This past weekend, I finally got the chance to do an in-studio live class at Peloton Studios in NYC. I’ve been trying to get into an in-person class for a while and the stars finally aligned! I wanted to share my experience because I know a lot of you enjoy Peloton as much as I do and an in-person ride is really a “bucket list” experience for a die hard fan!
I’m going to answer the top question I got, which was:
How did I get in?
It’s so freaking hard to get into a class. I don’t even really get the system completely. I have set multiple alarms on Thursdays trying to be there for when the waiting list refreshes and have failed time and time again. Registration opens on Thursdays “at noon,” but in my experience the virtual queue actually happens at some point before then and it’s kind of random. Could be 11:30ET or 11:42ET. You just have to be on and ready. Honestly, I think the process could have some improvements to make it a little more seamless, for example, one time I was so close to getting a waitlist spot, but I didn’t already have a class purchased and by the time I purchased, the spot was scooped up. You do have a year to use the credit, but I felt a little frustrated knowing how hard it is to get into a class and knowing that I know have this credit I already paid for with no class opportunity in sight!
Anyway, I happened to get into the virtual queue one day and I got in and clicked “cycling” and “running” options and scrolled and boom there was a waitlist spot! For cycling with Emma Lovewell! And a 30 minute class! I clicked waitlist, checked out, and excitedly texted my brother in law who had just recently taken a class. And then…. I realized it was Easter morning. Naturally, I think that was why it wasn’t already completely booked.
There must be a Facebook or Reddit group somewhere where real fans know exactly how to get the classes they want. (And now that I’ve been, I think Peloton saves bikes for “VIP” riders– I believe there were four or five in the class I took.) I chatted with a group of riders who told me they were celebrating in December and decided to book a trip to NYC specifically to come to Peloton classes and people were in the class from LA, Seattle, the UK. A handful had lined up “milestone rides” with their in-person experience for shoutouts!
What was the studio like?
The studio was very cool. Sleek, clean, modern. Every single person working there was kind and friendly. From check in to the guy taking photos to the people helping everyone get safely set up on bikes. I think I was most impressed with the staff. We were there on a holiday and everyone was just so nice. Peloton has such a cult like following, I was worried (admittedly) that it would feel too cool and maybe even a little harsh? Honestly, getting into the class was so hard that I could totally see it being like snobby experience and it just simply was not. The locker rooms were clean and spacious, with room for everyone. (I was worried it would be like going to SoulCycle back in 2013… IYKYK. I think I’m still scarred from those locker room experiences lol.)
What was the in-person class like?
It was fun. It was cool. It was amazing to be right there. But…. I think my biggest takeaway is actually the thing that makes Peloton so unique. Taking an in-person class didn’t feel that different from taking a class at home. How crazy is that??? Sure you’re picking up more energy from everyone around you, and the actual vibe is a, well, vibe. But the instructors do such a great job performing that you get the experience through the screen nearly as well as you do in person. Like so cool.
Now I realized about three minutes into the in-person class that I heavily rely on reading the closed captioning while riding at home. I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be doing just from listening to Emma– it’s like what she was saying was going in through one ear and out the other without sticking at all in my brain. This is probably not an issue for everyone, but I just wanted to share my truth. Apparently, I read the instructions and motivation while riding and you, obviously, don’t have that option in a live class! Even with that little personal hiccup, I would do it again for the live energy!
How was it overall?
The in-studio experience is a well-oiled machine. It’s not like going to a regular gym and taking a spin class. It’s very much a set with a cast of celebrities. Again, it’s what makes Peloton, Peloton. It does end up taking on a little bit of a Disney World experience though. They’re filming a class live. The instructors are actual celebrities in their own right. And the riders (myself included!) are fans. I kept thinking, I cannot imagine what it’s like going to one of Cody’s rides 😆 People must go feral! (And to be clear, I would too.)
You’re lined up for the class according to class, which you’re assigned when you check in, not unlike lining up to board a flight. VIPs and milestone riders get higher classes and get first pick over seats. There are people inside who can help you get your bike adjusted, there’s time to warm up, and then the instructor comes in a few minutes before going live. After the class, if you want, you can line up in a queue for photos. The instructor takes a few minutes to freshen up, then he or she comes out and poses for photos one by one.
If you’re dying to meet your favorite instructor and take a class live, it’s definitely worth trying to get into a class. It is a fun experience if you’re able to swing it!
In the meantime, consider joining (or creating) a few hashtags and riding live, virtually, with friends! If you want to ride with other readers of my blog, we have a hashtag: #pelotonprepsters! I am going to try to schedule more rides we can take together virtually– it’s so fun to high five and see you on the leaderboard.