- The Tread+ is back!
- Peloton teams up with the University of Michigan for its first branded Bike.
- Peloton On Tour – Atlanta recap.
- MAX streaming platform gets a beta test.
- Bike+ goes “commercial.”
- Starting this September, Peloton is scheduled to add Bike+ into commercial locations in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, and Australia.
- Peloton Row updates pace targets.
- Peloton Software update leads to glitch
- We recap the 4th Quarter earnings call.
- Peloton announces Peloton For Business.
- Kendall Toole announces London Meet & Greet.
- Jeffrey McEachern will be teaching classes at PSNY this September.
- Jeffrey and Susie Chan ran a half marathon in the Isle of Wright.
- Tobias Heinze took 2nd place in the Transrockies Run.
- Chelsea Jackson Roberts taught yoga at Spelman College (her alma mater).
- Salena Samuela is training for a marathon.
- Ben Alldis is giving a way a chance to meet him.
- Max Martin gets a producer series.
- All-For-One lineup announced.
- Peloton launches Rep Goal Challenge.
- Peloton announces a 2-day celebration with Fiesta Latina 2023.
- Are we about to get UK Live DJ rides?
- TCO Top 5.
- Birthdays: Charlotte Weidendbach (8/20), Mariana Fernandez (8/26), Kristin McGee (8/31)
All this plus our interview with Lorri Lown!
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Peloton Announces The Return Of Tread+ And Our Interview With Lorri Lown
Do I sound teary?
I will be good. I’ve been okay for a while. It was a rough day at the O’Keefe household. We put Brian on a plane to Connecticut, which was both sad and frightening because that kid gets lost in his own thoughts. We send him off to O’Hare, first time traveling by himself. He has flown lots of places with us because we like to go places, but he’s never been the one in charge. That’s been scary but he made it. None of his stuff has made it. All five boxes went poof.
One box the post office lost. The other four, the college lost. We are off to a great start.
He’ll start the day tomorrow with no deodorant and completely naked. It’s one way to make friends at the new school.
He’s not that bad off. He does have his carry-on. We did insist that some of his clothes be packed. Thank God.
Just in case something like this were to arise.
He has a few days’ worth of clothes.
We’re hoping that somewhere finally someone was like, “I remember the boxes. I put them somewhere where they’d be safe, and I don’t remember where that place is.” I was like, “They’re all like Brian.”
That was an adult though.
I know but it’s an adult that’s from that world of theater. I’m like, “They’re all like that.”
I’m glad he made it to Connecticut. He flew in to White Plains so that was technically New York, and then went over the little border. Thank God.
It was nerve-wracking but he did it, so we’re very excited. What pray tell do you have in store for people?
We have a jam-packed episode.
It’s a bumper crop of news.
A lot of stuff has dropped. We’re going to hit all of the information about the Tread+. We’re going to talk about Peloton teaming up with the University of Michigan. We’re going to do a whole recap on the Peloton on Tour. We also have a very special interview with not one but two Peloton executives. We get deep into Peloton for Business, what it’s all about, what it’s not, and it’s freaking exciting. We’ve got all these new features dropping. We’ve got new content to cover.
What are we not going to have this week? I have already said this, but it’s going to be a while till Dr. Jenn is back. We’re going to leave her be and send all of our love to her. We also decided to not have Angelo on this episode because we’ve got so much to cover. We also have an interview with Lori Lown. Lori is one of the only female fitters for Team Wilpers. She covers a lot of information in depth. We get deep on a lot of stuff. That’s a long interview as well. There’s a lot.
Before we get to all that, shameless plugs. Don’t forget, we’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, TuneIn, iHeart, and all that stuff. While you’re there, be sure to follow us so you never miss an episode. Maybe leave us a review. That’s super helpful. You can also find us on Facebook, Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page, join the group. Don’t forget, you can watch these episodes on YouTube at YouTube.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, you’re supposed to not click the Subscribe button there. Apparently, you’re supposed to smash it. That’s what the kids say. By kids I mean people in their 30s but they have spiky hair so they look like kids.
They usually glow in the dark things behind them too, like lots of neon, and we have neon.
They make the wacky faces.
I can’t do the wacky faces.
We also have Patreon, Patreon.com/TheClipOut, where you can get these episodes add-free. If we get them early, you get them early. You get bonus episodes like The Clip Out. It’s all the stuff that we didn’t have time to get to. In this episode, we have a little bonus episode where we talk about that stuff and it lives over there. Finally, we throw links and stuff at you through the course of an episode. You can sign up for our newsletter at the newly redesigned TheClipOut.com. It will come to your inbox on Sunday mornings and you will have all the links. It’s also a good reminder that we put an episode out. There’s all that. Let’s dig in. Shall we?
To paraphrase George Costanza, “Tread+ is back, baby.”
It is going to be back on sale in time for the holiday season. It is going to be a whopping $6,000 and it is gorgeous. Look at that thing. Look at it.
I know you love your Tread+ because you never gave it back, which now is a savings of $1,800.
Those people that got their $4,000 back and they were all like, “Ha-ha,” who’s laughing now?
I shouldn’t remind you that it is a $1,800 savings because you will immediately want to spend that $1,800.
They might come out with custom colors. You never know.
Branded Tread+. I’m curious. If you were buying it today and the price differential between a tread and a Tread+ was that great, would you still opt for the Tread+?
I would have to try out both in the store to be fair.
We don’t have a store.
That’s true, but I will say this. When I tried the regular tread at the studio, it was fine but I am not getting any younger. I believe that this Peloton Tread+ is equal to a premium treadmill like a Woodway. Those are $10,000 treadmills. A $6,000 for the same type of treadmill but only prettier and with the content I actually want is a savings to me. That’s worth it to me.
I get that. I see a lot of vitriol online because of the cost of the thing. People are mad like, “How dare they put out a cheaper option, then there’s an expensive option. I’m mad about that.” Instead of, “I’m glad there are options.”
People are also rewriting history. They’re like, “I bought it in 2021 before it got recalled.” That’s fine, but here’s the thing. The price had not changed since 2018 when this thing was announced. You are comparing a five-year-old product. It might have only been two for you but in reality, they announced that price when they first announced the tread, and that original price was from 2018. It has not gone up. There was never an opportunity for the Tread+ to come back and be that price. Maybe if it had come back in three months, but no. Two years later after you all decided to send back the one and kill the company, do you think you’re going to get it for cheaper? No, that was never going to be a thing.
I also find that people misremember how much they pay for things. I saw a guy insisting that he bought it for $3,200.
Maybe he bought a regular tread.
I’m like, “No, you didn’t.” People were like, “I did.” I’m like, “You’re full of sh*t. You just roll. Show us a credit card statement. I need receipts.” It’s great that it will finally be back. It’s going to go on sale around the holidays. You won’t have one in time for Christmas, but you will be able to order one in time.
There are things though that we need to point out. Number one, if you were one of the rare people like myself that kept your Tread+, and they are out there. I see them all the time and they are vocal like me. If you haven’t filled out the form yet to get your rear guard replaced, do that. Do yourself a favor because they’re going to come out and put it on for free.
You want them to come out and interact with your Tread+ because they haven’t unless you bought it in 2021. If you’re one of the people that bought it in 2018 like myself, you’re extended warranty is done. You need somebody to come out and make sure everything is cool with your Tread+. Don’t forget to do that.
Number two. This was not in the email that came out but in the shareholder letter. They said in this shareholder letter that these Tread+ are coming from stock that already exists. There are 10,000 Tread+. When they’re gone, they’re going to need time to stand up an entire manufacturing line and start over. I think that what they have done is as these have been coming back, they’re refurbishing them and retrofitting them with the rear guard. That’s where the stock is coming from.
I’m playing a devil’s advocate. If that is true, wouldn’t they have to identify it as a refurbished product? They couldn’t take it and sell it as new.
That’s fair. If it’s unsold inventory, they still had to retrofit it.
If it’s unsold inventory, they can still call it new. If someone said, “I don’t want the Tread+. Come take it back,” they shouldn’t be able to call that new. I don’t think they’re getting refurbished stocks.
That is a good point. I was just seeing it like they never got it or they didn’t use it or whatever.
Although we had heard a rumor that they had thrown away a bunch of them.
I heard it more than once. People have seen this. I’ve seen photographs of these in a dumpster. Maybe they couldn’t resell the refurbished ones and therefore, those had to be trashed. The ones that had never been sold, that’s a different story.
We don’t know the details of the recall agreement that was negotiated. Maybe part of it was if it’s recalled. You got to trash at it. Who knows?
I will also say that just because that stock has existed, people are like, “It’s been sitting there for five years and it’s a piece of crap.” We don’t know that. There are a lot of things we don’t know. Maybe they just didn’t finish putting them together until recently. You don’t know the situation.
They had ones that they left unassembled. Now that it’s closer, they will finally start putting them together. I get why someone would have a side-eye like, “How long has it been sitting there untouched? That’s not good for a piece of mechanical equipment.”
It is a fair question. There are assumptions made.
Maybe Peloton hadn’t thought about the fact that these have been sitting there for a little bit. Anyway, if you’re looking for something big and exciting to get a loved one in the holidays, here you go.
I’m glad I got mine. Mine is a discount. I can’t wait to spend that other $1,800.
Enough of that.
It’s probably enough to get a special edition of Peloton’s pretty colors.
Where would we put it?
I don’t know.
It was teased and then revealed that there is some branding coming up with the University of Michigan, and then other colleges will follow.
They talked about this on their earnings call like, “We’re leaning into this. You’re going to see more of this.” Barry even touched on the fact that there are a lot of people that want to do this. He used the words that there are a lot of people who regard Peloton highly and see Peloton as a valued partnership. It is super exciting that we are going to start seeing these custom colors. I think that it is so smart to release this on earnings call day. It’s very smart to have this whole partnership with the University of Michigan and go down this road with other colleges when they’re bringing in all these young kids.
This article that we’re looking at right now was written by Helper Bee Nikki. Nikki is the person that we go to for all the sports ball information because we know nothing. Nikki did share some things with me. She gave me some lingo. She said that Peloton has entered the NIL game. I said, “What does that mean?” I thought it was nil like zero. It’s like they’ve entered the zero game.
She says that it’s Names In League or something like that. I still don’t have it, but the point is there was a law passed last year or a court ruled on it or something like that. Players can now get deals with companies like Peloton. They could ink a deal. They could wear Peloton-branded gear. Peloton could have special situations with them where they come into the studio or commercials, and athletes could now be able to have compensation for that.
They can’t be paid to play, but they can make money off sponsorship.
That was my understanding. This article that you’re looking at here spells out a lot of this stuff.
It’s a way to get the stars of tomorrow wearing Peloton logos.
There are also going to be graphics, custom colors, and things. They’re going to start this fall. It could be very soon like a couple of weeks. That is exciting.
It will be interesting to see if this will get a sizeable number of people who may have had a bike for a while. Sometimes, people with disposable income want to buy something new. If you went to the University of Michigan and you’re a big supporter, and you’ve had your Bike+ for four years now, you’re like, “I will get rid of that and get the new one that’s got my alma mater branded on it.”
There’s no doubt in my mind that will happen. I’m not saying every single person. Don’t get me wrong. You nailed it. If they have disposable income and they feel strongly about whoever Peloton is pushing or the color scheme, they’re going to be all over it.
A lot of people with high gems brand them that way. If you’re if you’re a Mets fan, you’ve got Mets stuff all over your workout room. If they start inking deals with MLB, I could certainly see them doing Green Bay Packers, or what have you.
They are also going to be having the bikes for the University of Michigan. They’re going to have these bikes out on the sidelines at the games. They’re also going to be giving all of these students access. They’re going to give them the Peloton+ app.
Is that on the team?
I don’t know. It says in the article. I think it’s any kid who goes to that school. That was my impression. I do not know that for sure. There’s also going to be discounts on the hardware itself.
I feel like they’re leaning into what I call the Gillette model of advertising.
That is exactly what they’re doing.
I’ve told this story before. When I went to college, Gillette dropped off a bunch of razors at the fraternity house with our letters on them, but then you had to buy the refills. I’ll be 53 next month and I still use Gillette razors to this day.
Barry said on the call that one of their strategic initiatives was to get in front of Generation Z or get in front of these kids if you will. That is working. That is happening. You will continue to see Peloton show up in places they have never shown up before. This is a great example of that.
The only problem with a strategy like this is that it’s a long game. It’s going to take a while to reap rewards because initially, these kids won’t have that much money. By doing this, a college graduate is more likely to enter the workforce making more money. They make more money over their life. That’s a statistical fact. People are yelling at their phones right now about how college is a scam. You’re wrong. That’s numbers. It’s not for everyone, but in the aggregate, you will make more money over your life if you have a college degree than if you don’t. You know that you’re bringing in people who, statistically speaking, are more likely to have money for something like this as they age.
Don’t forget that Peloton’s whole big strategy is less about hardware and a lot more about subscription. You’re going to get people to subscribe when you’re giving them discounts and you’re giving them the ability. That’s smart because when you’re out of school, you’re going to be a lot more likely to use Gillette.
If you reach a point where you’re like, “Now I have the money to purchase a bike,” and you’ve been using Peloton for ten years as an app, you going to buy the bike or the tread even if it’s a little bit more expensive. You’re already in that ecosystem that’s going to work with what you’ve been using. Long term, it’s a smart play. In the short term, it might take a little while before they see benefits. Also, if they want to young up the image, this is another way to do that.
Peloton on Tour hit Atlanta.
First of all, thank you to our eyes and ears at the Atlanta event. We had Chris, Tyler, and Jen Kern. We had three people who are writers, TCO tipsters, or wonderful listeners as part of this group. We had so many details and pictures. So much fun came from this. Our people were at the leaderboard event. They were at Club Hosky. They were at the first event where all the instructors were, and the outdoor events field day. They did all of the things.
Everyone had a great time. Peloton switched things up this time. They had they didn’t have instructors recording classes like they did last time. This seemed to be more about outdoor classes. That was a big switch-up. Another thing that they did was they had that field day. That was different. We think that was because the field day that the instructors had was so much fun that they wanted to bring it out and do it with other people.
Club Hosky was a non-ticketed event and anybody could show up. Apparently, the lines were out the door because so many people showed up. People couldn’t get in the door because they had reached capacity. The other instructors went out to the line and they were talking to everybody in the line. They interacted with them because they appreciated people showed up. There were also amazing swags like there were at the LA event. There will be at all of the events, plus all of the boutique items were 40% off.
You could get leaderboard names and things like that. A lot of people had fun taking pictures with all the instructor heads and stuff. They had a lot of fun. On the field day itself, everybody had a great time. It was super competitive because of course, it was. It did come down to a tie between Chelsea Jackson Roberts and Marcel Dinkins. They ended up doing an intense round of rock, paper, scissors. Chelsea ultimately won. Jen Kern got some great pictures with her team and Alex out on the field. At Club Hosky, there were some great pictures that came in. This one was the non-ticketed event.
This is fun. The Activate Your Greatness Event was cool too. Marcel Dinkins hosted. Alex Toussaint has a Q&A and an hour-long conversation about activating your greatness. That’s his book, and then he talked about his Do Better Foundation which is his nonprofit that aims to increase access to wellness resources among underserved communities. He’s been working on that and it was nice for him to be able to talk about that. He hasn’t talked about that publicly.
We talked about the outdoor group fitness classes. They were all about 30 minutes each. A lot of different instructors did those. The leaderboard events were all private. You had to be invited. All of the instructors were there except for Marcel. We don’t know where she was. All the instructors also got around Atlanta. Matt and Jon went to some sports ball games and met some of the players and staff at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I thought this was particularly cool. Kirsten and Chelsea went to Spelman University. Chelsea went to Spelman. That’s where she attended college, I mean. While they were there, Chelsea taught a yoga class there and it was very heavily attended. It’s neat to come full circle on that.
During the field day event, Reasons2Whine, aka Jen Kern, played some fun games with Matt. We had some great exclusive videos where she asked Matt which instructor he would like to be with stranded on a deserted island. She also played two truths and a lie with him. I’m not going to ruin those. Those are over on YouTube. You can also see them in the middle of our article. They’re embedded in there. You will be able to see those as well.
Everyone had a great time. The next event is coming up in October in Skokie, aka Chicago. There’s going to be a lot going on that weekend because that’s the weekend of the Chicago Marathon. I have no doubt Peloton is going to tie in with that. We know that several of the instructors are going to be running the Chicago marathon. We also know that several of those instructors are working with the Reeve Foundation. We can expect to see tie-ins with all of those things.
We will find out all the details about 30 days in advance. You can look for that on Labor Day weekend-ish to find out what all those events are. They’re supposed to go on sale 31 days in advance. I also think that they skipped September 1 because of Labor Day. You have to wonder, maybe there’s an instructor-only event where they’re going to get together. They do those events. That could be while all the studios are closed and they’re not at these events. I’m doing the math and I’m like, “Everybody is free. Let’s have them all get-together and do a little instructor summit.” That’s my prediction.
People who are enjoying watching the various streaming platforms on their equipment should be very excited because now MAX formerly HBO MAX is in a beta test.
Some people’s beta testing started today. If you haven’t seen that yet, don’t worry. It’s still in beta. You’re going to get it eventually. I also wanted to point out that during the earnings call, Barry mentioned that the Bike+ is going to be commercial. He mentioned that the Row is going to be commercial as well. We don’t know when that’s going to be launching but he made it sound like it was imminent. It was going to be happening soon.
That means you might start seeing Row and Bike+ at gyms and hotels.
Yes. It’s very exciting.
Peloton Row has updated its pace targets.
They only had six zones before, or six levels if you will, and now they have ten. They’ve narrowed the ranges. I don’t want to say it’s easier but it looks more seamless as you transition from zone to zone. Instead of making these big jumps from easy to medium to challenging, this is going to be a little more nuanced. You have some more ability to play around with those levels. I think that’s smart. I am glad that they are doing that. Also, they said that levels have been migrated to the closest level in the new set, so nothing is needed on your part. You just show up and it’s already done for you.
We had a software update glitch.
This is interesting because it is impacting the Bike+ and Row. What happened is Peloton put out a software update and some people are not able to have that update load. I’m a little worried about this. I’m not going to lie. A month after I joined Peloton, they immediately upgraded the tablet. Over the next year and a half or maybe two years, they kept pushing out all these updates. There were a lot of feature updates. I remember clearly that nobody believed me that these issues were occurring until we got the Tread+. When we got the Tread+, I showed them on a film that I could update everything with my Tread+ just fine, but my bike tablet would no longer update.
They kept blaming it on our Wi-Fi.
I am worried for people that some of these incidents are tied to older equipment. It says it’s impacting the Bike+, the Tread, and the Row. Most of which are new. I hope it’s not the same, but it worries me.
All of the rows are new.
The Treads haven’t been out that long. The Bike+ haven’t been out that long.
The row has certainly. There aren’t any that should have dust on them yet.
The good news is if you’re having trouble with this, all you have to do is factory reset your equipment, and then it should reinstall at that point. They are taking people’s requests for help one by one. If you’ve tried all the things, then reach out to Peloton and they will help you. We checked and as of today, this was still ongoing for several days. A lot of grapes about this one.
Peloton had their fourth-quarter earnings call.
First of all, I’m not going to get into the numbers. My head hurts too much. They were like, “A lot of shit happened this year that we expect, but we didn’t expect people to respond the way they did.” For example, the seat-post. They knew that people needed to get new seat-posts. They did not expect that everybody was going to get a new seat-post because that was not the intention. That was never what they expected.
Not everyone needed it.
Not only it had an impact financially but it also had an impact on the fact that several subscribers put a pause on their subscription. They always have subscribers putting pauses on subscriptions especially this time of year. Instead of it being 50,000, it was closer to 80,000. The good news is that they are putting these out. They expect to have it sent to everybody by the end of September if you meet the deadline for that date.
You’ve got to ask yourself the question. I hesitate to even put this out there to make a situation worse, but this pausing your subscription get your seat-post prioritized so you will unpause it.
It does not sound like it because they fully expect that people are coming back as soon as they get it. They even said on the call that even though they put out a thing saying, “Stop using your bike,” most people kept using their bikes. They didn’t feel that was the issue, but the expenses are going to be heavier than what they originally expected because there were 750,000 requests for replacement seat-post. That’s a lot.
We went back to the beginning also. If you go all the way back to Barry’s original thing, he was like, “We’re going to focus on getting positive free cashflow. We’re going to get rid of all of these lawsuits. We’re going to get a whole bunch of subscribers. Basically, we’re going to focus on getting back to break-even.” They did hit positive free cash flow in the most recent quarter, but Barry does not think we’re going to stay there. That’s because we’re getting ready to go into a lot of other things that are coming up.
They talked about something like they changed the way that they break down software and expenses related to R&D. They changed the way they did that. It had a $10 million impact this quarter, but it won’t in all the other quarters. On the good news, they also said that the cost of goods sold has decreased quite a bit because the freight costs have gotten so much better, and their storage costs have come down dramatically because they don’t have as much in storage. That is good.
All the Tread+ are out of storage.
That is so true. I do want to say one note. I felt like it got glossed over, no follow-ups whatsoever. It’s that Barry made it pretty clear that the expectation is there will be additional stores closing. He didn’t talk about how many or what that looks like. He said that will be ongoing to continue to work on lowering that footprint. That is going to continue. That was sad to know that. There have been a lot of things that have happened. They have that whole new app strategy. I thought it was interesting that 900,000 people have downloaded the app since they’ve been pushing that, and 600,000 had never used Peloton before.
That’s a big change.
We also already talked about Peloton for Business. We know that’s going to be a thing. However, the 600,000 people and 900,000 app downloads are shifting towards Generation Z. There’s also a lot more diversity in this demographic that they’re seeing. New users are more likely to be male. They are seeing this shift downwards towards Gen Z. They’re seeing more Black and Hispanic consumers. That is good.
We also saw that they are going to be doing those limited-edition bike colors. He confirmed that. No dates were made available, but that’s going to be a thing. He talked about how all these partnerships are key. He also talked about how in the shareholders’ letter, there are veiled references to several initiatives coming. If they land them, keep in mind that the current earnings have none of the upside built into them because they haven’t landed them yet.
Things could be even better than they expected. That’s all very exciting, and the Tread+ being back is super exciting as well. Wall Street freaked out like they always do. The world is ending and the sky is falling. All the crabby pants came out like they always do. It’s like, “Oh my God, hold on. It’s so bad.” When I hear this stuff, I don’t hear it from as many women. I hear all these men puffing up their chests. They’re like, “I know so much. You don’t know anything.”
You guys are also wrong about a lot of things so I’m not sure that’s true. Who knows? All I know is in my mind, there are so many positives here. It’s not even funny. They keep cleaning up all their lawsuits. They keep getting better and better with music. They keep doing all of these positive things to bring in more people. I don’t see the downside. I’d like the shares to be better. It hit a new low today, $5 a share. I haven’t looked to see what it is lately. I’ve been a little busy. I think it’s going to rebound. I don’t think it will stay down at that level. People are going to realize they overreacted like they always do. You will see it start going back up.
Especially when it gets that low, people are like, “How do you say no to that price?” Coming up after this, we’re going to talk about Peloton for Business. This will be fun. We have an exclusive interview with Greg Hybl, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Peloton for Business. He had been working there for about 45 minutes when we got to interview him. We will also be talking to Joanna Lee, VP of Global Marketing for Peloton and Emerging Businesses. Stick around. You’re going to want to hear that.
Peloton announced Peloton for Business, which signals them getting more aggressive in the commercial space.
I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant or how it differed from Precor. I was excited that we got the opportunity to talk to Greg and Joanna about all the things that they’re doing. There are a whole lot of things that Peloton is offering and it’s almost like this a la carte thing that they can do now. It has a lot of potential to continue to grow Peloton in a whole bunch of places. Plus I got some ideas for how they can leverage this for businesses.
If you’re not a business owner, this still could help or benefit you because they talk a lot about how your employers could include this in their benefits package.
This could mean you don’t have to pay for your Peloton membership anymore.
Or you pay less. You definitely want to stick around. We are going to kick into that interview right now.
Joining us for this episode is Greg Hybl, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Peloton for Business, and Joanna Lee, VP of Global Marketing for Peloton Emerging Businesses. Those are long titles. We’re very excited to have them on the show.
Thank you both so much for being here. I appreciate it. I am so excited. Greg, you are brand new to Peloton. This is a new role. Before we get started, can both of you tell us a little bit about how you got into these roles? How does the structure between you two work? A little bit of background would be awesome.
I feel like I should defer to Joanna on that because she knows a few things about it. I’m lucky to be starting a few days before we launched this incredible extension of our business, which is a member of Peloton. I’m super excited about it and super excited to be a part of it. If you want the inside scoop, I think Joanna is that’s one to give you that.
Greg is like, “I don’t even know where the break room is.”
We’re thrilled to have Greg on board. It’s a role we’ve needed for a while. We will tell you more about it as we go. I’ve been with Peloton for almost three years. I joined on the consumer brands side in the thick of the pandemic, when things were wild and crazy at Peloton, and people couldn’t get their bikes fast enough. I took on this role on the B2B side or “the emerging business” side.
As we’ve emerged from the pandemic, our members want access to their Peloton outside the home. Primarily, what we do on the B2B side of our business is bring Peloton to commercial channels like hotels, big apartment buildings, campus gyms, and YMCAs, and then another part of the announcement, which will get into, is Peloton as a benefit that employers can give to their employees.
Those are all super exciting. For anybody who doesn’t know what B2B means, I know it’s probably obvious from what you said, but just a little tiny synopsis.
There’s a lot of jargon in the B2B world. You get B2B and B2C, but B2B stands for business-to-business. For most of Peloton’s lifetime of ten-plus years, we’ve sold directly to the consumer. In recent years, what we’re talking about and launching is selling to the business customer
That is so exciting and you’re absolutely right. People have been clamoring for years that if I want to travel, I want to be able to get to my Peloton. If I work for a certain company or if I go to a gym, I want to be able to have access to my Peloton. What is different about what is launched, which is called Peloton for Business officially? What is different about that than the Peloton commercial or what you guys do through Precor? How does that work?
The big difference is what we’re announcing is a formal launch of our brand for business. We’re calling it Peloton for Business. We’ve been incubating in the last few years in commercial what we call Corporate Wellness, but we’re leaning on companies to navigate our org chart to find the solutions they need. Instead of Peloton for Business as a fancy new website, it’s one phone call and we can help you as a company, whether you want bikes in your gym or you want benefits for your employees. We’re presenting ourselves as Peloton for Business.
The other shift is we’ve primarily been active in hospitality. We have a lot of bikes and hotels. I think you guys talked about the Hilton partnership that we did a few months ago. We’re more actively working with segments like Community Wellness, which is the YMCA, with universities to put bikes on campus for students to access. Now, it’s about a double down on a lot of the things we’ve been trying over the last few years.
It sounds like you’re saying that previously, if a business wanted to interact with Peloton, they had to reach out to you and figure out the funnel. Now, you’re going to be more aggressive about going out and fostering those relationships.
I think to date, we’ve worked with let’s say Sigma in one capacity on the benefits front, and then Hilton in one capacity on the commercial bikes front. We’ve seen more and more corporate customers coming to us saying they want our benefits solution. They want to put bikes on site and they want to give a discount to all employees. How do we make it easier for them to work with us instead of it being complex?
That makes a lot of sense. You have all these different inner workings. If they said they wanted to have discounts, they had to go through one workstream, and then if they wanted to have a Peloton bike, they had to go through a different one. You guys are able to bring that all together now so that you can offer almost a la carte options to bring together a great solution.
To the person outside of our little world that is Peloton, you hear a Peloton commercial and you’re like, “Is that the ad that ran in Holiday?” If you Google that, that’s what you will find. It was a lot of inside speak. We wanted to make it like if you’re a business customer, call us, we can help you out.
That makes a lot of sense. I’m curious. We looked over the awesome press release that came out. I noticed that a lot of the language and the description you use had a lot to do with Peloton bikes. Do you expect that there is going to be other Peloton products that might be joining the program at some point like the Tread or the Guide?
I think I can answer this one. The answer is yes to all of the above. You’ve seen Peloton evolve a bit recently. Bikes are super important to us, but we also recognize fitness means different things to different people. We want to be all of that. Between the different hardware parts, we have in the app and all the different modalities that you can engage in the app. Pretty much anywhere you want to work out, it’s about all of that. While not all of that is fully available yet, expect that it will be through this channel.
That’s very exciting. I’m excited about that. Are there criteria for partnering with the company? I would assume you have certain things that need to happen. Are there certain sizes you’re looking for or maybe a cap on the number of companies you want to work with? How does all that look?
On the benefits side, another part of the announcement was the launch with a company called Sequoia, a professional employer organization of PEO. There are a lot of acronyms in the health care and benefits worlds that I’m learning. To date, we’ve only offered our benefits solution to big companies with 5,000 or more employees, like Wayfair, Volvo, and Cigna. Sequoia allows us to offer Peloton to small and medium-sized businesses.
We get a lot of companies that call us that might have 500 or less or 1,000 employees, and we haven’t had the bandwidth to bring them on. We’re excited to work with Sequoia to be able to do that. If you’re a Peloton member and you want your membership subsidized by your employer, call your HR department. That will give many more folks access to Peloton that we haven’t been able to work with.
To double down on that, we first thought we wanted to serve every business that has an interest in offering a benefit to their employees, their customers, or both. I know we have a very passionate group of Peloton members who are listening or will be listening to this conversation. We can make your work environment a lot more fun and engaging. We could help your employment work environment a lot more fun. Whether you’re going to a hotel or whatever it is, we want to be there for you. Please be vocal not just with us but with the businesses that you interact with.
Does that mean if someone is already a Peloton member and their company signs on with the program like this, there are still benefits, and it’s not just at the entry point for new users?
What do those look like? How does that function if you already have them in your ecosystem?
Typically, in the employer’s scenario in most cases, it’s some sort of either a subsidy or the employer providing access to a Peloton membership, the app, and the content at no charge. If you’re an existing member and you get access to that benefit from your employer, then your employer would be covering that, whatever portion they decide to cover on your behalf. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to Peloton or an existing member.
I got some phone calls to make. I love that.
Employees also get discounts on Peloton hardware. This is my favorite part of our benefits program. The company runs challenges for employees. At a company like Volvo, there might already be 1,200 Volvo employees who are on a leaderboard. They can race together and the company will organize more formal events for their Peloton member community within the employee base, which is fun.
I believe Cigna had special badges and stuff for things that they had done that came in front of us. We were super excited about that. Also, I found it fascinating that there’s this whole other world of badges out there for people who try to collect them all that they may not even know exists. That is fun and exciting to a person who is a collector. I like that.
If you’re trying to collect all the badges, freshen up your resume. You’re going to have to go get a lot of jobs.
We need a LinkedIn integration.
That would be a very cool way to display your badges in a little display case. I have ideas. I also noticed in the press release that you guys talked about a retention rate of 93% year-over-year when you’ve used it as a corporate benefit as you’ve been working through this. Is that for individuals that are part of this benefit or is that like the company is coming back year over year? What is that? Is it both?
It’s the latter. We launched our corporate benefits business in 2021, and we’ve seen a 93% retention rate. Companies are signing with us after the first year. They’re sticking with us which is great. That industry can see a lot of turnover. We also wanted to make sure it wasn’t just the post-pandemic hybrid. They’re looking for something to give to work-from-home employees. It’s been pretty interesting which has been great to see.
As sticky as Peloton can be, I would think if that’s something that employers tried to pull back, they’re going to hear about it.
I was going to say the same thing. The renewal rate has to be a function of engagement. The way you should read a 93% renewal rate is a place or very engaged in the benefit, and it’s tough to remove it because it’s working so well. Hopefully, a company would not want to remove it as well anyway.
Is there any way to gauge? Obviously, healthy employees would probably be financially less of a burden on the employer. Is there a way to suss out like there are net savings in doing something like this?
We’ve done informal surveying. I shouldn’t say informal but more qualitative surveying to date on employees’ satisfaction and employees’ perception of mental and physical well-being from using the Peloton benefit and have seen positive responses. We do have in progress a few, I wouldn’t say clinical because they are not at the level of physicians certified, but we’re trying to get more data-driven on that tie between holistic well-being and employee performance. We hear about it anecdotally from our benefits leaders, which is awesome. The more we can prove that as a business case, the better.
What’s cool about some of these relationships too is they started because the benefits decision maker at the company was a Peloton member. They saw the change in their own day-to-day, their own performance, and their own life. They brought it to their leadership and said, “This may help the folks I work with.”
I would think this is probably a much easier sell than it would have been 3, 4, or 5 years ago.
It would be fascinating to see all of these different companies you guys are signing up for do a world championship competition where all the companies team up against each other. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Like the battle of the network stars corporations.
I love it. That would be fun.
That would be a lot of fun, especially if you get a charity side to that. That would be cool. On that note, you’ve given a couple of examples, but when you listed all the different things you’re going to be offering, you have unique corporate engagement experiences, bringing that computer together, and that type of thing. Do you have any specific examples that you’re excited about that are going to be offered to these businesses that people may not be aware of?
I’m thinking because the other nuance in this space is there are employers that we work with that we can talk about very vocally, then there are employers that we are under strict NDA. They are great customers of ours but we maintain confidentiality. I’m just being thoughtful before I speak. One of the things I’m most excited about is the pilots we are launching with a few big YMCA locations. We’ve got one in San Antonio and one in Chicago. For the first time, we’re going to be bringing our bikes and the Peloton app to their space, and see how it impacts member experience and customer acquisition for these Ys
If we look across all of our commercial segments, the YMCA was our segment of most use. Those bikes were getting ride after ride after ride. They had taken a taken upon themselves to buy bikes and put them in their facilities. It wasn’t what we were going after. In the pandemic, the Ys had to cut back on group fitness investment. A lot of people working out are self-guided. We think potentially the Peloton app could be a great solution on that strength floor, a tread, or a bike. That will be fun to see how it works out.
I would add one more thing that pleasantly surprised me. Obviously, different businesses are returning to the office or thinking about how their work environment is all virtual and hybrid in the office. Those who are trying to encourage employees to come back to the office are trying to create a welcoming office environment that fulfills their employees’ needs.
Not only are we finding we have some employers who are putting bikes in their own gyms. We actually have a couple of businesses that decided to expand further. They’re creating a dedicated almost like a meditation room for a Peloton. They’re actually putting on hardware and a dedicated standalone room for somebody to go and workout individually in the spirit of creating an office environment that is welcoming to folks to come back and giving them a reason to come back. I hope to see more of that too.
I love that because when you’re in an office and you go workout, that can be difficult because you might get a little sweaty. You might feel like you need to freshen up before you’re around your co-workers. That’s awesome they’re able to do that.
When you say that you’re encouraging YMCA people to also download the app, will that be a straight Peloton app that everyone else uses? Do you envision a scenario where there’s some sort of co-branded YMCA white-label version of a Peloton app?
Right now, it’s the app that’s available to everyone. I commend our product team which has launched a bunch of new programs and features within the app in the last few months, particularly that take to gym workouts. I don’t know if you guys have gone in and played around with the guided strength that you can take to a functional floor and do deadlifts, squats, and bench press guided by Peloton. Right now, it’s the regular version of our app. Potentially, in future states, there might be more collaboration, but we want to see how current states are working.
Greg and Joanna, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer some of our questions. This was a fascinating discussion. We normally let people say where to find them. I don’t know if you want to be found, especially with some of our listeners. If nothing else, if you want to share your leaderboard names, this might be a good chance to throw that out there.
You can find me on LinkedIn, Joanna Lee. You can also find me on the leaderboard at JoJo10011. I will caveat. I am nine months pregnant so my recent activity is not reflective of what I am able to do.
You can find me on LinkedIn, Greg Hybl. My Peloton leaderboard name is PiperOak. If you’re an employer or if you’re a company that you’re a customer of, you want to encourage them to engage with us Corporate Wellness at OnePeloton.com. There’s a way to engage us through that channel.
Thank you both again. Congrats on the launch of the program. It’s super exciting. We appreciate you sharing this with us and answering some of our burning questions. Thank you.
Thanks for giving us the opportunity.
Thanks so much for having us.
Kendall Toole has a meet and greet coming up for those of you who live in the London area.
She’s going to be at the London store. It’s going to be on Tuesday, August 29th. Tickets are already gone. They were gone in about 30 seconds, but you never know. Every time I’m in New York, I hear stories about New York people constantly hanging around the studio. I don’t know why you couldn’t do the same thing to try to meet her, but don’t be a weird stalker. That’s why they have to have security.
Jeffrey McEachern will be teaching some classes in September from PSNY.
He sure will. Don’t forget, the London studio is closed until September 22nd. This leads to my idea that all the instructors are going to be in one place in September. I’m just saying.
Speaking of Jeffrey McEachern, he and Susie Chan competed in a race that I can’t remember the name of.
It was a half marathon. The funny part was that they planned nothing. They just did this as a last-minute half marathon because Jeffrey is training for his marathon that’s coming up five weeks out. While they were there, they were like, “Let’s do this real quick.” It was on the Isle of Wight I believe. They had a good time. They said it was super hilly, but they still had a great time. I love that our instructors like each other. It’s so fun
They’re like, “Let’s do a half marathon. No big deal.”
“Just a couple hours for us.” It’s probably fifteen minutes. Those people are so fast.
Tobias Heinze came in second and the Transrockies Run.
I have to explain. It’s second overall, out of all of the people. That’s amazing. It’s not second in his age group. It’s second overall. We have the most amazing instructors. They are all so badass. Congratulations to Tobias.
We talked about this earlier, but Chelsea Jackson Roberts taught yoga at Spelman College, which is her alma mater.
I thought this was neat. She seemed to enjoy herself. I love those full-circle moments.
That’s a prestigious school to have gone to. To get to go back and do something like that has to be a blast. Selena Samuela announced that she is officially training for a marathon.
You might remember that a while back, she had announced before she even had her baby that she was going to be participating in a half Ironman. I believe this was a couple of months ago. As the time got closer, she was like, “Nope. I’m not going to do it. It’s not a good time for me. I’m not ready. I’m just now getting to the point where I can start training.” She said she had her eye on some other races. Now, she is saying she is training for a marathon. It is out in the ether. She had been waiting to say something because she felt like she got out over her skis the first time and she didn’t want to do that again. I can’t help but wonder if she is going to be running for the Chicago Marathon.
That would make sense from a timing standpoint. Has she been training for a while or has she just started?
When she announced she was not doing the half Ironman, she was already training for that marathon.
It’s not like she’s like, “That’s in a month. I will give it the old college try.”
It’s in November. I don’t know if that’s the one she’s doing. I know that’s going to be a big deal and it would not shock me. Here’s the other little thing I’m drawing conclusions from and it is completely conjecture, so do not hold me to this. They were doing stuff for the Reeve Foundation related to golf. Logan is running the Chicago Marathon, raising money for the Reeve Foundation. Now, Selena is training for a marathon. I’m just saying that it makes sense.
The pieces fit.
I don’t know. We will see, but that’s my thought.
If you would like to meet Ben Alldis, there’s a contest going on to support his new book, Raise The Bar, where you can enter to win a stay at The Pig Hotel, which apparently is something you would want to do.
It sounds terrible but I’m sure since it’s a prize, it’s awesome.
One would think. They used to have that commercial for Smucker’s jelly a million years ago. They were like, “With a name like Smucker’s, it’s got to be good.” Maybe it’s like that with The Pig Hote. It’s like, “We called it The Pig Hotel. It has to be amazing because we’ve lowered the expectation.” You can win a stay at The Pig Hotel for two spots in the studio class, and a meet and greet with Ben.
I also have to say, you won’t forget The Pig Hotel.
None of those landing at the airport will be like, “What’s the hotel we’re in, a Sheraton or a Hilton? Was it a Double Tree? No. That’s right. It was The Pig Hotel.”
It’s brilliant because we’re talking about it and we will never forget the name of this. In fact, if we ever get to go to London, we might have to drive by to see what The Pig Hotel is. We might just check it out.
Does that mean you can get bacon from room service, or you absolutely cannot?
I don’t know. I need to know.
Coming up after this, we’re going to talk about a new artist series featuring a big-time producer. We’ve got the All For One lineup and Fiesta Latina. Stick around.
We have a new artist series or I guess I should say a producer series.
This is the second producer series
It is spotlighting Max Martin.
I didn’t know Max Martin’s name but I should have because he has done iconic songs by Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys, The Weeknd, Britney Spears, and more. His songs are featured in & Juliet, the Broadway show.
I guess the reason you haven’t heard of him is unlike Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys, people don’t tend to hang up posters of the producer of those records.
I bet Max Martin is one rich man.
It is a special school set to make songs sound like that.
The All For One lineup has been announced.
before I get into the lineup, I want to say that you can start booking classes on Tuesday. For September 7th to 9th, you can go online on 8/29. Did they tell me a time? No. I’m going to assume it’s noon Eastern, but do not hold me to that. I am not responsible for you not getting into AFO. There are 32 artists. I know some of these people. I’m going to stick to the ones that I recognize. The Black Keys, Chris Stapleton, the Eagles, Hozier, Katy Perry, LL Cool J, Gorillaz, Maren Morris, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Chaka Khan. I know Dave Matthews Band but they suck. Ellie Goulding, Machine Gun Kelly, Salt-N-Pepa, Skrillex, and ZZ Top. Those are the ones I know.
The ones I don’t know. Armin van Buuren, Dave, Miguel, Rauw Alejandro, Rhema, Sampa, Betty Who, City Girls, FKJ, Kali Uchis, The Kid LAROI, LP, Gob, Metro Boomin, and Pusha T. I don’t know any of those. I feel a million years old, but in all seriousness, there’s a good variety here. Everyone who has commented on this has complained, every single person, because there is so much variety with this that you can’t please anyone. I personally liked it.
It’s a good mixture of well-established artists, classic rock, and country music. There’s a good mixture.
I think that they wanted to have German artists and they wanted to have UK artists. I know this because I asked Brian, our nineteen-year-old who just went to college. I said, “Is this Dave a typo? It’s right next to Dave Matthews. Did they accidentally type it twice?” He was like, “No. That is a rapper from the UK.”
In today’s age, what a dumb name to go with. How do you google Dave?
Maybe it’s brilliant because just like The Pig Hotel, we’re talking about it. I don’t know. I’m not a marketing person.
Next is The Dave Hotel. In the bar, you can see live music from Pig, which is a band. I think Rob Halford had a band called Pig.
Either way, you can go in and build your own Festival by watching for when the classes are or taking them on-demand. You could do it live or on-demand. You can then put together your own Festival. If you like The Black Keys and Chris Stapleton, that would be me. There are a little Eagles in there and maybe a little Katy Perry. That would be my stack. I will tell you who’s not in my stack, freaking Dave Matthews Band. Get out of here.
Crashing into my nuts.
There you go. He sucks. It’s a good thing that music is subjective.
Peloton has a new Rep Goal Challenge.
This is a big deal because it is the first challenge we have seen with the Guide. You have a range of reps that you have to hit in the month of September, starting September 1st. It’s the same thing with all the other ones. You have to hit a certain number to hit bronze or silver, etc. There has been some confusion. I want to clear this up. You can see this challenge on the app. You can see this challenge on the web. However, you can only participate in this challenge if you have a Guide. Some people pointed out to me that I was not thinking clearly because you have to have a way to complete count the reps. That’s fair.
The Guide has gotten better at counting your reps.
I never had any problem with it, so I don’t use it that often. I don’t know that I’m a good member of that group. I think it’s cool that we’re seeing new stuff like this. Continuously, they keep bringing out new features.
They’ve announced that they will have new Fiesta Latina content.
Camila Ramón and Rad Lopez are both going to be teaching classes on August 19th and August 20th, all celebrating Fiesta Latina. If any of you out there understand why we are doing this at the end of August, please let me know because I don’t know anything about Fiesta Latina. When I googled, it all appeared to be in October. If anybody can explain that to me, I would appreciate it. I don’t know if maybe you just use these words or this music. I’m asking seriously. I would love to understand it.
We’re not against it.
Not at all. It’s according to Google. Maybe I don’t know the right thing to google. I don’t know, but I would like some education on it because I don’t know much about it. Anyway, there are going to be great classes and great music. Either way, it’s going to be fun. A fiesta, you might say.
Speaking of fun music, DJ John Michael is looking to try and get some UK live DJ rides. I think DJ John Michael wants a free trip to London.
He gets to go to London pretty often. I see him in London all the time. Here’s the thing. People were asking him in one of those Ask Me Anything sessions. They were like, “When are we going to get live DJ classes for the UK members?” He was like, “Ask for them.” He pointed out, just like I say all the time, Peloton listens to the members and the data. If you want to see these classes, please go to the suggestion box that they have or put it over on the OPP. Good luck to you. Aggregate the want for this because that is how you were going to get these classes. He was like, “Go ask for it.” Good call.
Every week, we put out the call for people to tell us their favorite classes, and then we aggregate that, and we give you the TCO weekly top five. Here you go.
Favorite Peloton walk-run. It is a 30-minute from 6/26 with Logan Aldridge. It was a walk plus run. Theresa Ross found an extra dose of inspiration because he honored the 19th anniversary of losing his arm. He told the story of it, and he said why he uses It’s Just An Arm, and he also played music from that era in his life.
Favorite Peloton yoga. It is a classical slow flow with Mariana Fernandez from 8/16 of this year. It was a 20-minute. Jenny Lectin highlighted this one because she said it was a true delight. It’s stretched everything out and Mariana is such a positive light. “I think since she’s a runner, when she does a slower pace flow, it hits all of my tight hip issues.” I get that. That makes a lot of sense.
Favorite Peloton ride. This was the dance music ride with Erik Jäger from 8/18. Everyone has been talking about this class. Apparently, it was the best. Everyone has said how fun it was. He was riding in English. It was an energetic studio full of people, including Adrian and Katie. It was live from the Peloton Studio, New York. He was hysterically talking about sexy stories, and Adrian and Katie were in there. It was so much fun. He was silly. It was great music choices to sing too. Chelsea Schroeder said, “I enjoyed this. I love listening to his voice and fun interaction with the studio.”
Favorite core strength. This one was from Rebecca Kennedy on 8/18, 10 minutes. Selena Shockin said she plays one 10-minute Taylor Swift song and it’s all about the pelvic floor. Fantastic. That sounds great. Next up is our unstackable. From 8/18, it was from a 45-minute HIIT and hills ride with Jenn Sherman. Everyone talked about unstackable. Steph Abbott said that she thought she was going to stack a 15-minute low impact, then a 10-minute arms and lights weights, but when she was done with this 45-minute class, she ended up doing a 15-minute floor stretch. She is hilarious with the f-bombs. She loves her.
Can I reveal something about myself?
Of course. This is a vulnerable safe space.
When we scroll through these articles, we see the things that people say written out. Until we started doing that, I’d never seen them written out. We’ve been doing the show for six and a half years now.
You didn’t know HIIT was like that. Did you?
I thought all this time that you’ve been saying hidden hills. I had no idea what it meant. I’m like, “Whatever.” I thought they were maybe sneaking up on you. It’s like, “Surprised. There’s a hill now.”
HIIT and hills.
“Change the resistance. There’s a hill. Surprise. We didn’t tell you.”
Thank you for that vulnerability.
Now I know that it’s HIIT and hills.
Apparently, I don’t enunciate.
I’ve heard other people say it too. I always thought it was hidden hills.
It makes sense. The brain will take things that don’t make sense and make sense out of it. That makes sense that it didn’t make sense, and you called it hidden.
Now I know.
We learn something new every day.
We should start with the birthday we missed from our last episode. I was so focused on your birthday on 8/20. This birthday was all on 8/20 and it’s Charlotte Weidenbach. It was her birthday.
Happy birthday, Charlotte.
Our apology. You are now in our Peloton birthdays Google Calendar.
We will never forget again for the rest of the time.
Even if you leave, we will still talk about you because that’s how we roll. Coming up on August 26th, Mariana Fernandez.
I love her. Happy birthday.
On August 31st, Kristin McGee.
Happy birthday Kristin.
Coming up next, we’re going to talk to Lorri Lown from Team Wilpers. She’s going to tell us all about bike fitting and how she fell into it. Stick around.
She’s got an amazing story.
Joining us is Lorri Lee Lown but we’re going to call her Lorri.
I’m happy to be here.
We’re happy to have you here.
You have a fun name to say.
You can thank my dad for that.
We have a lot to talk about. How did you first get into sports originally?
Originally, I didn’t. I was a complete non-athlete. I was not gifted at throwing or catching balls or doing anything else. I was a tomboy. I rode bikes and ran around but I was not into sports at all. I was a scholar and a musician. Every time I tried to play a sport because everyone else played sports, I wasn’t playing. I was on a softball team, and they never let me play. They were the championship team. I can’t catch or throw a ball. The next year, the same thing happened. In my mind, I decided that wasn’t for me. I wasn’t an athlete.
We have similar childhood except for the tomboy part. I was Tom and a boy but I was not a tomboy.
He once struck out at t-ball.
It’s a true story.
I grew up in a small town in the country. We played. That’s what we did. We played until the streetlights came on. You built forts. I always did a lot of things with my hands, which is interesting. I was having a conversation about what I do in my job. I do use my hands, and that was trained at a very young age but in general, I didn’t participate in sports.
I ran one year of track in high school because I thought I had to put it on a college application. It took me about a month to be able to run a mile. I was asthmatic as well but I had to do something. It was that or cheerleading. I needed something besides music and drama on my college applications. Cheerleading was expensive. You had to buy shoes, pompoms, jackets, and all these things. In running, you bought a pair of running shoes, so I tried.
I’m pretty tall. I’m about 5’10. I ran one season and did sprints. In the spring, our state champion long jumper retired. She graduated high school, and they were like, “You can be the jumper.” I would throw myself up into the air and over a bar. It was terrifying. I can’t believe I ever did that. That was my athletic career until my late twenties. I exercised as a way to maintain weight. That’s why we exercised in our twenties. You’re going on vacation, and you want to look whatever way.
In my late twenties, I joined a ski club because it was a singles club. I had no intention of skiing but everybody said, “If you want to meet men, you’re going to join this club called Ski Hawks in Syracuse, New York.” They had a cool learn-to-ski program. It was $60 for ten weeks of lessons, your ski rental, and everything. I did those ten weeks, and that was it. I was done, but I met a man.
You got your $60 worth.
I got my $60 worth and then some. What I realized was if I wanted to spend time with said man, I had to learn to ski. I took race school and started going on long trips and spending more time on the slopes. I found out I was pretty good at it. That was the first time in my life that I had a sport that I was pretty good at, that I understood, and that felt natural. Through the ski club, I started skating. It would have been the ’80s and the ’90s. Skating was new. In the summer, the ski club would skate. I was a good skater. I was better than the said boyfriend. I also played volleyball but I can’t throw, catch, and hit.
When you found out his skillset, you should have been like, “Maybe you should give me the $60.”
What I know now is when we look at sports, there are two varieties, those that have balls and those that don’t. There are ball sports and balance sports. If you can do one balance sport, you can do any other balance sport. If you can ski, you can skate, ride a horse, dance, and cycle. There’s a way to tie that all together. I did have a bike. I bought a bike in my early twenties. I was a smoker. I bought a mountain bike. It was a specialized Hardrock, the very first mountain bike made in production. At the time, we rode them on the road. I was terrified of it. I didn’t ride.
I moved to California, and that’s where my sports life began. I brought that bike with me even though I didn’t ride it. I got here and everybody was beautiful, healthy, and fit. They recreate and they’re rich. I was like, “I’m going to be like them.” I got fit. I started riding that bike. I continued to skate out here as well but it wasn’t as convenient out here.
I’m in the San Jose area. It’s a pretty large metropolitan area. There were not a lot of opportunities to skate, at least at that point. I started riding a bit. Long story short, I signed up for an event called the California AIDSRide, which is a seven-day ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It seemed like this big hairy goal because my first ride was about 11 miles. I took a six-hour nap after I was done. It was flat.
San Francisco to Los Angeles is about 11 miles.
On my first ride, I had to go over one highway overpass. It was all on a bike path, and it was all flat except for that one overpass, which I couldn’t ride. I had to walk it. I went home and took a nap for about six hours. I was like, “This is not for me.” Everything hurt. I hurt for days. The saddle hurt. My legs and my hands hurt. I was like, “Cycling is not for me.” I was dating someone. There are always men in these stories, which is interesting given where my career evolved.
I was dating a man. He happened to be a Mormon. We didn’t do fun things. We did healthy things. That included things like going to the gym, which terrified me. I had never been to a gym. I was scared of weights and people. It smelled funny. We played tennis, which is a ball sport but I liked the cute clothes for tennis and riding bikes. We started riding. I owned a pair of shiny Cannondale cycling shorts. I didn’t feel like I deserved to wear a cycling jersey. There weren’t any. They were all men’s. They were big, baggy, and blue. Everything was blue.
This was in the ’90s. We had helmets with nylon covers over them. I wore a sports bra and my shiny Cannondale shorts. Eventually, fall happened and it was cold. I couldn’t wear a sports bra, so I would wear a T-shirt. That doesn’t work very well because you get sweaty and cold. I bought a big men’s jersey. Fast forward nine months, I completed the AIDSRide and fell in love. After four months of riding, I went out and rode a century ride. It’s 100 miles back and forth on a bike path because I was afraid to ride on the road. Eventually, I started participating in training rides and climbing hills. I completed the ride.
It changed my life in amazing ways. I didn’t change careers right away. I continued to work. At that time, I was working for Charles Schwab. In 2001, we all got laid off. I think everybody in Silicon Valley got laid off. I thought, “How can I get paid to ride my bike? This would be a cool career.” It made everything in my life better. What drives me is the fact that if you can do something and succeed at whatever that is, it makes you a better person. You’re happier. You’re a better spouse, employer, employee, and friend.
That’s a hell of a pivot going from the financial sector to something like that.
My first career was in theater. I managed theaters for fourteen years and then came out here.
You’re already in the mindset of, “I’m not going to make a lot of money.”
Here’s the irony. I have a degree in Theater Management. I was a musician but I ended up with a Theater Management degree. I managed theaters mostly on the East Coast for fourteen years. I came out here and then left that theater because it wasn’t making me happy. I had just gotten my MBA, and I thought, “I’m going to get rich like everyone out here. I’m going to work for a startup, and it’s going to be great.” Four months in, I got laid off. I had never been unemployed working in a theater of all things. I didn’t make a lot of money but I was never unemployed.
I was gun-shy. I ended up at Charles Schwab for a couple of years and got laid off again. At that point, I had been captain of the cycling team at Schwab. We had a 100-person team that did the AIDSRide and raised $1 million every year. It was a phenomenal place to work. I was sure that I would retire there. I was a very loyal person. It’s the East Coast mentality of employment for life. I was like, “This is my company.” They’re diverse. They’re creative. I was paid well, which was great, for the first time in my life. Y2K happened and everybody had overhired. Y2K was a non-issue and everybody got laid off. There I was trying to figure out what to do with my life at 30-something.
No one was hiring. I couldn’t get an interview. The way that the job market is out here, six months prior, I was getting calls from headhunters every day saying, “We want you to work here.” Now it was crickets. You couldn’t get an interview. I hung out and rode bikes for the summer thinking, “I’ve got this nice severance package. I don’t need to find a job quite yet.” I couldn’t find a job.
I had education through my severance. I found a program at a local community college in personal fitness training. It was a brand-new program. It’s half an associate’s degree. It’s 30 credits. It covered exercises and everything. I thought, “Exercise changed my life. Maybe I can change other people’s lives,” but I didn’t think I wanted to be a trainer. The gym scene wasn’t my thing. I did that program and worked in adaptive fitness for a while. It’s fitness for folks with disabilities. It was fun but this was the hard thing about that. I wanted to fix everything. I was a manager. That’s what I did.
The world doesn’t keep up with you. The world can’t change what you want to change.
When you’re working with an audience of folks who are disabled, you probably can’t change their disability. You can improve their life. I was young enough that I didn’t understand that. I found it very frustrating because I couldn’t fix it. I could not fix people. I did that for a while. I worked as a trainer and spin instructor for many years, never thinking I could become famous as a spin instructor.
That’s fair. I always compare it to chefs. All of a sudden, chefs were celebrities. I’m like, “Why? Who cares about a chef?”
How did you decide to be a cycling coach? Did you just happen to it?
No, I decided. For one thing, I can’t count reps. That’s probably what it comes down to. I lose count when I’m working out. With the thought of me having to count reps for somebody else in the gym, I was like, “This is not my thing.” There weren’t a lot of cycling coaches at the time. There’s a national certifying board. They are the sanctioning board for racing in the United States called USA Cycling. At the time that I became a coach in 2001, there were about 290 coaches in the entire country. Of those, 19 were women. That included me. I was the only one who was not a pro racer. I was this girl who rode bikes and was stoked about riding bikes. I decided to become a coach.
Even my coach at the time was like, “Who’s going to ride with you? How are you going to start a racing team?” He wasn’t my coach for long but I decided that I loved cycling. It was the first thing I was good at. I was pretty darn good at it. I decided I would start my club. I built my website. I wish I still had the list of URLs. I was trying to find them. Eventually, I settled on Velo Girls, which has lasted for 22 years, which is great.
The name has a little bit of controversy from time to time. The older women twenty years ago were like, “You can’t use girls because we’re feminists.” They would call the secretarial pool girls. We fought hard. Fellow Middle-Aged Women do not have that same ring. In a world where gender is very fluid, having a group that is gender-based is a little different and challenging. You try to be very inclusive. Anyone who wants to be part of our organization can be, but we focus on what I feel is an underserved audience in the bicycling world, which is women. There was nothing for women.
We live in Missouri. There are a lot of nice people in the cycling world, but if you’re outside of the cycling world, it can be very hard to break into. It’s intimidating. To me, it’s similar to what you were talking about going to a gym. I like the idea of a women’s group because it’s less intimidating. Hopefully, there’s no mansplaining because there are no men telling you what to do. I’m a fan of that.
I built it as a teaching organization. Full disclosure, my MBA is in Gender Relations. I spent a lot of time studying the differences between men and women, how we communicate differently, how we approach sports differently, and how we approach the community differently. I hadn’t ridden with women. I only rode with men because I was pretty fast. I rode with the men but I would see these big groups of guys out on the road and one woman trying to hold up working hard. I was like, “I know there are women out there.”
I had done an event here in California called the Cinderella Classic, which is the oldest women’s event in the country. There were thousands of women. I’m like, “Where are they? We have to find them. They need to be riding together because there is a gender difference in endurance sports.” I wanted to create an organization that was inclusive and educational. We could challenge each other in a way that’s different than the way men challenge each other, which is jabbing at each other. I wanted something more supportive.
“You don’t have to be nice because I have a tushie.”
That’s a good one. I remember taking an FTP test years ago on a trainer with my coach, the same one who told me who would ever race for me. He’s like, “You can do better than that.” I shut right down. I was like, “That’s how we’re different. That’s not how you encourage a woman. Tell her she’s doing great even if she’s not.”
There are a lot of guys that don’t work for either. I’m one of them. I hate sports to this day. It’s because every coach I had when I was nine was like, “Come on,” and then insert homophobic slur here. I was like, “This is dumb. I don’t like anything about this. I get yelled at for not liking it. That doesn’t make me like it more. I don’t want to please you. I want you to get hit by a truck.”
As a person who’s been hit by a car, I take offense.
I didn’t want you to get hit. I wasn’t behind it.
I decided to start this women’s organization, and I had no idea. I wanted an opportunity to coach. When I went through my coaching education with USA Cycling, it was at a very transitional point. The structure of clubs and racing teams in the United States was such that you had to go through this process of education before you could race. That changed. Nowadays, you buy your license, pin your number, go out, and race. Bike racing is a dangerous sport. It’s a mass-start sport. The safety of every person in your field is dependent on the skillset of the least skilled rider.
It’s not a sport that you do casually. It’s also not a sport you do infrequently. When you race bikes, you race six times a month. It’s not like, “I pick this one triathlon in the spring and this one triathlon in the fall and do that or run races.” It is training when you’re racing. From nuts to bolts, I built a website back in the days when we still coded in HTML. I built this huge website too. It was like I gave birth to a seventeen-year-old. I decided that everything had to be finished before I began. I’ve been that way my whole life too. That’s one of my strengths and weaknesses.
You’re a type-A perfectionist. I’m familiar. I know how that is.
There was no social media. There was no way to tell people. I posted on Craigslist, which was relatively new at the time. We put flyers in bike shops, went to women’s events, and handed out lollipops with stickers on them with the URL. We wrote them on our legs. It’s guerrilla marketing. On our first ride, we had 46 women show up, which was crazy. It started small though. We did two rides a month and then grew from there. Eventually, we have about 4,000 members at this point 21 years later.
We have gone through a lot of iterations. We have had an amateur racing team, a development team, and a pro team for one year. Mostly, our bread and butter are getting women on bikes to start and teaching them. We teach skills clinics and bike maintenance and have a number of progressive series that we do each year that will help women prepare for an event like a century or a metric century.
Those maintenance things especially are important. I have a road bike but I’m terrified to go out right now. I was doing okay before that, but I never got the hang of changing a tire. I never had to do it. I hope that never happens because somebody is going to have to pick me up.
It’s a big barrier both for women and also male riders. The nice thing is we do have opportunities to use things like Lyft and Uber to get home if we need to. AAA and Better World Club both offer AAA-type support for bicycles at least here on the West Coast, which is nice.
I didn’t know that. That’s awesome.
Better World Club came out a long time ago. I don’t know if AAA is nationwide but they offer bike coverage in Oregon, Washington, and California. We have cell phones. I didn’t have a cell phone when I started riding a bike. I didn’t have a GPS-based computer. We would drive routes. I had expensive topo software. I would draw these routes. I was afraid of getting lost. That was one of the things I was afraid of when I started riding again. I’m afraid of being harmed and being out there on my own. I was talking to someone about bike touring and they said, “Do you carry a gun?” I’m like, “I don’t. I never have. Why?” They’re like, “Aren’t you afraid someone is going to harm you?” I’m like, “They have to catch me. They have to find me. I can go somewhere that a car can’t.”
I get that. It can happen to males or females. It can happen to any gender. You get attacked for some stupid reason. If you’re not a person who knows how to defend yourself, that is a scary and vulnerable thing to be out there. That’s another reason I don’t feel comfortable. I like to be in spots where I know where everything is because if I have to go somewhere unfamiliar, it’s terrifying. I don’t like that. I was going to ask. I know that you also do bike fittings. I’m curious how that came into all of these things that you’re doing because it sounds like you already are so busy. At this point, I’m like, “How is there more time?”
I’m very single. That’s part of it. When I started coaching back in 2001, coaches did everything. When you use the term coach, what does that mean? I might write training programs. That was part of what I did for a long time. I teach skills clinics. I teach people how not to fall, how to go downhill fast, how to corner, how to race, and all of that. Velo Girls was a vehicle to create a coaching organization which eventually I segued into another brand idea as well. I owned two businesses.
Bike fitting was not a thing twenty years ago. It was something that racers did. Here in Northern California, there were only three bike fitters in the entire Bay Area. All three of them were men. I have a lot of orthopedic issues, and I was never super comfortable on a bike. I endured it because I thought that’s what you did. Once I learned that there was this thing called bike fit and they could make you feel better when you’re on your bike, I was like, “Sign me up. I need to learn everything I can.”
I took a week-long class at USA Cycling in Colorado Springs. That was my first bit of education on bike fit, biomechanics, and injury prevention. I started fitting. It’s an interesting unregulated industry where you can hang your shingle out, take people’s money, and fit them. I’m sure I was a terrible fitter like most people in the beginning. Bikes were very different then too.
They didn’t even have women’s bikes that raced back then, like specifically for women.
Women’s bikes were introduced around 2005 or 2006.
These had baskets on with little tassels.
She had a little horn.
When I look at my first bike and photos of me on that first bike, I was stretched out like Superman. It was way too long for me because most women, especially women of European descent, have shorter torsos. How would you size a bike when you go to a bike store? You stand over it. If you have an inch of clearance, that’s your size. I was like, “Where is the science in that?” If I was a man, that was great because the bikes were built for men but as a woman with long legs and long femurs, I couldn’t reach the front of the bike.
I was on a handlebar that was 44 centimeters wide. It’s way wider than me. Now, I ride a 36, which is super proportionate to my shoulder. There were no women’s saddles. I remember the very first women’s saddle came out. It was called the Terry Butterfly. It had a cutout, which was a nice thing because it gave you some pressure relief but it was so wide. I thought, “I will never have intercourse again if I ride this saddle because it’s incredibly uncomfortable. It was a good try.” It was also $100, which at the time was a huge investment for a saddle.
What is the cutout for?
A cutout is a hole in a saddle. I have a saddle with a channel. I have a Peloton saddle. This would be considered a channel to take pressure off the soft tissue of your vascular system or the nervous system. We could be anatomically correct and say perineum and labia. I can say those words. I’m an adult. This goes all the way through.
There’s no divot.
You can see daylight through it.
What’s the advantage of that?
It’s putting pressure on it.
The divot is not enough.
There are probably 1,000 different saddles on the market. They come in different widths and sizes. When most people first start riding, myself included, they want the biggest, squishiest, and softest saddle in the world with a sheepskin cover, springs, and all the things that we know aren’t good.
It’s the opposite of what you want.
I want something firm, stable, relatively narrow, and a cutout. I like a cutout. I like taking the pressure off the soft tissue. That works for most people. It has been pretty widely publicized about issues with men riding an ED related to cycling, bad bike fit, and bad saddles. We don’t talk about it as much about women but it is an issue as well. We can end up with permanent nerve damage. We want to make sure that our bike is good and that our saddle works for us. It shouldn’t hurt to ride a bike. It shouldn’t affect your social life. Any contact point where I feel burning, numbness, or tingling, those are things I need to fix. I’m either creating vascular compression or nerve compression, and both of them can cause damage. We want to make sure that we feel good.
I would think a lot of times when somebody is new to an activity like that, they’re thinking, “There’s going to be discomfort. Feel the burn.”
“No pain, no gain.”
There’s that mentality out there for sports and fitness.
Your butt does have to get used to sitting on a seat, especially for a long time.
I don’t have callouses. Let’s be very clear. People always say, “I have to build up the callouses on my butt.” You don’t. You have to build up the strength in your legs. When I position myself on a bike, if my legs are strong, I don’t put as much pressure on the saddle. If my legs are not strong, it means I’m new to the sport or I don’t ride regularly. People ride once a month or twice a month. They’re never going to feel awesome. It doesn’t matter how good your bike fit is. If you’re not strong, you’re not progressing. When we do something often, we become more comfortable with it physically and mentally.
How did all this lead you to Peloton? If you do all this outdoor riding, how did you start with indoor riding on a Peloton?
I won’t say it’s my full-time job but if someone asks, I’m a bike fitter. That’s what I do. I do 500 to 600 fits a year for outdoor bikes. It’s a pretty significant volume. All the rest of the stuff happens too. Before the pandemic, I started getting requests to go into people’s homes in 2016 or maybe 2017. Most of the time, it was folks who already had fit on a bike or their spouse. That happened a lot. I would fit a dude on his bike and he would be like, “My wife has this thing in the bedroom. She won’t ride it because it hurts.” I’m like, “Let’s take a look.”
I was like, “I taught spinning all these years. Spin bikes were never very comfortable but could we make them better?” I started going into people’s homes, which is a little sketchy when you think about it in San Francisco, San Jose but I did. They were people I knew. When the pandemic hit, I had to close my bike fit studio for 7 out of 12 months. We’re restrictive here in California. It was stressful not knowing when you could start again. You do one thing. It’s my one passion, and I can’t do it. We couldn’t ride outside.
It’s not like somebody tells you at the beginning, “This will be for seven months, and then you’re okay”. In the sixth month, you’re still like, “This could go on for two more years.” You don’t know.
That was such a yucky time.
It wasn’t even seven consecutive months. It was a big chunk. We got to go back to work until it was December 2020, and then they shut us down again. By then, I was already doing some virtual work in the Peloton space. I stayed shut until I was able to get vaccinated because I was like, “I’m okay with not getting this virus,” which I still haven’t. I’m a unicorn that’s never tested positive.
I’ve dodged that bullet so far too.
Team Unicorn. How did it occur? It was in August 2020. I decided to buy a Peloton for my studio because I didn’t want to go to people’s homes. At that point, the bike boom meant that I was booked out for about seven months straight. I didn’t have time to go to someone’s home. I was fitting in 40 to 60 hours a week. It was crazy. I bought a Peloton. Right at the same time, Matt Wilpers who’s one of the instructors for Peloton reached out to me. I had no idea who he was. I have to admit. I had to google him because I didn’t ride Peloton. He said, “I’m putting together this team of bike fitters.” It was a secret society. Some of the best bike fitters I know in the world were part of this team.
He’s like, “We’re doing virtual Peloton fits.” I started dabbling with that during the pandemic. I had a Peloton. I was able to master the bike because it’s a little different than an outdoor bike. I was like, “That sounds fun. I’ll do five a week.” He’s like, “Can you do twenty a week?” I was like, “That sounds dreadful.” I had never been on a Zoom call until the pandemic hit. I was like, “I don’t know if I want to sit on a screen all day. I love what I do. I love working with my hands.” I did my first week of work in October 2020. I started on October 1st. I loved it.
I fell in love with the Peloton community, the people, meeting people from all over the world, which is exciting, and sharing the concept of bike fit and ergonomics with an audience. It’s completely new. Three years later, it’s not all that new to people anymore. At that point, people didn’t realize that you could feel better. There’s an efficient way to ride a bike and a less efficient way. A lot of the Peloton community doesn’t ride bikes. They don’t understand the concept of how we position ourselves on a bike, what we should be doing, and how to pedal, hinge at the hips, and use our glutes. There are lots of education there as well. It has been super fun.
The idea of a bike fitting in general would be an alien concept for a lot of people, especially if they’re coming from the world of spin. In a spin class, you don’t have your personal bike. Nobody would ever even think to get a special fit because, in ten minutes, someone else will be sitting on that bike.
It was a foreign concept to me. Matt Wilpers was the very first guest we ever had on this show. He was on Episode 1.
I listened to it.
We have gotten better.
You all have come a very long way. After you reached out to me, I was like, “I’m going to listen to their podcast.”
You listened to the first one, and you were like, “I’m not doing this dog and pony show.”
I listened to a recent one too. You were in a very different place years ago but so was Matt. I have stayed with Matt. I was working as a contractor. At one point, they decided they wanted to have full-time staff. I was like, “That’s not for me. I want to keep doing what I’m doing.” I reworked my schedule so I could come on full-time and still do a modified schedule of what I do here. It has been a neat combination of in-person and outdoor bikes with Peloton people too.
I started riding. I got a Peloton at home as well. I hadn’t ridden the one in the studio because it’s the original bike. It doesn’t have a power meter. It was very frustrating to me because I have a hard bike in my studio, and my numbers looked terrible. I was embarrassed. I was like, “This is no fun.” I had my ego. I was like, “I look weak. I’m not weak.” It was at work. Who wants to go to work to get sweaty? Not me.
I had a couple of surgeries. I typically would ride my bike on a trainer and do virtual reality stuff. Zwift is the virtual reality platform that I use. I decided it would be hard to get on and off the trainer. That was my excuse. I got the Bike+ here. I have embraced the Power Zone program. I’m on the Sober Squad team. I love them. They’re awesome. They high-fived everybody. It’s a super positive group. I got fit. I started the year at zero fitness. My CTL or Chronic Training Load was zero. I did a five-minute ride in my slippers and averaged eleven Watts. It was the best day of my life. I built huge fitness by riding the Peloton. We had rain here. We don’t usually get more than a couple of days. We had four months. I rode thousands of miles inside my Peloton this winter.
Team Wilpers is doing all of the Power Zone challenges now too. They started doing that.
They started outdoor bike challenges but you could also do them on a Peloton or a Zwift. It’s a cycling challenge in general. A year ago, Team Wilpers launched their running challenges, and they have been super popular. It’s a way to introduce a little more structured coaching to folks who have always looked at a screen and picked a class. They had so many requests in the first two cycling challenges to do some Peloton-based, not outdoor riding.
They’re launching a Peloton-based Power Zone challenge separate from Power Zone Pack because there’s another program there. We will see how it goes. It will be a little different. There have been some questions, “How does this affect the relationship with Power Zone Pack?” It’s a very different program. You have a coach and a curator. Matt chose all the classes, which was part of what they wanted to do.
That’s an improvement. It’s always concerned me because I used to do the Power Zone challenges a long time ago before the website existed. It was always a concern. You don’t know how it’s being made. You don’t have somebody checking, “This is how much load. This is how much you’re using your body in this way. Here’s how to put the strength in.” I ended up getting certified through NASM as a personal fitness trainer because I wanted to understand, “What should I be doing?” I wanted to teach myself that. It raised my awareness of that concern. It’s good that there’s somebody picking those classes specifically that has the understanding of how that’s being programmed. That’s cool. Is that how you got into running too because of those running challenges?
Who starts running at 50? I was 52 or 53 when I started. I have competed in a duathlon. I’ve dabbled in running since high school. That was always my torture. I thought, “I should run. It should be a good exercise.” It’s portable. When I go on vacation, I can run. When I can’t have a bike, I can run but I never was consistent with it. I have some congenital hip issues. I have bilateral FAI and then torn labrum. I had hip surgery in 2017.
Long story short, I competed in a duathlon on and off for fifteen years. I would have the fastest bike split of the day and get destroyed on the run because I never trained it. I wouldn’t train. I would be out there chugging away at a pace that was nowhere near where I could do on the bike. I didn’t win the duathlon yet again because I couldn’t run. I couldn’t walk the first day. The next day, I decided, “What would happen if I run? If I trained to run, could I win this race?”
That was October 2019. I started running. My partner at the time was a hardware engineer at Apple, and because of our involvement in the fitness world and his involvement in the hardware world, we got lots of cool opportunities to beta-test stuff in the fitness realm, including the Stryd power meter. I started running. A couple of weeks in, he put this thing on my shoe. I was like, “What do I do with this?” He’s like, “It’s a power meter on your bike.” I collected data with it for a long time.
I ran a 5K, and it was a disaster. I ran a Christmas race. I had one goal, “Don’t go too hard.” I paced myself with what I thought would be the right pace group. All the fast guys were there. I went too hard, and I had an asthma attack. I had to walk, and it was embarrassing but I had a cute candy cane dress on. I did the Hot Chocolate 15K, and it was better. I didn’t go too hard. That’s an interesting race because it’s 5K downhill, 5K out and back along the ocean, so you have a tailwind and a headwind depending on the year, and then a 5K uphill. Pacing is a very interesting challenge for that. With power, you can pace based on power versus perceived exertion, heart rate, or pace, which is what most people do.
I raced a half marathon, and I had an okay time. I was right around two hours. I was like, “I’m going to come back and win this.” That’s what I said to myself that day, “I’m going to come back a year later and win this half marathon.” The pandemic hit. Two weeks later, we shut down. I kept running. There were a lot of virtual events. I was an ambassador for a running program called Mermaid Series out here in California. I wasn’t motivated by virtual events. I didn’t do them but I kept training. I got to race again in the Fall of 2021. All of a sudden, I was on the podium. I was like, “This training stuff works.” I did a few races, went back, and won the half marathon, which is great.
I hired a coach. I’ve had two coaches in the running world. One was not a good choice for me but I hired Steve Palladino as my running coach, and he was awesome. He’s an amazing power-based coach. I learned a lot from him and had a great season until I didn’t. I did my last 10K and won that. I won The Giant Race in San Francisco. I couldn’t run at all about two weeks later. I had a knee injury, chronic plantar fasciitis, and a bunch of things. The lake shut down, and I was like, “I’m done.”
That was in September 2022. We will see. I’ve run a mile since then. I had knee surgery. Three months after the knee surgery, I went out and ran a mile. I was like, “I can probably do this again but it doesn’t feel great.” I have all these cycling goals issues. I’m going to resume in October 2023. I’m going to ride the Gran Fondo Hincapie in Greenville, which a lot of the Peloton road riders do. Matt and a bunch of his coaches do it as well. I’m going to join them.
I’m going to try to run again and see if it’s within reach. It is hard on your body but so is cycling. They’re both hard but in different ways. Cycling is high repetition. That’s stressful. Running is high impact but with running, you can train appropriately and find your threshold. I was running six days a week and doing pretty high mileage. It was more than my 57-year-old body could do at that point.
When you choose your coach, choose someone who understands your demographic a little more. I had this great coach who coaches mostly twenty-year-old men but he knew me from the bike racing world. He took me on. We had me doing too much volume. I couldn’t recover. I couldn’t handle it. We negotiated my being able to spend more time on the bike as cross-training, which I would do very differently now. I could split the time and get that training value in without the impact. We will see. I’ll keep riding bikes.
We will have to check in again.
I have a whole closet full of running shoes that are very sad. I was running, and my training shoes were Brooks’ Ghost. I had racing shoes.
Crystal is like, “What size?”
You’re not using them. I’m kidding.
I like colors. Anytime they would come out with all their new colors, I would buy a whole bunch of them. I would have them rotate. I had to change to all Hokas, which was a very interesting transition. I raced in Hokas and trained in Hokas. I have trail shoes and trail racing shoes. I have lots of shoes. I had them all hanging on the door in the closet. I finally put them all in a bin. I was like, “These have to go away for now.”
“They need to stop looking at me.”
They’re judging you.
I understand. I feel that so much.
They’re so pretty. There are all these colors like candy. I liked running. What I realized I liked about running was competing. I am a relatively competitive person. It’s my personality even as a kid. Outside of sports, I’m competitive. In bike racing, there’s no age group racing for women until you get to the state level or the national level. Your local races don’t have it. At my age, I don’t want to compete with the teenagers and the twenty-year-olds, not even from a fitness point of view but they take risks that I can’t take. I can’t get injured or I can’t do my job. I don’t want to crash my bike. In racing, there’s age group racing. I was like, “I can compete. This is fulfilling that need.” That’s what motivated me to get up and do those runs every morning even when I was in discomfort.
That makes a lot of sense. I get that. I never thought about that.
The big takeaway is don’t train and race through injury. That was silly. I should have known better. I felt like my coach was going to retire at the end of the year, so he was a limited quantity. I was trying to qualify for Boston. I had a registration for CIM or California International Marathon, which is the fastest Boston qualifier. I was like, “I’m going to make this happen.” We couldn’t get me beyond 14 miles. We couldn’t do it.
I’m sorry. I know how frustrating that is.
I retired instead of him retiring. I had knee surgery. I did another surgery as well. With the knee surgery, I had both a medial and a lateral tear. I would run on the medial one for a long time. I knew I had it since 2016 at least. It didn’t bother me but I got hit with a wave in Maui. That’s where I got the lateral tear. It sheared my leg out from under me. It was a very hard decision though because I was functional except for running. I was greedy. I wanted to run again. I could ride and work. I didn’t have pain except two days after one point when I had an irritation running but I was like, “I want to run again.” I had knee surgery. We will see.
Good luck. We are rooting for you.
At the end of the day, I choose to participate in a sport that I know has risks but everything in life has risks. The benefits for me of riding a bike are being healthy, the social aspect of it, being outside, and seeing, smelling, and hearing the world. I’ve been able to ride my bike all over the world. I wouldn’t have done that if I was a beer-drinking and smoking theater person. The bike has taken me to amazing places. I know that there are risks involved but I choose to continue to ride because the benefits outweigh the risks for me. That’s a good thing but we shouldn’t have to think about the risks that way.
What is your leaderboard name?
That makes sense.
It’s my business name. My online moniker for most things has been Velo Girl. I was so late to the Peloton world. I went to pick VeloGirl, and there are 1,000 of them. I was like, “I’m not VeloGirl1010. I’m going to be original. I don’t want those numbers.” I chose my business name.
It should have been TheVeloGirl.
There’s a joke about that. There was an article about me in Bicycling Magazine back in 2003. At that time, there were no women’s organizations anywhere. There were no race teams or clubs. There was nothing. We were very original. We were recognized by USA Cycling for many years as the Women’s Club of the Year, the New Club of the Year, and all these things.
All the people who ride bikes would read this article in Bicycling Magazine. We would go out on rides, and people would be like, “Are you the Velo Girl?” They would say it to whoever was in our kit. They’re like, “That’s not me.” “Do you know the Velo Girl?” We also used to joke we would be the Golden Velo Girls. I was in my 30s when I started this club. Here I am almost 60, and I’m still doing the thing. I’m like, “It’s happening. We’re aging with this.” It’s an amazing sport. You can continue to participate in your 60s, 70s, and 80s. It changes. eBikes will be in the future.
It’s very inspiring. I appreciate that you shared all of this. There are so many people that don’t know about all these amazing things you’ve done. It’s cool to be able to share that and inspire other people to do cool things. They don’t have to be held back by fears or because they’re uncomfortable on a bike. They can get fitted.
Thank you for the opportunity. I love to chat and get people turned on about riding bikes. It’s a great sport and however you want to ride bikes, indoors or outdoors.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to join us. Before we let you go, let everybody know where they can find you in all the places.
I am on Instagram as @SavvyBike and also @VeloGirls. Probably the easiest way to find me is through my websites, VeloGirls.com and SavvyBike.com. One is the women’s cycling club. The other is the coaching organization. I am active on Facebook and Instagram. I’m mostly lurking these days. I don’t post as much anymore but I like to see what everybody else is doing and spit out a comment here or there.
That’s wonderful. Thank you so much.
I guess that brings this episode to a close. Until next time, where can people find you?
People can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/crystaldokeefe. They can find me on Instagram, all socials, and the Peloton leaderboard @ClipOutCrystal.
You can find me on Twitter @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/tomokeefe. You can find the show online on Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page and join the group. Don’t forget our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/TheClipOut. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep pedaling and running and rowing.
About Lorri Lown
Since she started riding in 1999, Lorri has participated in charity cycling events such as CA AIDS Ride and MS Waves to Wine and raced cyclocross, road, track and mountain bikes. Lorri also piloted a blind tandem to 3 bronze medal finishes in the 2013 US Paracycling Track National Championship.
As an active member of the cycling community, Lorri founded one of the first all-women’s cycling organizations in the US, Velo Girls and directed the Women’s Outreach Programs for Sea Otter Classic. She has been involved with the governance of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition as well as the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA), and chaired the Yoplait Women’s Grassroots Cycling Initiative.
Lorri was a featured speaker at the first-ever USA Cycling Women’s Coaching Summit as well as at Interbike. She has worked as a bicycle tour guide for Undiscovered Country Tours and has toured throughout the United States, Spain, New Zealand and Australia.
Lorri developed the award-winning Tri-Flow Development Racing Program, Trips for Kids’ “Girls Day in the Dirt” program, worked with Turning Wheels for Kids, and is the road cycling coach for the AIDS/Lifecycle Training Ride Leader Certification program. She has coached teams and clubs throughout California including the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League and the NCNCA Early Bird Training Series and has been a guest coach with AthletiCamps and the Specialized Women’s Sports Camp. Lorri believes the bike should be FUN and she has worked tirelessly to promote cycling in all forms through her skills clinics, community outreach, and educational programs.
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