Let me make one thing very clear: I fucking love to hop on a bandwagon. I spent 2020 making banana bread and posting purposely grainy-filtered photos of it. I rub Glossier products all over my face even though I know the difference of no-makeup makeup is undetectable to the naked eye. Vodka is my nemesis and I have a stomach as weak as Notes App apology, but I will order an espresso martini anytime there is one on the menu. But, there’s one trend I’ve successfully steered clear of, and that’s blowing a minimum of $1,500 on a Peloton bike.
It hasn’t been easy. At any given moment, there is Peloton propaganda clouding my peripherals. Although I’m almost certain I’ve never intentionally liked a meme that would joke about being “torn between looking like a snack or eating one,” Peloton memes sneak their way onto my explore tab at least once every 72 hours. My friends’ shaky clips depicting the motivational things Peloton instructors shout at them over Spice Girls music have officially knocked concert video Instagram Stories off of their throne. I don’t remember the last time I visited a friend’s apartment and didn’t see a Peloton bike lurking in the shadows like the ghost of a small Victorian child haunting a hotel in a horror movie. Peer pressure has not marketed anything so successfully since Apple rolled out blue bubbles for iMessages and green ones for texts, but still, I remain a Peloton-less individual.
For a brief moment last week, it appeared that the Peloton bubble had finally burst. (Warning: I’m about to drop a serious And Just Like That… spoiler, but I’m sure you’ve already seen it because as we’ve discussed, the Peloton girlies simply cannot keep quiet on social media.) In the first episode of the latest iteration of Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw lost her dear husband Mr. Big after he suffered a fatal heart attack following a ride on a Peloton bike. Had Big perished at the hands of a more inconspicuous fitness regimen, such as the P.Volve P.3 Trainer or the Mirror Home Workout System, the internet would be much more focused on the true issue at hand: trying to figure out why the hell Carrie didn’t call 911 as soon as she realized Big was dying. Instead, HBO Max handed Peloton users yet another reason to talk about their bikes.
Luckily, Peloton has a genius marketing and PR team who have been training for this kind of a crisis ever since their Criminal Minds episode of a 2019 holiday commercial. According to a statement a Peloton spokesperson made to the Los Angeles Times, it took the company only 48 hours to pull together a clapback commercial featuring Chris Noth (the actor who plays Big), Jess King (the Peloton instructor who made a cameo in the show), and Ryan Reynolds (who famously roasted Peloton for their festive snafu two years ago). The video features Jess and a shockingly-still-alive Big chilling by the fire with a disclaimer that no, riding a Peloton will not kill you (might want to get a pulse check on your bank account and your living room’s feng shui, though).
View this post on Instagram
At the time of publication of this article, Peloton’s video has been up for two days and already has 2.5 million views. The internet went absolutely bonkers over it. Like, I have truly not seen people harmoniously agree on something so quickly and so passionately since we all ripped Gal Gadot a new asshole for getting her famous friends to sing “Imagine” a mere seven days after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. There’s no denying that Peloton’s response was impeccable, but the whole ordeal has me feeling a little cynical. On one hand, it smells like a cult when hundreds of thousands of people are sharing an advertisement to their personal social media accounts (for legal reasons, that’s a joke), but on the other hand… there’s never been a lonelier time to be a girl without a Peloton. I haven’t felt this left out since all my friends were getting sleek little Motorola Razrs and I had to stick with a clunky off-brand Sidekick because I had Virgin Mobile. As I clicked through at least a dozen Stories of people reposting the video with “genius” and “well played” captions, I couldn’t help but wonder: if life really is about the journey and not the destination… would I be happier if I spent all day riding a little bike to nowhere in my own living room?
Images: HBO Max; onepeloton / Instagram