Why Peloton is my secret weapon to staying healthy while on the road

Mar 1, 2020

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In November of 2018, my local YMCA got two Peloton stationary bikes — and although I didn’t know it at the time, the brand would soon play a pretty significant role in my life.

But more on that in a minute.

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If you aren’t familiar with Peloton, it’s an indoor, stationary cycling company that produces at-home workouts. The bike has a screen attached to the front where you can stream classes from energetic, entertaining and motivating instructors. You can either live stream the classes from Peloton’s New York City or London studios, or take them on demand at your leisure.

Peloton has skyrocketed in popularity, especially in the last few years.

Image courtesy OnePeloton.
Image courtesy OnePeloton.

As a naturally competitive person, I was attracted to Peloton because you compete against users around the world in every class. After each workout, a leaderboard shows your physical output, as well as where you rank against others. It also tracks your previous best score so you can compete against yourself (I told you — it’s competitive).

While I previously lacked an avenue for regular competition, Peloton quickly filled that gap in my life and put me in considerably better shape than I would be without it.

Photo courtesy of Richard Kerr/The Points Guy.

There’s no sugarcoating that Peloton doesn’t come cheap. The bike alone starts at $2,245 on top of a $39 monthly subscription for access to classes. While I personally think it’s worth every penny, you have to decide if it’s a reasonable investment for you. Plus, depending on where you live, there are strategies you can use to test out the Peloton experience for a fraction of the price.

My local YMCA, for example, has two Peloton bikes, and access to classes is included with my $60 monthly membership. While there are times when both are occupied, I patiently wait and look forward to my workout.

Many hotels have begun enticing travelers with the promise of Peloton bikes, too. They’re free to use for guests, and you don’t need to be a subscribing member, although you do need to create a free profile before you can ride.

As a frequent traveler and full-time TPG staffer, you can imagine I’m frequently on the road. I know I’m not alone in trying to stay healthy while traveling.

Related: 27 ways to be a healthier traveler in 2020.

Peloton has become my secret weapon to staying healthy while traveling the world, and it can be yours, too. Here’s how:

How to find hotels with a Peloton

First thing’s first: You’ll want to find hotels that offer a Peloton bike. There are two websites I use to find them.

The first is Peloton’s official website, which allows you to filter by destination, as well as type of bike pedal. This is important, as not all of them have cages where you can just wear sneakers and tighten the straps.

I also use a blog called Fittest Travel, founded by author and TPG contributor Chris Castellano. It’s updated almost daily with hotels broken down by state, which allows me to quickly scan for a Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt property in my destination that has a bike.

Not all hotel Peloton bikes are created equal, though, as they can range from brand new to old and abused. Stripped adjustment handles, for example, can make it difficult to set the bike seat and handlebars to your correct height, which is really important so you don’t injure yourself.

More recently, I’ve noticed many screens won’t adjust or stay in a good position where you can comfortably see the class. Hotel staff members likely aren’t performing regular maintenance checks on the bikes. So, if you see a problem, be sure to let the hotel know so they can make a service call.

Bikes also need regular calibration, which allows you to compete in each class with an accurate score. Peloton will send the hotel a calibration kit and it’s a quick process to calibrate the bike. If that doesn’t work, they can make a service call and a technician will swing by to fix it.

All in all, I’ve had a problem with about one in every five hotel Peloton bikes I try — so please, do all of us a favor and tell the hotel if you encounter a problem.

The best hotel Peloton experiences

I’ve run (er, pedaled) across a few Peloton experiences that have been spectacular.

Most notably is the Westin Los Angeles Airport (LAX), since it features rooms with ensuite Peloton bikes. Recently, I had a quick one-night stay at the hotel and requested a room with a bike in it the day before check-in. The agent confirmed my request, and so I didn’t have an excuse not to work out when all I had to do was roll out of bed.

In fact, over 50 Westin hotels across the U.S. have Pelotons in them as part of the brand’s focus on health and wellness. If this is important to you, you’ll definitely want to keep these properties on your radar.

My Westin LAX room with a Peloton.
Photo courtesy of Richard Kerr/The Points Guy.

Peddling for points

As I regularly travel to TPG’s headquarters in New York City, I’ve been on the lookout for a new go-to hotel. My top pick is currently Hotel 50 Bowery, a Joie de Vivre World of Hyatt property in Chinatown. As you might have guessed, it’s because of the resident Peloton bike.

Here, the general manager challenges guests to a Peloton ride in the hotel’s fitness center. He’ll post his score on the mirror, and if you can beat it for the same class, you’ll be entered to win a free night at the hotel. You’ll just have to tag your score and use their special hashtag on Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Richard Kerr/The Points Guy.

My worlds really collided, though, at the Hilton Chicago. Here, they award guests Hilton Honors points based on their Peloton ride distance. In fact, the hotel is currently running a promotion where you can earn 100 Hilton Honors points for every 50 miles you ride in the 100 days following Feb. 21.

In a 30-minute ride at a fairly high level of performance, I rode about 11 miles. This means it would take me about 2.5 hours of riding to earn 100 Hilton points. While I can certainly think of faster, less exhausting ways to earn Hilton Honors points, I applaud the property innovating how it interacts with guests and encourages wellness.

Bottom Line

I can’t recommend Peloton highly enough.

If you don’t want to take the plunge and buy your own bike from the get-go, you can try one out at a hotel or a fitness center that offers Pelotons. If you’re in New York City, you can even head to the in-person studio and take one of the live classes.

These are the classes filmed with your favorite instructors — and you can even grab a photo afterward (it may or may not have been one of the few moments in my life where I “fangirled”).

Peloton has made it possible for me to enjoy frequent, friendly competitions — and allowed me to maintain my fitness routine on the road. If you’re a regular road warrior like me, you’ll want to scope out hotels with a bike on your next trip.

Now, let’s just hope the number of properties with the bike continues to grow.

My favorite Peloton instructor Jess King.
Photo courtesy of Richard Kerr/The Points Guy.

Featured image courtesy OnePeloton.

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