Can a Stationary Bike Change Your Life?
The latest fitness craze is just as much about community as it is working out
Can a bike change your life? For many Peloton users, the answer is yes, as demonstrated by the brand’s ‘Homecoming’ event in which 3,000 devoted bikers were in attendance.
The company, founded in 2012 by former Barnes and Noble executive John Foley, was borne out of a want for the ability to take boutique fitness classes, such as SoulCycle, from the comfort of one’s home. Stationary bikes are by no means a new invention, but Peloton differs from its predecessors by featuring a video screen directly above the bike’s handlebars, which allows riders to follow along with a live class or refer to a past one. The screen operates as though the rider were in a physical classroom with other riders, even allowing them to interact with fellow classmates and the instructor.
But Peloton has done more than just alter the fitness of its users — its also greatly changed their personal lives and imbued them with a strong sense of community. Despite what seems like a largely isolated activity, the bikes most enthusiastic fans have taken it upon themselves to create various Facebook groups separate from the company, where riders are free to bond with one another and plan meet ups. Groups range from “road riders” (people who also enjoy outdoor cycling) to groups for plus size members, a community that is often neglected and shunned by the fitness world.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve been cycling for 20 years or 20 days. It’s extremely supportive. That’s the mantra: ‘Road riders ride together.’ There are meet-ups all over the country. Your fake friends from the internet become your friends in real life,” Jacqui Cincotta, a Peloton user since 2016 and member of the “road riders” Facebook group, told The Atlantic.
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