My Peloton Bike Plus Tips and Tricks
While I love the Peloton bike, the instructors and the content, I have not always found it easy to navigate. It took me some time to get to know the features and figure out the best way to find and plan my workouts. In this article, I share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
Finding and planning the classes I want
One thing I found right away is that the Bike Plus is not the best place to search for and plan my workouts. It’s much easier to find and bookmark content on the web or from the phone app. Using the filter, you can find classes by length, instructor, class type, body activity, music, difficulty or subtitles (English, German and Spanish). It’s much easier to find these ahead of time instead of sitting on the bike, scrolling through lots of screens until you see what you want.
Using the Peloton App for iOS
I often use the Peloton App on my iPhone when I want to work out away from home. But even if I never used the Peloton App to work out, it is an important companion for me in my Peloton journey.
I used the phone app to set up the connection to Apple Health and my Apple Watch so I can keep track of all my workout data. To do this, you need to set up permissions for read and write access for the Peloton app and configure the Apple Watch. There are links to do this from the Account tab in the Peloton app.
I don’t do this a lot, but in the phone app it’s also much easier to share a workout. You can send it to friends or post it to your Instagram story. From the bike, it only allows you to share your results to Facebook, Strava or Fitbit.
This is just one example of how Peloton is not always consistent across all its platforms. As a technology person, I can understand that some features may not work the same based on the hardware itself, but I have high expectations when it comes to user experience and Peloton doesn’t always meet them.
Using Peloton with Apple Watch
Since I use an Apple Watch, my Bike+ allows me to display my heart rate data on the screen so I can see it while I’m exercising. I love this feature so I know if I’m pushing too hard (or not enough).
Peloton has improved this feature so that it works with most classes. If you’re using a compatible Apple Watch and mobile device, you can now see your heart rate displayed and have all your workout stats automatically synced with Apple Health and count towards your move and exercise goals.
Before, I was connecting my watch before every ride and manually starting a workout on my watch for other classes. Now, I just open the Peloton app on my watch, start a workout on my bike, and it automatically connects.
Bookmarking, Scheduling and Stacking
Once I find content I love, I always make sure to bookmark it so I can find it easily. I think I bookmarked all of Christine D’Ercole’s new wave rides. I’ve also bookmarked all my favorite stretching classes, core workouts and all the themed classes I like to come back to (the Hamilton class is the best!).
One thing I don’t use much is scheduling. If you see a class you like, you can add it to your schedule. So far I’ve only done this for live classes – and I’ve probably done less than a dozen of those. Perhaps if I figured out how to link it to my calendar I would find this more useful. If that feature is there I haven’t found it yet.
I primarily use stacking to plan my daily workouts. The stacking tool allows you to add up to 10 workouts at a time and move them around if necessary. I often use the Hardcore calendar to plan out all my strength workouts for a few days at a time and if I’m riding, I stack a warm-up and a cool down around whatever cycling workout I’m planning.
When I’m ready to workout, I start the stack then it’s easy to keep going from one workout to another. Stacking is a great feature but it wasn’t that intuitive to use at first but now I love it. I’d like to be able to add more than 10 workouts at a time. When you’re doing 10 and 15 minute classes you run out of slots pretty quickly.
I generally plan stacks of what I want to do that day or for the next few days. Then when I go upstairs I can just find my stack and get going. The only classes I tend to start right from the bike are programs or bookmarked classes I do a lot, like stretches.
When I’m traveling, I like to be able to keep up with my strength training when I can. I use my iPhone primarily for these workouts, so I have pre-loaded several classes I like so I can easily access them from my phone.
You still need an internet connection to start a preloaded class, so it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s much better than trying to stream a full-class over a cellular connection or in a place with bad Wi-Fi. I was in Vegas in January and our hotel had awful wi-fi, but I was able to do all my Peloton classes without a problem. And it was much nicer to do them in my room than to go to the crowded gym.
Synching up your music
Peloton consistently has really great music, with about every genre you could imagine, from classical to hip hop to Broadway show tunes. They have well over 1 million songs in their library and are always adding new themed classes and even some exclusive tracks. I have synced my Apple Music account with my Peloton so every time I hear a song I like, I tap on the heart button on my screen and it automatically adds it to an Apple Music Playlist (this also works with Spotify). Since I don’t listen to the radio this has been a great way for me to find and appreciate new music.
Fitting your Peloton
When I first got my bike, I followed the simple videos they have for setting up the seat height and position and handlebar length and it was ok, but after longer rides I was feeling some knee pain. Since I ride a road bike and have had several bike fits, I know that it’s important to get it right.
Thanks to the community on Reddit, I found this video with a simple bike fitting exercise you can do at home and Mark helped me make some adjustments. I raised my seat from about 13 to 16.5 and it made an immediate difference.
There are also at least two companies that will do a virtual bike fit – one that instructor Matt Wilpers started and another one that branched out from his group. I haven’t tried either one, but if you love your Peloton and can’t figure out why you’re hurting, this might be something you want to try.
Connecting to the Community
Peloton lets you add friends to your profile and encourages you to work out with them by giving you badges or showing you if they are online when you login. You can also connect to your Facebook profile and add your friends from there.
While I like this feature in general there are definitely some problems. There have been a lot of people who have gotten unwanted attention and Peloton doesn’t offer any way to block people. You can make your profile private if you want so that others can’t automatically add you.
My Bike Plus also has a camera. Evidently you can turn this on and work out with friends and see them on the screen. I haven’t tried to use this and I’m not sure I would. In my case my privacy shield is always over the camera.
Peloton also encourages you to connect with others through Tags. You can add up to ten tags to your profile and you can change your primary leaderboard tag every time you work out. There are lots of tags for everything ranging from favorite instructors to current events.
Other than just seeing each others’ workouts and giving high fives to people while you’re working out, Peloton doesn’t offer a lot of other features for connecting. So there are lots of Facebook groups, a very active Subreddit and plenty of instructors who have their own followings and regularly do Instagram live for their fans. Pelobuddy.com is an unofficial website that compiles a lot of these, plus rumors and a regular podcast.
In general, I’ve had a good experience with Peloton chat support when I’ve used it. I’ve already had a screen replaced as well as the cleats for my pedals. But in general, I’d say that googling something and finding the answer on the web is usually better than trying to search the Peloton help site. And like all technical devices, if something isn’t working for whatever reason, I turn the bike off and on and it usually resolves itself.
Peloton is much more than just an exercise bike, and like most consumer technology, it takes some investment of time to really make it work for you. There are so many different exercise disciplines, instructors, types of music and even a Lanebreak game. If you have a Peloton and haven’t found what works for you yet, keep exploring. If you are self-motivated to work out at home I bet there is something or someone out there that will eventually get you hooked.