective. Winter is always a workout challenge for me. But I’m not sure that a connected bike or treadmill would solve that problem any better than a standard, non-social bike or treadmill. And I can’t afford and don’t have space for a bike or treadmill, so I’m probably going to go to the public rec center and run on their treadmill come mid-November.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:37 AM on July 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


I just started my own exercise program, now that my sisters here to help me with MomCare.

Ten minute walk to the bar down the street.

Thirty minutes of community time.

Ten minute walk back.

Exercise and community!

It's a nice walk now, and they let me bring my dog as long as we stay on the patio. It may be a little tougher in the winter, my town's not that great at snow removal, but:

"The church is near, and the road is icy. The tavern is far, but I will walk carefully."
posted by Marky at 2:32 AM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


"Lots of pro riders from all cycling disciplines are on Zwift. I’ve been passed by a few and I’m usually the one doing the passing when mere mortals are involved. Their power outputs will break your amateur heart."

Yes the pros are something else, it's humbling. Besides pros, I often see "Celebrity Chef" Gordon Ramsey, and Nascar driver Jimmie Johnson on Zwift.
posted by remo at 6:23 AM on July 24, 2019


Plus you can ride the bike outside anytime you want.

Uh ... can i tho


Sure Kutsuwamushi, besides the heat, cold, angry and distracted drivers......... ummm ok fair point :)

But, seriously, cycling despite the elitist roadie image is pretty darn inclusive. Just in my city have two predominately African American clubs, A beginner women's club, a more competitive women's club, special rides by the local bike shop that does women, trans and femme workshops and rides.

I also volunteer with an organization where we help get blind and disabled folks out on the bike trails, be it via Tandems, handcycles and other custom made bikes.
posted by remo at 6:33 AM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have a bike and try to get out on it but city riding still scares me too much. The drivers here are just so openly hostile to cyclists and would happily run you over if they thought that they could get away with it.
posted by octothorpe at 6:42 AM on July 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Peloton is vastly cheaper than what the "serious mode" of indoor cycle training looks like.

A decent bike (if your the kind of rider that's more on the "what's my LT/V02 max?" side of things verses "let's go to spin class") costs twice as much as a Peloton. You will also want ERG mode and so you've gone out spent 50%-75% of what the Peloton costs on a smart trainer. You also have Training Peaks, Zwift/TrainerRoad/Sufferfest subscriptions, etc. etc. $2k plus $39 a month is a steal compared to all that.
Incorrect.

You can get an entry-level road bike for $1,000 (the base model Specialized Allez has exactly that MSRP), and a smart trainer (say, Wahoo KICKR Snap) for $500. Then all you need is Zwift running on the tablet you already own, and something to put it on while you ride. (I use a music stand; $35 at Guitar Center.)

So no, Peloton -- at $2245 -- is not "vastly cheaper;" in fact, it's more expensive. And with the Zwift+KICKR approach, you get automatically adjusted resistance (which until today I assumed the Peloton could do -- it's bizarre that it can't) *and* the ability to ride outside when you want.

Is a Peloton cheaper than MY setup? Absolutely, because my bike is significantly beyond entry level. But if you're looking for a basic indoor training setup, you probably don't care about a boutique, hand-made steel frame, an on-bike power meter (because the SNAP does that for you), or $3000 carbon fiber wheelsets.
posted by uberchet at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


*and* the ability to ride outside when you want.

That's definitely a plus if you have limited space in your house. A Peloton, or any fixed bike, takes up quite a fair bit of floor space and doesn't store easily.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:27 AM on July 24, 2019


I really like ArbitraryAndCapricious's point: this is *a* future of fitness, but not *the* future of fitness

Time, personality, income, all of these personal factors and more and then environmental factors such as temperature, drivers' level of bike awareness, etc interact to make a particular kind of fitness activity more suitable for any given person. A lot of the critical theorists I know like to use the concept of "assemblage" to emphasize the contingency and instability of things.

I'm currently struggling with Southern California weather (finally gave in and turned on the AC) and while there's a yoga studio just a few blocks down, and I love walking in general, I melt into misery in 90 degree weather and can't get myself to walk there. Instead I have a yoga dvd (I am so old school you guys).
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:04 AM on July 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


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