The Peloton newbie onboarding guide
Dedicated to: NPL. Thanks for taking the first step with me and continualy obsessing over our friends’ peloton onboarding experience.
Even though peloton has a 96% retention rate, it’s not uncommon that the bike doesn’t get as much mileage as it should. This guide will cover recommendations from the gear perspective (the easy part) to all the tricks stuff you need to know to keep riding consistently (the hard part).
Not ready to take the plunge? Read my experience about why I love peloton even though it has very little to do with the bike.
What to spend your $100 referral credit on
Wait, what $100 off? Ask any Peloton rider and they’ll be able to hook you up with a $100 off accessories. If you don’t know anyone, ask me. If you’re in the military, Peloton’s been known to give out $250 accessories package. Call it in!
Shoes ($125): The peloton cycling shoes are actually a decent deal because it comes with LOOK delta cleats. 9 out of 10 riders will tell you they run small. FYI, I got my shoes on closeout at REI for $56. Buying it at REI also gives me the confidence that I can exchange it if it didn’t work out. Try it at the showroom before hand if you can. Peloton uses LOOK delta cleats, not SPD. Already have SPDs? Not a big deal, just buy new pedals to switch them out with.
Delta shoe cages ($50): An unadvertised accessory is the delta shoe cages. This allows anyone with sneakers to get on the bike. Yes, even kids as long as they’re 4’11”. This will also help you buy some time if you’re still trying to hunt for the perfect shoes. I highly recommend this accessory because it is actually worth its value. This item is only available for other on the phone or in-store.
Mat($59): If you have an old yoga or exercise mat lying around, that would work just fine. A comparable one from amazon is $29. For those who have carpet, you’re going to need a piece of plywood under your mat to stabilize your bike.
Weights ($25): These are MUCH cheaper at target starting at $3.49 for the pair of 2 lbs or $27 for an entire set of three weights at amazon.
Heart rate monitor ($49): You’ll need this especially if you‘re a quantified-self geek like me. However, Peloton’s heart rate monitor is not known for reliability. Do a search on OPP and you’ll now what I mean. Sorsche Rhythm+ arm band ($79) has first-mover advantage and is the most recommended but I ended up with the Wahoo Tickr Fit armband because it has a way longer battery life ($79).
Wireless earbuds ($29): If you don’t have to be sensitive about noise in your home, this purchase can wait. The bike’s monitor do have built-in external speakers, but… they suck. The speakers face out, away from the bike. I have little kids I can’t wake up at 5am, so headphones are a must for me. If you like in-ear headphones, their headphones are probably decent. For me, earphones do not stay in my ears so there are only a handful that work for me. As a earphone snob, my personal favorite is the AfterShokz bone conduction earphones ($99).
Other gear to consider buying
You don’t have to buy these right away but once you get into the groove, you’ll need them.
For women with bangs, I’m a big fan of Maven Thread Headbands. They are cute, affordable and STAY ON.
You must have a fan. Lots of high velocity air circulators to choose from but our family have been loyal Vornado users for decades. This Vornado room air circulator does wonders for us in our workout room or you can get fancy with the remote control version.
The only and biggest complaint you’ll have about your bike is how crappy the external speakers are. They face away from you. (I know. Why???) So hook up your Bluetooth speaker and you’ll be fine. I love the beautifully and thoughtfully designed UE Roll 2 because I can bungee it to pretty much any part of the bike. And it’s waterproof!
These disinfecting wipes were recommended by the Peloton delivery team because its bleach-free. Wipe down your bike and mat after every use!
When the squeaks come on with the pedals, this $8.99 Finish Line lube spray will fix it.
You know that musky smell you can’t get rid from your workout wear? This will blast that shit (pun intended) off. Rockin’ green active wear detergent.
Almost every mom on the Peloton Mom’s group has a Revlon one step hair dryer and volumizer. The before/after photos look amazing and the biggest benefit is cutting down your styling time to minutes. I have short hair otherwise I’d be all over this!
Chamois shorts or gel seats: it’s not uncommon for people to experience butt pain in the first couple of weeks. If you’re willing to tough it up for a couple of weeks, your booty should adapt.
Forget Bombas. The only socks you should ever consider are Balegas hidden comfort. Spinning shoes are kind of stiff so I love the cushy comfort Balegas affords me. And, they last forever
Since nobody actually sees me workout at home, my desires for lululemon have gone out of the window. If you’re going to be drenched like me after every workout, you’ll need an arsenal of workout gear. I swear by Tesla Gear leggings with side pockets. It fits my iPhone 8+! I have five!
Pre-delivery check list
You have about a week before your bike arrives. There’s plenty of stuff you can do in preparation for a big day.
Join the Official Peloton Facebook group: This group is a great place to get started and get tips. Many of them I have already summarized in this article for you. Use this group to help you find the right tribes or get ideas for when you get stuck. I will warn you that this group is very large, which lends itself to more trolls like most any community out there. Other incredibly supportive places to start are The Official Peloton Moms Facebook group and subreddit r/pelotoncycle.
Make space for it: You’ll need a relative large 3’x5’ spot in your house somewhere with good wifi. If netflix won’t stream at that spot, peloton won’t either. I reconfigured the guest room so I could place it by a window. The room will stink up so make sure you’re going to get great ventilation. Tape out various spots with some painters tape so you can visualize how it’s going to look. If you have little kids, the bike is virtually silent but clipping in/out is loud. I recommend leaving your shoes clipped-in if you plan to ride at zero dark.
Brainstorm on a leaderboard name: This is a fun part! Your tribe and instructors will know you by this name. Pick a name that 1. Represents you 2. Is easy for anyone pronounce 3. Actually motivates you. A name like ddd111sssccco33yyyis a name begging to not be called out. If you need help with a creative name, the OPP community can help with that!
Get familiar with the apple Peloton app: (Android apps are due this fall) This step is very much like what you would do on Netflix. Download the peloton app and create a free trial account to sign in. Spend some time reviewing instructors and classes andbookmark the ones that look appealing to you. Check out the live schedule and see if you can fit live classes into your schedule. Search for your favorite artists/songs and start bookmarking those!
It’s delivery day (!!!)
If there are multiple riders using the bike, it is to your benefit that they are all home to get properly adjusted. Your bike will either get delivered by Peloton or a third party vendor, XPO. Peloton installs are typically great experiences but I’ve heard mixed reviews about XPO. Either way; your bike is finally here so celebrate!
10-point hardware and software check. Do this when the delivery guys are still there! This gives you an opportunity to get things resolved should they arise.
Calibration: Ask them to make sure the cadence and resistance are calibrated precisely. E.g. When the resistance is set to 45 and the cadence is 100, the output should be around 200–220. If it is not, make sure they calibrate the bike. Ask if they have a “calibration kit” in their truck that you can hold onto for the future.
Adjustments: Get seat and handlebar adjustments for everyone in the household. Write everyone’s measurements down on a post-it and have that handy. If XPO delivered the bike, they might not have fitted you at all. Watch Christine’s video to check your bike fitting
Noise check: When you ride the bike, both in and out of the saddle, it should be virtually silent. No squeaky pedals or weird noises. The ride should feel smoother than any other bike you’ve ever been on.
Maintenance: Ask them to show you how to maintain your bike. Which screws do you need to tighten and how often? Take a video on your phone so you don’t forget. Ask them how to use lube spray on the parts.
Mechanism check: Try your hand at adjusting every single thing. Everything should be smooth. Make sure the monitor screen is tilting up and down with no issues.
Screen check: Check the monitor for dead spots and make sure the volume is responsive.
Bluetooth: Check the Bluetooth connectivity by making sure your headphones and heart rate monitor connect properly.
Test a quick ride on an ondemand ride. Make sure you delete this ride, you’ll definitely want your first ride to be LIVE so you can get a shout-out! Ask them to show you how to delete it.
Using your new shoes: If you’re using the clip-one for the first time, make sure they show you how to clip in and out of the bike. There are definitely some tips that are super handy.
Ask them to show you how to give high-fives during a ride. It is not obvious! (You tap someone’s profile photo)
Last but not least, if the delivery team did an exceptional job, do consider tipping them. They’re only paid $13-15 an hour according to job postings that members have found.
***Ramping up on rides***
Getting the bike is the easy part
Showing up consistently is the hardest part. I believe there’s a sweet spot to finding the perfect ride — the trifecta of music, coaching and riding with your tribe. You don’t need all three, but a solid one out of three is enough to get you out of bed.
Here’s what I recommend:
Decide on your first ride and make it a live one. Your first live ride is an exciting one. The instructor will give you a live shoutout which is a totally cool experience. I like Jenn Sherman’s, Robin’s, Denis’ and Alex’s shoutouts. If you missed out on this tip, not a big deal- just delete the ride.
Make a consistent plan. When will you ride? For me, I have committed to Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 5am weekdays and 6am weekends. I LOVE live classes so I try to plan my workouts around it. On my off days, I do some floor or strength workout on their peloton digital. Remember, failure to plan is planning to fail.
Find a tribe and buddies. Tribes rally around instructors (like the wildly popular JSS tribe), type of training, stage in life and even time of riding. Here’s a full list of tribes.I ride with the #zerodark tribe. We ride at 5am PT live or 530am PT OnDemand pacific time. We support each other on milestones milestones and use our Facebook group to coordinate attendance for ondemand rides. Don’t be a lurker in your tribe — Make some friends! The more connected you are, the more accountable you’ll feel. Big shoutout to #BabsSilverwood and #kimchi_spinner. Could’ve gotten this far without you guys!
Find your coach: spend the first couple of weeks looking for the right instructors that will motivate you. Their lineup is extremely diverse so I guarantee you there’ll be someone for you. For me, it’s Denis Morton and Jenn Sherman. There is an “all for one” ride that gives you a flavor of all the instructors in a single 45 min class. Work your way through “peloton picks” program to experience the best of the best.
Find your vibe: We know that music moves you. You can search for your favorite artists or “collections” that Peloton has put together. Don’t want to ride alone? Blast your tribe for a ride buddy!
For beginners, take it easy: Start with the “Welcome to Peloton” program. This will help you get acquainted with the bike and start small. Always prioritize cadence over resistance if you can’t match both calls. If you want to double check if you’ve been “fitted” right on your bike, watch Christine’s bike set up video first.
Get perspective: it’s going to be easy to look at yourself on the leaderboard and wonder how on earth you’ll ever catch up with the rest. Remember that everyone is different and all you need to do is bring the best version of yourself. Athletes like Michael Phelps ride regularly on peloton so please do not compare yourself to other (species).
Upping your game
Recovery is just as important as riding. Make sure you’re scheduling in rest days and not riding every single day. Behind every new PR (personal record), there’s usually a good full day of rest and great night of sleep.
Make sure you have a variety of rides each week. You should plan to push it hard 1–2 rides a week and just groove to the music on other rides. Overtraining is a sure fire way to get hurt.
There are a couple of options to push your performance to the next level. You can start with Robin’s Tabata training program or join power zone training. The powerzone training program developed by Mat Wilpers and Denis Morton. Join the Power Zone Pack on Facebook to be a part of structured team challenges. The stairway to 7 challenge is guaranteed to push your outputs to new levels.
For that extra push, give yourself a goal. E.g. aim for 100 rides in three months. You’ll get a code for a free exclusive century t-shirt. I’m seven rides away from mine!
Hoping to lose weight on the peloton? Don’t count on it.
Many people buy a peloton in the hope of losing weight. It can work for you — provided your diet is already under control and continues to remain under control. If it’s not, you may actually gain weight after getting the bike. Think of your peloton as a bonus to a healthy body. Read my experience on why losing weight is actually a losing game.
Still not getting on the bike?
If you’ve followed everything on this guide, and am still not getting on the bike. Here’s what I’d recommend: Sit down and try to problem solve exactly what is getting in your way. I chatted with a coworker recently who haven’t been able to get on her bike after her first initial ride. Through our discussion, we figured out that she’s been afraid of waking her kids up when the only time she can ride is 5am. We were then able to troubleshoot some things to try. Also highly recommend The Power Of Habits to help you figure out why and how to build healthy habits for the future.
The best gym is the one that you go to.
Congrats on finding yours. See you on the leaderboard. #ShimmySim
(WLK receives a small commission on some purchases through posts.)