As the U.S falls deeper and deeper into a state of panic over COVID-19, one company sits safely atop its perch, like Nero on a warm summer day. Peloton, the at-home spin class brand responsible for that one unfortunate commercial, is poised to benefit from this global pandemic without having to rise an inch out of the saddle. Peloton, of course, is fully aware of how dominant it’s going to be for the next few weeks. While other fitness brands struggled awkwardly to rebuild their business models, Peloton said goodbye to their original flagship location and hello to their swanky new home in lower Manhattan with a live farewell ride on Sunday night that attracted over 12,000 participants cycling in real-time with star instructor Robin Arzon. The new location was planned to open to the public on March 19th but has been pushed back until further notice.
According to a statement from Peloton CEO, John Foley, the company has stopped hosting classes at their New York and London studios but have continued to film rides for at-home bike owners and app subscribers. Although new classes tapings will slow with the move, generally the show must and will go on for the Peloton faithful. But for those who shunned shelling out more than $2,200 for a bike in favor of other luxury fitness, things are getting a lot more complicated. In the midst of announcements for school and restaurant closures, fitness studios were frantically sending out emails with revised or completely canceled schedules.
On March 13, SoulCycle announced studios would stay open but would only take reservations on odd-numbered bikes, complying with social distancing rules best as possible. Three days later studios in LA, Seattle, Massachusettes, and Hoboken closed to all students. SoulCycle’s parent gym Equinox stubbornly chose to stay open and is now suffering for that choice: some members received an email that a gym-goer had tested positive for COVID-19. If Peloton’s app (which is $14/month for non-bike owners) could talk, it would be laughing hysterically.
Barry’s Bootcamp, the self-appointed greatest workout in the world, originally sent emails about preventative measures being taken in the studios only to eventually close down. Members have no at home service to turn to in order to replicate the red room hell of a Barry’s class. Another HIIT hellscape, The Fhitting Room, has also canceled in-studio classes and is offering a free month of their on-demand subscription, which is nice for the maybe twenty people who live in apartments where jumping is an option. Notably missing from the group of canceled studios is Orange Theory Fitness. Their Barry’s-esque classes have continued business as usual but with fewer high fives.
In some posts on Instagram, Peloton has already started targeting potential new customers who don’t care about cycling but are desperate for some semblance of exercise while trapped at home. One such post read, “When you’re dealing with a lot, a recovery regimen is necessary for helping your body heal.” Even Peloton’s super glamorous trainers are using #NoExcuses to remind everyone that there is nowhere else to go and thus no reason to not be constantly exercising. It’s as if they knew all along, the masses would pivot to working out strictly at home.