BikeWalkLee Column ‘Go Coastal’
The News-Press, July 15, 2021
by Ken Gooderham
|CC BY-SA 3.0)|
During the pandemic, Peloton rode to the rescue for many isolated exercisers. But as the fitness world opens up again, will the brand continue to lead the pack?
Peloton, for the uninitiated, is the fitness brand that rode to success by offering at-home exercise by combing an indoor bicycle and a computer to create classes, camaraderie and competition in the comfort of your own home. Since so many of us spent a lot of time in those homes over the past 15 months, the opportunity offered by Peloton to create a virtual gym experience held a lot of allure.
The allure wasn’t cheap, of course, with the cycles themselves costing almost $2,000 combined with a monthly subscription (to access the workouts, etc.) of almost $40… plus giving up some space in your home on a permanent basis.
Nevertheless, many found the experience worth the expense. With gyms shuttered and group activities shunned, Peloton became a vital (and lucrative) fitness option.
Was that a good thing? Overall, yes.
Anything that got people moving through the pandemic was beneficial, and if you needed group activities and a high-energy instructor to get motivated Peloton was a good option. So good, in fact, that other fitness firms followed its lead to offering similar machines and classes to what they viewed was a growing market.
Peloton is credited with spearheading the rise of “connected fitness,” all the benefits of group activities done virtually from your own space… a studio class experience without having to go to the gym and on your schedule instead of theirs. The pandemic inspired a number of group exercise options to flourish online, yoga being perhaps the most notable after cycling.
Fitness-wise, spinning (what Peloton offers is an at-home spinning cycle that uses a flywheel and resistance to emulate riding and encourage exercise) is a solid aerobic activity weighted heavily to working the lower body, although Peloton classes (and others) will include some weight work for the arms and shoulders. With a range of class styles and instructors, it’s pretty easy to find something you like (and will keep doing) with enough variety to make it interesting over the long haul.
The test of how interesting will come soon, however, as in-person options expand and schedules start getting crowded doing all those things we weren’t able to do thanks to Covid-19. There’s also the cost factor, as even just the monthly subscription (crucial if you want to access the full range of class content) will run you almost $500 a year… comparable to a gym membership without the extra options for exercise that offers.
Don’t forget the real-world competition… as in “I want to get out in the real world for a change!” Riding an actual bicycle on actual roads and paths may mean dealing with weather, traffic and more, but it also can be a more interesting (and even functional) experience than pedaling away in a room somewhere watching fellow riders on a video screen.
However, for those people who find studio classes motivating, like the flexibility of fitness on their schedule rather than a gym’s and have the space (in both their homes and wallets) to accommodate the accoutrements of a Peloton, this kind of fitness option will continued to appeal. Being able to avoid our area’s heat and humidity in the summer (or traffic and turmoil in the winter) could be a selling point.
But it’s a big investment with a considerable downside should it fail to enthrall you over time… so ponder before you pedal.
A shameless plug: For many bicycle-related purchasing decisions (far beyond Peloton, etc.), take a look at Wirecuttter, part of the New York Times online presence. The site’s reviews and explanations are thorough and thoughtful, updated regularly and researched rigorously. The site covers both bicycles and equipment, including preparing for cycling activities (such as commuting) and with a commendable focus on safety. Worth a look if you’re looking for guidance.
Summertime has shut down most local running and biking events, with Labor Day (maybe) the next opportunity for an organized event.
FORT MYERS TRACK CLUB (ftmyerstrackclub.com):
- Cops & Joggers 5K, Saturday, Oct. 9, 7:45 p.m., downtown Fort Myers
- 10K Race for F.I.S.H., Saturday, Oct. 23, Sanibel Island. In-person and virtual.
GC RUNNERS (gcrunner.org):
- Friends of Foster Children Forever Labor Day 5K, Monday, Sept. 6, 7:30 a.m. Lowdermilk Park, Naples and virtual.
- 2021 GCR Thanksgiving 5K, Thursday, Nov. 25, 7:30 a.m. Cambier Park, Naples and virtual.
ELITE EVENTS (runeliteevents.com):
- Venice Half Marathon & 5K, Saturday, Oct. 9, 6:30 a.m., Maxine Barritt Park, Venice.
- Naples Rocktoberfest 10K & 5K, October (date TBD), North Collier Regional Park, Naples.
- Fort Myers City of Palms Half Marathon & 5K, date TBD, FGCU.
- Naples Distance Classic Half Marathon, 18K & 5K, date TBD, Eagle Lakes Park, Naples.
- Thanksgiving Day 5K (two races), Thursday, Oct. 25, Hertz Arena in Estero and The Village Shops on Venetian Bay, Naples. 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively.
The Caloosa Riders are offering member rides, but some are open to non-members (and it wouldn’t hurt you to join the club); check their ride calendar (caloosariders.org) for a description of the distance and speed, and to see if the ride is open to all.
SW Florida Critical Mass is offering their usual slate of family-friendly rides. Check out their line-up online (www.meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/) for details and times (and to make sure the ride is still rolling).
- SW Florida Critical Mass ride, first Friday of the month. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Helmet and lights required, meet in the parking lot at 2180 West First Street, Fort Myers.
- Sanibel Critical Mass night ride, second Saturday of the month. Gathers at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended.
- NE Lee Critical Mass ride, third Friday of the month. Gather in the Winn Dixie parking lot on Palm Beach Blvd. about five miles east of the Interstate; gather at 7 p.m. and roll at 7:30 p.m. for a slow ride through Fort Myers Shores.
- Cape Coral Critical Mass ride, fourth Friday of the month. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape; helmets and lights required.
- Saturday Morning
Slow Roll, fourth Saturday of the month. Meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd.,
Fort Myers. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6
miles, includes group ride instruction.
If racing is not your thing but you’d like to support their return nonetheless, consider volunteering to help out at the few in-person offerings ahead. With Covid concerns still confining some of the usual volunteers, a few new helping hand would certainly be welcomed.
- Top Gun Triathlon, July 17, St. Petersburg
- Siesta Sprint Triathlon, Aug. 1, Siesta Key
- Fort Desoto Triathlon, Aug. 14, Fort Desoto (St. Petersburg), sprint and Olympic
- Fort Desoto Triathlon, Sept. 11, Fort Desoto (St. Petersburg), sprint and Olympic
- St. Anthony’s Triathlon (St. Petersburg) rescheduled to Oct. 1-3, 2021
- City Island Triathlon, Oct. 10, Sarasota