I have to admit I finally broke down and did it. Now that I have, I can’t believe the mess. The fallout is beyond anything I could have imagined and for the first time in my life, I question the future. It’s entirely my fault too because had I not done something so stupid, I would not be writing this damn piece. You see, this is what can happen to any of us when we break down and watch what is simply known as The Peloton Commercial.
If I was not someone who enjoys working out as much as I do, I would have guessed something called The Peloton Commercial was the title of a new science fiction film that had the audacity to cast a white person in the role of a (fill in the blank with any other race) ________________. Worse, they cast a straight person in the role of (go ahead and fill in the space with any other gender identification) _________________________. Even worse, they gave the starring role to an actor who once called someone a (fill in the blank with any word that hurts your feelings) _______________.
It turns out, The Peloton Commercial is actually about a product, a spin bike, that costs more money than what most Americans have saved up in their emergency fund (over $2,000). It also turns out the commercial first appeared on the Psychology Today website, which just so happens to be one of the sites I check out every day and failed to see (fill your brain with any comment you want about my observation skills).
Let me just put something out there. Spin bikes are a rip off. In my gym, which is in my garage, I own a treadmill (got it for free when my neighbor was setting it out on her curb because she was clearing space in her garage), an elliptical (got it for free when a friend of my wife was clearing space in her garage), and an upright stationary bike (I bought it second hand from a store where people sell stuff they want to get rid of to clear space in their garage).
The one piece of exercise equipment I did not take with me when my ex and I split up was the spin bike we owned. It’s one of the best decisions I made while splitting up our assets. In fact, I was happy to let anyone have it because all spin bikes do is hurt your asset when you sit on them. The idea behind a spin bike is to replicate more of the feeling of riding your road bike when you are stuck indoors. They do not do anything of the sort, but now that personal trainers in big gyms have figured out they can be used to teach grueling workout classes, they have become popular.
My feeling is, if something works for you and helps motivate you to work out, then great. Spin bikes don’t do it for me. The seats are about as comfortable as sitting on the horn of a saddle while riding a horse that is trying to buck you off. I know, you are supposed to crank up the resistance level and get out of your seat and make like you are Lance Armstrong jacked up on PEDs while riding up a steep mountain road. I can do the same on my stationary bike. When you are not doing this, you are to make like you are Lance Armstrong jacked up on PEDs riding full speed on a flat country road.
Peloton Bikes have figured out that people are too busy or too afraid of traffic to actually go outside and ride the aforementioned roads (I also own a road bike, but admit it is too damn cold in the winter to enjoy using it). With a Peloton Bike, you not only get a spin bike with an uncomfortable seat, you also get an interactive screen that allows you to take spin classes with others all over the world and then compare your results with each other.
Of course, you have to pay extra for the service (I saw a price of $39.00 a month and have no idea what it includes). In other words, you buy the bike and still pay a gym membership fee that does not allow you to leave your home to enjoy going to the gym.
Peloton is not the only company that has these programs, but apparently they are getting slammed because they ran a commercial where a husband gives one of their bikes to his wife for a Christmas present. Worse, she loves the gift and uses the heck out of it (Happy wife, happy life). Instead, the guy in the commercial, who happens to be an elementary school teacher in real life, is getting slammed on social media because he gave his already cute and trim wife a piece of exercise equipment for a gift (He’s an actor playing a part). How horribly (fill in the blank with whatever word you want) _____________ of him.
He did a good thing, if spending two grand on a Christmas gift for your wife qualifies as good, getting his wife something she was excited to receive and actually put to use. That’s more than most husbands do and most exercise equipment ends up being used to hang clothes on.
Ah, but the message of a man telling his wife she is fat or not perfect enough is why our nation is so screwed up (He makes no mention of her weight, body, or level of fitness). Lighten up folks, it is not like he bought her a boob job or face lift and she ran away in shame. This guy figured out his wife leads too busy of a life to get to the gym as much as she would like so he found a way to bring the gym home to her.
Then again, maybe I am a Neanderthal because in the past, I have purchased my wife workout clothing, not because I think she needs to hit the gym, but because she was in need of new clothing to wear when she goes (I did not spend $2,000.00 on the clothing if that matters).
Here is another thing I do not understand. Why do folks feel like they always have to be connected to something interactive, especially when they are trying to get away from it all with a workout? They have to check their phones, smart watches, fitness tracker, or worse, yak incessantly with the person next to them. I don’t understand this. I also don’t spend my time trying to compare my results with others because frankly, I do not care about their results which is why I work out by myself (That and because I don’t want to come into contact with their sweat).
There’s a stain on my driveway I stare at endlessly when I run on my treadmill. I stare at it no matter how fast or how slow I am running because it is in a location that lines up dead center with my treadmill. I tune out the world and run.
The other morning, while on my stationary bike, I stared endlessly at a spot on my wife’s front bumper while doing intervals. A Lindsey Buckingham CD played while I was pedaling, but because of the effort of the intervals, I couldn’t enjoy the music.
My elliptical machine lines up perfectly with the outer left edge of my treadmill and as you probably have figured out, I stare at it and hope my music is not too loud for the neighbors (My wife tells me it is, but I think she just doesn’t like my taste in music).
The Peloton Commercial is not an attack on women. It is not an act of thoughtlessness by men. It is not anything other than an attempt to sell a product, which is what all commercials do. Yes, the couple is white. Yes, the couple seems to be well off financially. Yes, the man gave his wife a spin bike for a gift. Yes, she liked it. And yes, it ran on a site that has countless articles about body image, race, gender identification, and countless other issues. I only know this because I broke down and watched the commercial after days of headlines about it.
If this offends or angers you, get over it. Better yet, ignore the commercial and all the other advertising you choose to pay attention to.
It was my choice to break down and watch the commercial just as it was my choice to scroll past it and all the other commercials that run on the Psychology Today website. You see, I choose to be happy by not watching commercials. I don’t even watch Super Bowl commercials. Somehow, I have mastered the art of tuning out whenever a commercial comes on, just like I choose to tune out when I get on my stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine.
I just hope you don’t choose to tune out when you come across my articles because let’s face it, doing so would make you a (fill in the blank with any word you think I might come up with) _____________.
Top photo is a YouTube screenshot of the Peloton commercial
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.