If you’re like me, you’ve seen and heard a lot about Peloton, the at-home fitness suite of products. They’re most famous for their super fancy, super expensive spin bike.
Basically you hop on, dial in to a class on the touchscreen, and join a workout led by an instructor.
The bike will measure your cadence, or the rate at which a cyclist pedals. It’s the number of pedal revolutions per minute (RPMs). It’ll also allow you to raise and lower the resistance on the front spin wheel. More resistance makes it harder to pedal, less resistance makes it easier. You pedal harder or slower, and increase/decrease the resistance as directed by the instructor.
You can join live workouts streamed directly to your bike, or on-demand rides that have already occurred. You can “see” other riders that are currently out there with you and give them a “high five” or some congrats on their accomplishments. There is also a bit of a social connection in that you can follow your friends, and align yourself with teams, or hashtags.
I’ve been building an at-home gym for some years. This began with a set of weights and a television with a Chromecast. This allows me to send workout videos to the TV from my video server. Lastly, I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks while working out. All of this, in the comfort of my home has been helpful as I’m not able to head out to a gym with a tight schedule and two kids.
Since we moved to South Carolina, we spend a lot more time running, walking, and generally hitting the pavement out doors. This is hell on my knees, which aren’t the best after years of rugby.
In an attempt to get a better cardio workout, I researched the Peloton and was turned off by the high price. With a little bit of research…I found out that I could make my own Peloton experience. 🙂
A Peloton is just a spin bike, with sensors to connect to the app. This is something you definitely can DIY. I watched the following videos, and read some posts (one, two) to get a handle on what I’d need.
- a spin (stationary) bike, you can buy a stand for a regular bicycle to save some money;
- a cadence sensor;
- a heart rate sensor, you can use an Apple Watch, or some other sensor that will have Bluetooth/ANT+;
- a device to run the app and display the Peloton app, we use an old iPad or iPhone. Sadly Android doesn’t work as well with the sensors;
- headphones (preferably wireless/bluetooth) to listen to the music and instructor
My DIY Peloton
I purchased a Sunny Bike off Facebook Messenger from a local person that was downsizing before they moved. There are a ton of Sunny (and other) spin bikes for sale in your local classifieds (Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist). The Sunny Bikes generally have great reviews, and it seems to be the one most DIYers recommend. I love ours. The bike cost us $175. You should be able to find one for around $200 to $300.
You’ll need to purchase a cadence sensor and attach it to the crank for the pedal. We use the Wahoo Cadence Sensor. That’ll run you anywhere from $30 to $40 depending on where you get it. Ours was purchased from eBay for cheap.
You’ll want to get a mount to secure your device to the front of the bike. Our bike came with a mount from the previous owner. You can buy basic phone or tablet mounts online that connect to a bike handle. This mount accepts an old iPad we had in the house for the kids. My Wife uses her iPhone in the mount when she rides.
You’ll need a heart rate monitor for better tracking of your performance. I bought the Scosche Rhythm+ Armband Heart Rate Monitor used on eBay for $30. This is something you can find everywhere. It seems this type of heart monitor is something that people receive when they join a gym, and then never use it. It works great, and I plan on purchasing several replacement straps as the kids now want to use it when they ride the bike. My Wife’s Apple Watch picks up her heart rate and reports that to the app.
One you have the bike set up, you’ll have the screen mounted to the front, the cadence sensor on the pedal crank, and a heart rate monitor somewhere on your body. You’ll need to install the Peloton app on your device (iOS seems to work better – iPhone & iPad).
Connect the sensors on the device (iPhone/iPad) to the bluetooth cadence sensor and your heart rate sensor. Select a course in the cycling section and you’re off. The app will monitor your cadence and heart rate and display it in the app. This will also show calories burned and track your performance over the different workouts.
Please note, the app is free for 30 days, and then it’ll be $12.99 a month. The membership will be cheaper than a gym membership, and it follows you wherever you go…especially if you workout at home. It includes the cycling workouts, as well as yoga, meditation, weight training, etc.
You can level up your experience by connecting with a television in the room. I can send the video and audio from my iPad to the television using the Chromecast app. This makes the display a lot larger, and it really boosts the audio.
The added benefit is that we use the Peloton app to display classes to take with our kids as they’re attending school virtually. There are a bunch of workouts, yoga classes, meditation sessions, and dance parties that are family friendly.
The last thing you’ll need is a fan (you can see a fan on the table in the first photo) and towels for all of the sweat. We bought a bunch of florescent green towels (shown on top of the television) for use in workouts.
The end result is a nice breakdown of your workout. I’ve included a screencapture of one of my latest rides.
Don’t Slow Down!!!
I hope this helps you as you think about ways to keep moving while in quarantine. If you’re already on Peloton, connect with me and let’s stay in touch. I’m wiobyrne if you’re there.