The Peloton Cycle! I saw the commercials and was hooked. Over 9,500 on demand group spinning classes in my own home? You mean I never have to find someone to watch my kids, get in a car and drive to the gym? A dream come true – sign me up! Plus, I am assuming that it must come with a housekeeper because everyone’s homes seem so neat and tidy.
Then I saw the price tag…almost $3,000 right off the bat when you add delivery, special shoes, a $468 yearly subscription, etc. Crikey! I already have a graveyard of exercise gadgetry and workout DVDs in my house (does P90X and Insanity ring a bell to anyone?), I didn’t want to splurge on a Peloton bike only for it to gather dust in the corner. Don’t get me wrong, the Peloton bike is awesome. It is built like a tank and a nice ride. If you can afford it and are confident that you will continue to use it, I say go for it! For me and my track record, it was too much of a gamble and I needed to find a workaround.
So what did I do? After loads of research (Amazon reviews, fitness blogs, etc.) and with this Sunny bike I designed my very own Peloton bike alternative and it saved me almost $2,400. I have seen it called a Peloton “hack.” It works great and so far I am really enjoying my Peloton workouts. This is how I did it:
Step One- the Sunny Spin Bike
All reviews pointed to this Sunny Health spin bike:
Sure, there are less expense bikes and more expensive bikes but this seemed to check all the boxes. It is a good looking, sturdy, easy to assemble bike (I did it myself) that is fairly quiet to use. Plus it has “dual access” pedals meaning that you do not need to spend $125 on special clip in shoes – you can use your regular sneakers and slip them into the cages on the pedal like you would see at the gym (but if you want to use clip in shoes, you can just use the other side of the pedal). Brilliant! Plus with Amazon Prime you get free shipping which saves you $250.
Here I am in action.
We had previously converted some empty space in our basement into a home gym (I wrote a blog about my home gym, too). Interlocking rubber floor tiles, a drop ceiling, a little bright yellow paint and a cheapo TV bought on Black Friday. We simply put the bike in front of the TV.
I also considered this Sunny Health spin bike but I wasn’t sure if it was worth the extra cost:
Combined Savings: About $2,000
Step Two – Peloton App
I downloaded the Peloton Digital App from iTunes for $12.99 per month (as of July 1, 2018 the price is now $19.49 per month). This made more sense to me than spending $39 per month to stream the same content to the video console that is attached to the Peloton bike, especially as that device can only be used for Peloton classes! (This doesn’t make sense to me – what if Peloton is not around in a year or two? You never really know, right? I remember buying my 1st BlackBerry at a Radio Shack…).
From the Peloton Digital app I can choose from over 9,500 pre-recorded classes or access up to 14 live daily classes. What’s great is that you can filter the class selection. For example, you can choose class lengths from 20 minutes to up to 120 minutes (I usually do a 45 minute class). You can also choose the theme of music you want to spin to – Country, Pop, Hip Hop, Rock, 80’s, 90’s, Live DJ (which is kind of funny), Y2K, etc. What I really like is that you can choose your favorite instructor – my current favorite is Emma Lovewell. She rocks. I find that the spin classes are far more intimate than the classes at the gym and with over a dozen classes recorded every day, there is something here for everyone.
UPDATE: The Peloton Digital app now has awesome workouts like yoga, running, strength, bootcamp, stretching, abs, HIIT cardio, core and toning.
Here are screen shots of some of the on-demand classes:
Savings on Annual Subscription Fees: $312
Step Three – Display
To display the classes, based on all the research I considered two different options. One was to buy a tablet holder for my iPad and attach it to my handlebars. There are many to choose from but this was the one I had my eye on:But I didn’t buy it. Instead of a tablet holder I decided to simply stream the classes from my iPad to my flat screen TV via Apple TV. That way the class is on my big screen mounted on the wall instead of my 10” iPad screen. I turn the lights low and blast the music. You almost feel like you are in the studio with the rest of the class. It’s awesome. A very immersive experience.
Savings: Well, I already owned the iPad and TV so no additional cost for me!
Step Four – Cadence
During class Peloton instructors yell out what your “cadence” should be. This is a fancy word for describing how fast you are pedaling. For this you need a cadence sensor. I bought a combination Wahoo cadence sensor and speed sensor, attached the cadence to the arm that attaches to the left pedal (called the crank), the speed sensor to the front wheel and downloaded the free Wahoo app to my iPhone. The Wahoo app tracks your workouts, miles biked, etc. You can even link to MyFitness Pal if you use that app to track calories. It took about 10 minutes to set up. You could also just buy the Wahoo cadence sensor without the speed sensor for a little bit cheaper.
The sensor transmits your cadence via Bluetooth to your phone. As long as your phone is visible you are good to go. I bought this MaxMiles mobile phone holder and attached it to my bike’s handlebars for ease of visibility.Here is what the Wahoo App looks like in the phone holder.
NOTE: You may be wondering why I didn’t download the Wahoo app to my iPad. Well, it is simple – you cannot run both the Peloton App and Wahoo App on the same device at the same time.
Step Five – Headphones and Sports Mat
Step Six – Weights
Some of the Peloton spin classes include awesome arm and shoulder workouts that require light weights. The Peloton bike allows you to click two weights under your seat. The Sunny bike doesn’t have that and I couldn’t find anything to attach. So when I choose a class with weights, I grab them from the portable cart next to the bike. We already owned a bunch of weights so nothing new to buy but if you are going to buy some you probably do not need anything more than 5 pounds. I use 2 and 3 pound dumbbells.
We eventually also picked up this compact weight rack. The weights are also great for the “After the Ride” Peloton workouts.
Step Seven – Heart Rate Monitor
To track calories burned you need a heart rate monitor. I use the Wahoo heart rate monitor that is compatabile with my Wahoo app. At the end of my workout I can upload the number of calories burned to MyFitness Pal where I track meals, calories, weight, etc.
Step Eight – Some Optional Items
Here are a few optional items that I bought:
Cart. I bought a simple small metal cart with wheels to hold my weights, a towel and a place to put my iPad. I bought the one in the picture below but any old table or cart will do.
Bike Seat. I’ll admit it. My bum hurt after a few classes so I bought two seat cushions (a Him & Hers for hygiene reasons):
My Total Cost
My total cost? About $469 for the equipment plus $156/year for the Peloton class subscription on iTunes. That is almost a $2,400 savings! Not too shabby and I’d much rather spend the money on this fancy wine cooler.
Is my Peloton hack EXACTLY the same? No. Here are some main differences as I see them:
- Shout outs. The instructors will never shout out my screen name during a live class. For a $2K+ savings I am OK with not hearing “Good Job MomJeans73!” during class. Plus I only seem to take the pre-recorded, on-demand classes so it doesn’t really matter to me anyway.
- Leader board. You cannot see how you stack up against others during a live class. I’ll never be in the lead and seeing how far behind I am would likely be demotivating for me anyway. In fact, some instructors recommend that you turn it off.
- Resistance. If you have ever taken a spin class you will be familiar with resistance. It is how heavy your wheel feels. If you are going uphill the instructor will tell you to turn your resistance knob to the right somewhere around 50 to 60 resistance. If a straight road, 20 to 35 resistance. The Peloton bike displays your resistance on its screen. Without it, you need to get a feel for the resistance just like in a spin class at your gym. That is how spin classes have always worked and it is fine. I have found that on my Sunny cycle every turn of my resistance knob equals about 10. So, if the instructor tells you to add 10, that is one crank. I also make sure that I am following the rhythm of the instructor. If he or she is going very slow up a hill and I am cruising along, that means I need to turn my knob to make it more difficult. It is really easy to get the hang of it.
I am about five months into cycling with Peloton and both my husband and I spin several times a week. We have shed a lot of weight, are sleeping better and are really enjoying our workouts. We especially enjoyed saving a load of money.
I’d love to hear how you are getting along so please leave a comment!
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