CLEVELAND, Ohio – No matter that my appointment was at 2 p.m. Even at one of the quietest hours at the gym, there was still a hard-rocking cycling class on the docket, and all I had to do to get a phenomenal workout was grab a bike.
Get this, though. My appointment could have been at 2:15, 1:30, or 3 a.m. Any time, really. With its recent purchase of four Peloton-brand stationary bikes, Tremont Athletic Club (tremontathletic.com) has enabled its class members to take a live or newly-taped cycling class at literally any hour.
No more leaving work early or arriving late to attend an exercise class. Heck, if you owned your own Peloton bike (onepeloton.com), you wouldn’t even have to leave your home. All you’d have to do is hop on, sign in, and press play. To quote a famous cyclist, it’s not about the bike; It’s about the streaming ($40 per month).
All the better if you’re the punctual type. Sign on to a live class and you’re virtually in the room with the instructor, hundreds or thousands of miles away in New York.
Along with everyone else riding at that time, he or she is aware of your presence and performance, just as you are of theirs. There’s competition and camaraderie, pressure and pushing. Just like a real cycling class, in other words, only everyone’s in a different location.
Even in the taped sessions, there’s a strange sense of unity. The class I took, one of over a dozen offered each day, had been recorded earlier that day, and yet to me it felt live. Watching my performance metrics rise and fall against those of other riders who’d completed the same program, I felt the same drive I would in a live class or on a real ride with others on the road.
The workout, too, was every bit as good as the real thing. I can’t tell you my instructor’s name or much of anything about her, but I know she believes in working hard, pedaling strictly to the rhythm of pop music, and eliciting about a gallon of sweat from each rider. She also likes to call people “baby.”
There were brutal, long hills at high resistance and hard sprints with the virtual wind at our backs. I’m not sure the imaginary road was ever truly flat. After 45 minutes, my computer said I’d covered over 17 miles.
For a time, we also rode while toting hand-weights, using them for biceps curls, shoulder presses, and triceps kickbacks. Funny how this is the new norm. No cycling class today is complete without an upper-body segment.
The bike itself performed beautifully. The ride was smooth, the touch-screen interface was flawless, and a video helped me adjust the seat and handlebars to fit my 6’6″ frame. To my enormous delight, there was actually room on the seat-post to spare.
Sadly, I won’t be buying a Peloton anytime soon. I’ve already got my hands (or rather legs) full with two bikes; A third for $2,000 would be a splurge of epic proportions. I might, however, take a look at Tremont Athletic Club. An occasional, or frequent, visit there would be quite reasonable.