A little over a month ago I shared about a Peloton spin bike that I purchased about a month before Christmas. If you’re not familiar with this bike or haven’t seen the commercials, the Peloton let’s you take spin classes, both live and on-demand, in the comfort of your own home.
I love this bike and feel it’s one of the best (if not the best) step I’ve taken for my health and future well-being. It’s also the only form of exercise, other than biking the Silver Comet Trail, that I’ve ever actually looked forward to doing. Simply put, it’s addictive! But, in a good way!
Answering Questions I’ve Received Over the Past Month
Since I shared that post over a month ago, I’ve received a lot of questions and e-mails from readers asking for more information about this spin bike. I’ve also heard from those who already had a Peloton bike and there’s no denying, this bike gets under your skin!
Today I’m going to answer some of the questions I’ve received and share some additional tips that I’ve learned over the last couple of months of riding, those things that you really don’t learn or discover until you’ve ridden the bike for awhile.
I’ve already shared a fair amount about the bike in this post: My Peloton Bike: A Healthy Addiction, so I’ll try to not repeat myself too much. Be sure and check that first post if you missed it and would like additional information about how the bike works, costs, etc…
How To Adjust the Seat and Handlebar Height
Before you ever take your first ride, the very first thing you need to do is adjust the seat and the handlebar to the correct height-position that’s comfortable for you. You’ll find everything you need to know to do those things in this video: Peloton 101.
Once you have the seat and handlebars exactly where you want/need them, if someone else in your household will also be taking classes on the Peloton, make a little chart to hang nearby that shows where each rider prefers their seat and the handlebars. That will save a lot of time and frustration when it’s time to hop on the bike for a class.
Which Coach is The Best? Where Do I Start?
I had several questions about the coaches and the classes. When you first get your bike, I recommend you start out by taking the beginner classes. When I first started riding, even the beginner classes were a challenge. I got impatient after just 2-3 beginner rides and started taking the longer 45 minute classes. Looking back, I probably should have spent the first month or two just taking the beginner classes until those got a lot easier. If you push yourself too hard, you just end up too sore to ride the next day.
Here’s the amazing thing, your legs and your stamina improve pretty quickly. It’s really amazing how much you improve and how much stronger you become in a fairly short time with consistent riding. Don’t expect to be able to do the all the metrics (the speed or resistance) that the coach is calling out in those first few weeks or even months. It takes time to build up your leg muscles, stamina and strength if you’ve been leading a pretty sedentary life like me.
I’ve seen postings on the Peloton Riders Facebook page where riders showed their “output” results after their first ride, comparing them to their most recent ride, and it’s shocking how much stronger and how much better their results were after just a few months of taking classes.
So, expect the beginner rides to be challenging, but expect to see them getting easier and easier the more you ride. You won’t believe how much it improves your stamina in other areas of your life. When I first started standing up to ride the hills on my bike, I couldn’t pedal for longer than maybe 10 seconds before my heart rate was in the 5th zone and I’d have to sit back down. Now I can go much longer before it reaches that zone. That has happened a lot faster than I ever thought it would!
Regarding the coaches, they are all amazing and all very different. They have different styles of teaching and different tastes in music, so it’s impossible to say which one you’ll like the best. The best advice I can give is to take a couple of classes with each coach to see who you like the best.
Some of the coaches use “explicit” language and those rides are labeled as such. So if you don’t like hearing the occasional curse word, you can skip those classes. I’ve found the explicit classes don’t bother me. I guess it’s because the coaches are often working just as hard as we are and sometimes when they let a curse word fly, you may be feeling like doing the same! But you don’t have to because they do it for you. lol
After taking beginner classes for a while, I very much recommend looking into Coach Steven Little’s HRT classes (Heart Rate Training) classes. His classes are excellent for building your stamina gradually so that when you encounter those hills/resistance, you can handle them. The folks who take his classes call themselves the HR Tribe. I love Coach Little’s motto: You’re not out of shape, you’re out of practice.” You can read more about Coach Little and his HR Training classes here: HRTribe.
Update: Tonight I took Coach Little’s “20 minute Intro Endurance Ride.” I’ve taken his 45 minute Endurance classes but had never taken the Intro class. Once you’ve taken a beginner class where you learn how to read the monitor and more about the bike, consider taking Coach Little’s 20 Min Intro Endurance Ride. He really goes into how you can manage your breathing and your heart rate, which in the long run is going to improve all your rides. Following his instructions, I was able to reduce my heart rate without reducing my cadence (speed) or my resistance. Amazing! It’s a great class, highly recommend it.
So, take a class or two with every Peloton Coach and you’ll soon find your favorites. So far, I’m still sampling them all, haven’t found any that I didn’t like. I love the variety and how they are all so different. I did find one class type that I don’t like. I didn’t know what EDM meant and I took a class called, “30 min EDM Ride.” Ugh. Turns out EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music. I thought I liked all types of music until I took that class. So, you may want to skip that one unless you already know you like that type of music.
One of My Favorite Things to Do
As you may know, in addition to spin classes and yoga classes, you can also take scenic rides on your bike. The rides are through beautiful parks and scenic drives all over the world. Some days, if I’ve taken a class that morning but still feel like riding, I’ll take a scenic ride at night. Or, if I’ve had a really stressful day and just don’t feel up to a class, I love knowing that I can still burn some calories and take a nice scenic ride at my own pace. Of course, the classes are still the best part since that’s where you really feel inspired and motivated to work, but the scenic rides serve their purpose, as well.
That Extra Firm Seat!
Several folks asked about how to deal with the extra firm seat until your tush adapts…and it does adapt. The seat that comes on a spin bike is virtually never comfortable, especially when you first start riding. My daughter-in-law told me that the Peloton seat is the most comfortable spin bike seat she has ever ridden on. Having never taken spin classes, I had nothing to which to compare it, but comfortable is NOT a word I would use. lol
So right off the bat I purchased this inexpensive seat cover and it made a world or difference! (Seat cover is available here: Gel Seat Cover)
You can see it on my Peloton bike in the photo below.
I also purchased biking shorts with padding. I already had some from my days of riding the Silver Comet Trail, but alas they were too small. Not wanting to spend very much, I found some for just $10 that are super comfortable. You’ll find those here: Padded Bike Shorts.
Funny thing is, I only needed those shorts (combined with the padded seat cover) for about 3-4 rides. My bottom must have gotten stronger/tougher quickly because I was able to ditch the shorts after those first few rides. Now I just ride with the seat cover in place. I doubt I’ll give it up because it stays in place and is so comfortable.
Now if you want to get fancy, this is another seat that I’ve seen recommended by other rider’s on the Peloton Facebook Rider’s page. Normally I’m all for upgrades, but my $18 gel seat cover that I’m currently using is so comfortable, I’m fine with using it. If you want to just skip using a seat cover and replace the seat all together, this is the one I’ve seen recommended: Cycle Seat.
The Other Essentials I Never Ride Without
The other essentials I always have on hand for a ride are those shown below. I shared some of these in my previous post but here’s a quick run down on why I use them
A lot of folks lay a towel across the handle bar when riding, but I find the towel moves around and gets wrinkled under my hands, which drives me crazy during a class. So I just drape a hand towel over my handle bar for wiping away perspiration….
…and I wear these mesh Gel Padded Cycling Gloves while cycling. I find it easier to hold onto the handle bar with a little padding underneath, than biking with bare hands or a towel. I love these because they are open-weave and don’t make my hands get hot. I used to wear black gloves like this when I biked on the Silver Comet Trail and found it way more comfortable than holding onto a hard, handle bar.
Scrunchies for Long Hair and a Water Bottle
If you have long hair, keep a few scrunchies nearby. It probably goes without saying that you’ll want to have a water bottle available during your class, as well.
You’ll also want to keep an Allen Wrench nearby because you may need to tighten up the cleats on your shoes after every 4-5 rides. One of the most frequently asked questions over on the Peloton Rider’s Facebook Page is, “What is that squeak?” Everyone always thinks it’s a problem with the pedal since that’s where the squeak seems to be coming from. About 99% of the time, it’s just a cleat that’s loosened up a bit during a ride.
I don’t wait now to hear the squeak, I just check my cleats before riding after every 4-5 rides. It takes two seconds to tighten up the cleats when they need it.
Update: Peloton has created a video showing how to position the cleats on the bottom of the shoes. I wish they had it out when I first bought my bike, I had mine too far forward initially. So be sure to watch the video so you’re not positioning them incorrectly which can lead to knee pain. You’ll find the video here: Attaching Cleats.
About Those Cleats: How to Get Your Cycling Shoes-Cleats Out of the Pedals
The first few days/weeks that you ride your bike, you may find it a bit tricky to get the cleats to release from the pedals once you’ve finished your ride. New cleats are tight in the pedals. The video I linked to toward the start of this post shows how to adjust your seat and handlebar and it also shows how to snap your shoes in and out of the cleats. Getting in is easy, getting out can be a bit tricky until you get the hang of it.
Basically, you need to turn the front toe-area of your shoe inward toward the bike while turning your heel out away from the bike, doing so firmly. The first few times are going to be tight so you’ll have to be really firm. After a while the cleats start to wear down a little and they go in and pop out of the pedals much easier.
From reading the Pelton Rider’s Facebook page, I learned that some riders just leave their shoes attached to their bike and never take them out. I guess that would cause a lot less wear on the cleats so you wouldn’t have to replace them as often, but that’s not practical if you’ll be sharing your bike with others in your household.
I’m not sure how long cleats last before they need replacing, but I think it’s a pretty long time since I haven’t had to replace mine yet, and I do always pop them out. I should probably just leave them on the bike, I may start doing that.
One more tip: If you’re new to riding a spin cycle, you may not realize at first that your foot/shoe has a bit of wiggle room when it’s locked onto the pedal. During a lot of the Peloton spin classes, you’ll hear the coaches remind you at the start of a class that your knees should be pointed forward “like headlights” and not pointed inward toward the bike or outward away from the bike.
When I first snapped my cleats into the pedals to take a class, I wondered about that since my knees weren’t pointing totally straight ahead. I realized very quickly that I could twist my foot/shoe a little in the pedal to straighten my knees out. So, just in case you’re not familiar, you do have some wiggle room even after you’re snapped in.
Heart Rate Monitors
When you first buy your bike, you can purchase a package from Peloton that includes your shoes, earbuds and a heart rate monitor, but the heart rate monitor is the type you wear around your chest. I knew I wasn’t going to like that so I skipped buying it and bought one that everyone was recommending on the Peloton Rider’s Facebook page, instead.
The pink band below is an awesome heart rate monitor that works with various apps and just so happens to work brilliantly with the Peloton bike. While wearing the band on your forearm, your heart rate will be displayed right on the Peloton Cycle screen since it pairs via bluetooth with the bike. You’ll find the heart rate band here: Heart Rate Band.
Also, Peloton is constantly upgrading and adding features to the Peloton bike computer and recently they sent out an update that let’s the Fitbit pair with a bike. So if you own a Fitbit, you may find that it will pair with your Peloton Cycle to monitor and display your heart rate. You really, really want to have that feature because it’s invaluable for the heart rate classes AND it’s good to know what zone you’re in when riding. I will not ride without my heart rate monitor. Period!
Another question that’s always asked on the rider’s page is what wireless headphones pair best with the bike. Wearing headphones just gives you a more immersive experience, so I highly recommend them. These are the ones I purchased because they can handle moisture/sweat and it doesn’t affect them. They were designed for sports activities like running, biking etc… where one might sweat a lot. You’ll find them here: Headphones.
Fan with Remote Control
It didn’t take me too many rides to figure out that a fan would make my spin class a lot more comfortable. When I ride, I always bump the thermostat in the house down to around 63-64 degrees. That seems cool but after 5-10 minutes into a class, you’re craving a breeze!
The fan I have is made by the same company that makes this one below. I use their Wind Tunnel version, but they may have stopped making it since I didn’t see it available. I’ve had mine for several years. I actually have two of them, one in my bedroom and one (during the summer) under my desk in the office.
So, here’s the really cool thing about this fan, no pun intended: it works via a remote! The remote is a genius idea because in my office, it’s a pain to reach up under my desk to turn on a fan. In my bedroom, it’s great when I hop into bed at night and realize I forgot to turn on the fan. I mainly use it in my bedroom as “white” noise, it lulls me to sleep. But it’s also great for cooling during the summer months.
When you first hop on the bike, you may be feeling a little chilly in your sports tank and shorts, but after about 10-15 minutes, you’ll find yourself wishing for a cool breeze. That’s when the remote comes in super handy. You can’t pause a class, and who would want to anyway, so it’s super convenient being able to turn on a fan via a remote. I keep my water bottle in one of the holders on the bike, and my fan remote in the other. You’ll find this fan available here: Fan with Remote Control.
Heavy Duty Surge Protector, The Type You Would Use for a Computer
When I first plugged my bike in shortly after it arrived, I was using a smaller surge protector. You can see it below in this photo. But then I started thinking, a Peloton is really a computer with a spin cycle attached. I decided to go for something much beefier and with more joules to protect the computer.
This is the surge protector I’m using now and it’s available here: Surge Protector.
Another thing to consider adding to your exercise space is one of these fun disco/party light balls. I saw several riders talking about these on the Rider’s page and had to order one. They are super inexpensive and add a bit of fun to that “studio” experience you already get when taking a Peloton class. This one is available here: 12 Color Disco Light Ball.
I closed up the shutters and turned on mine to let you see how it looks. Of course, at night the effect is even more dramatic. 🙂
Is this a hoot?! lol
I’ve been wondering if when I take a class at night and it’s dark out, if my neighbors can see the lights thought the slats of the shutters? If so, they have to be wondering what the heck is going on in here!!! hee hee Sometimes the coaches are literally dancing on their bikes, and I’m right there with ’em, disco party ball and all! Like I said, it’s addictive, but in a good way!
I have a new shirt to wear next time I ride, thanks to my daughter-in-law. So fun!
Hope this post comes in handy for those of you who have newly purchased a Peloton bike. These are the little tips I’ve learned over the last couple of months. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this a time or twenty, but I adore this bike! I could kiss the founder of Peloton for inventing it! Okay, I’m sure he’s married, so make that a hug! Ha!
Also, if you ever feel like you could use a little inspiration, check out the Peloton Rider’s Page. The stories shared there are so inspirational.
To learn more about the Peloton, including the cost of the bike and classes, check out my previous post here: My Peloton Cycle: A Healthy Addiction.
If you don’t already have a Peloton bike and would like to know more about it, check out the Peloton page here: Peloton Cycle.
Pssst: Peloton gives those who are referred (as well as the referrer) two months of classes free, so if you don’t already have a bike and decide to purchase one, would would very much appreciate it if you would mention my daughter-in-law’s name, Nancy Herin, as having referred you. You’ll get two months of classes free, and she will as well. Thanks in advance for that!
Read the reviews left by those who have bought a Peloton bike here: Reviews
1-Minute Video: This is Peloton. (This was the commercial I saw that made me want to know more.)
5-Minute Video by the founder of Peloton that goes into even more detail: Peloton: Tour of the Peloton Bike