Recently, Peloton announced a partnership with the Accor hotels group, bringing the company’s fancy (and expensive) workout equipment to a bunch of Accor hotels across the country. This is great for people already part of the Peloton ecosystem, because it means that they can keep up their exercise habits even while on the road. But it’s also nifty for people who are curious about Peloton, but don’t have $2000+ to drop on exercise equipment (followed by $59 a month on the subscription fees) without being sure they’re into it, money back guarantee be damned.
This week, I got the chance to spend an hour in Melbourne’s Sofitel on Collins Street to see a bit more about the partnership, and try out the machines.
First up, the Peloton Tread and Bike+ will be in the gym (as it also is in the Pullman on Swanston), but some suites will have them in the room. I saw this in a very fancy suite on the 50th floor. I got to watch cars and people as far as Richmond while I tried not to have my lungs turn inside out during my first run in many years.
This was my first go on the Peloton Tread, a $4445 treadmill with a 22-inch TV for watching the instructors. I’m still wearing an N95 mask indoors when I’m with other people, and it’s been a long, long time since I was a runner, so I’m perhaps not the ideal test subject for a treadmill. But I was surprised by how fast and hard I ran. There were lots of class options to choose from, and I went with a 10-minute interval class with pop punk music. The intervals of walk – run – sprint in equal measure meant that I could go as hard as I could, confident that there would be an appropriate rest around the corner. The instructor was extremely motivating, to the point that I ran about 1.6kms in the wrong shoes, with a mask, while very out of running shape.
Peloton classes still have a slight cult vibe, but in a motivating way, not a “you can’t talk to your family” way. Seeing the numbers on the side of the screen to compare yourself to everyone else who has done that class can be humbling, but also can see you locked in a race to the death with someone whose screen name is SoccerMom4God83, and you can’t really get that anywhere else.
The next machine I go to try was the Bike+ ($3345). Bikes are much more my speed, and a few years ago I got to spend 6 months with the Bike+, so I’m familiar with it. Having used a lot of exercise bikes, the Bike+ has one of the smoothest wheels I’ve tried, and the resistance is easy to adjust even when you’re in the zone. I particularly enjoy being able to lock the resistance to the suggested range by the instructor, so I don’t have to be constantly adjusting the dial (though, I find that the instructors prefer to have the resistance a little lower than I’d like when riding out of the saddle, but that’s a personal preference).
The Bike+ isn’t as fun as going for a ride down to the beach on a nice day. However, the classes are motivating, and really pushed me harder than I would feel comfortable to go on a shared path. Having it as part of an outdoor training plan, or for people who just want to increase their cardio fitness and never ride outside, it’s really effective.
The Peloton app also now features mindful walking workouts, though these obviously weren’t available to try in a hotel room.
I do still question whether Peloton is the best choice for people for whom money is an object, when you can just get any old cheap exercise bike or treadmill and pair it with Apple Fitness+. You don’t compete with specific strangers, and you don’t get as many metrics that way, but you’ll also save over $40 a month and at least $2000 on the purchase price.
But, if you find yourself in one of the 55 Accor hotels with a Peloton setup, it’s absolutely worth a try. Such an excellent workout.
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