Over the last few years, the volume of spin studios sprouting up across the country along with a string of enthusiasts flocking to class (or adding their name to a waitlist), have helped steer spinning’s popularity to its ascent atop the fitness sphere. And as it outpaces other activities, the demand seems unwavering, with many drawn to its high-octane vibe with energetic instructors who push you to go that extra mile. So, it’s fitting that Peloton’s — often dubbed the “Netflix for fitness” — arrival in Canada is primed to be the next big at-home trend since the Suzanne Somers ThighMaster.
For converted Peloton riders, the consensus is that it delivers everything a boutique-style studio class does, but within the comfort of your home (or saddle) and on your watch. But it’s not all about the bike (which costs $2,950, plus a $49 monthly membership fee for live and on-demand classes). The seven-year old start-up is banking on something bigger: Building a community. And it’s paying off with over 1 million members worldwide, who are a fiercely loyal and devoted pack.
And it was this die-hard devotion that led a group of riders five years ago to organize Homecoming, a three-day festival that brings together instructors and riders from across North America and the U.K. After developing deep-seated connections online and on the bike, they were yearning for a chance to meet in person. While many brands endeavor to build this level of community and customer loyalty, this grassroots initiative was launched (read: demanded) by members, and then the company ran with the idea. This year, over 3,000 members converged on New York City for Homecoming, which was jam-packed with live workouts run by their roster of celebrity instructors, as well seminars and panels, and yes, even a Beck concert – this long weekend is their Coachella.
Today, Homecoming epitomizes the very definition of Peloton: A group of riders, stronger together. Because although you ride on your own, you are never alone. Every time you jump on the bike, you’re sure to receive support and encouragement with shout-outs from an instructor (“Way to get it done”) or virtual high-fives from others in the class.
And Peloton’s prime position in the home fitness space seems to have come full circle. It was in the mid-1980s when ultra-marathon cyclist Johnny Goldberg, who was looking for a safe, indoor space to train during inclement weather (and to be close to his wife and new baby), as so he created spinning. Fast forward to today, and what was born out of necessity has translated to millions of others who spark joy from its convenient and accessible sweat sessions.
A recent study found that 75% of Canadians aged 25-64 say that making time to get to an exercise class is difficult and it’s more convenient to exercise on their own schedule. And this sentiment is exactly why John Foley, Peloton’s co-founder and CEO, initially started the brand in the 2012, after fighting traffic to get to a studio or dreading the waitlist. A former e-commerce executive at Barnes & Noble, it now seems that what Foley is building with Peloton goes beyond fitness (although that’s what’s at its core) as it enters a new sphere in the media-tech world. Robin Arzon, Fitness Programming and Head Instructor at Peloton, sums it up, saying, “the brand is a mix of technology, entertainment and fitness.”
Although the company was built on bikes, this is only the starting line for them, with many hush-hush launches in the works. By the end of 2019, their treadmill is expected to arrive in Canada, along with additional services, such as yoga, strength training and meditation. As the clear frontrunner in the streaming fitness world, it appears they will be permanently entrenched in our lives, or more specifically, in our living room.