A few years ago I decided to piece together my own Peloton-compatible stationary bike, it has been a fantastic investment in me. Building your own is easy and significantly cheaper than buying the bike Peloton sells!
Ironically placed in a window overlooking the Pacific for its first few years of service, my Sunny Bike was in storage for the last 12 months and I ached to get it back. When I packed my life into storage last April I thought I would be living in a new home by the end of summer, and haphazardly packed stuff into boxes as labeled by a madman. I did not take my cycling shoes, shorts, heart-rate monitor with me.
Of the 11,000lbs of crap I had in storage, I spent a year missing 3 cardigans, my espresso machine, and the fakey-Peloton. I was thrilled when I saw the movers haul it out of the truck and bring it into my home. It took three days to find the espresso machine.
In the months before going into storage, my physical therapist told me I had to stop riding the Sunny Bike as often as I had been. I was riding 5-6x a week and he suggested some of my back problems might be alleviated by riding less and doing more core building strength exercises. I find that riding the bike not only helped me burn calories, and maintain a better level of cardio fitness than I had in years, it was a huge emotional release, and frequently as I pedaled my heart out, I would just start to laugh or cry. I looked forward to longer and harder rides, but my back was giving me grief. Helping reduce backpain is why I started riding the thing in the first place!
I started alternating riding days with what I call, as the father of a gymnast, “My Floor Routine.”
I spent most of the last year religiously doing my floor routine wherever #vanlife took me (often my brother or parent’s homes.) I alternate “dead bugs” with some lower-back-safe crunches, and do as many chin-ups as I can manage in two sets and a couple of sets of push-ups. I longed for the bike to make its return.
It took me a few days to dig through the mountains of boxes and find the old iPad 2 I use to run the Peloton app. It took another day to find an old wide-style iPad cable to charge it, my cycling cleats, and the Wahoo heart rate monitor to appear. Once I had everything in place I was pleased to see that the batteries in the cadence and HR sensors were still good, everything still sync’d with my iPhone and I could jump right back in.
I’ve been riding to pre-recorded classes by Dennis. I now live in Venice, CA and Dennis reminds me of so many dudes I grew up with here it is hilarious. I started out with 30-minute classes and quickly moved up to 40-minute. My body likes spinning and it was like I had never really been off the bike. I will try Ally Love when I feel like I can take the beating.
I am trying to take it slow.
While my body may have aged a year, the Sunny Bike is working wonderfully. Purchased in March in 2017, I have hundreds of rides on this bike and it sounds and feels even more stable than when first assembled. The only thing I had to adjust for the bikes new, far less ironic placement, is to spin the leveling feet a few times.
The 49lb fly-wheel on that bike remains a blessing. Having tried a few spinning classes on other bikes, the heavier flywheel makes all the difference. I replaced the pedals on the SunnyBike with Shimano SPD style ones, to match my favorite style of cycling cleat.
The included seat really, really needed a gel seat cover and I wear padded cycling shorts with it.
I still really like my Wahoo heart-rate and cadence sensors. They both just work. The electrode jelly I use on the HR monitor hasn’t shown up in the unpacking yet, so I have been spitting on them. Whatever.
I still view my cadence, heart rate, and calorie/energy burnt data on my iPhone via the Wahoo app while the Peleton app is on an iPad 2. This does have me looking in two different places while I ride, but I can handle it.
It really helps to point a fan at me while I ride, especially here in Southern California where it isn’t perpetually 55F out.
Every day that I let myself ride the bike I feel like I did something undeniably right and good for myself. There is no question I am in far better shape, have an easier time managing my weight, and am generally happier when I am regularly riding the bike.
Over the several years I have used the Peleton app Peleton has not changed it appreciably. I tried it on my Android tablet once and went back to the old iPad 2. I have never once wished for the shared group statistics or competitive group stuff the Peleton bike also features. The best thing about spinning to me is that the instructor gives general exercise and I decide how hard I am pushing or not, I don’t need other people to goad me on.
I love riding to Peleton’s classes, I would not buy their bike.
SHIMANO SH-51 SPD Cleat Set via Amazon
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