We’re All Working (Out) From Home

By WIRED Staff

MC: Oh, that's saying something.

LG: I completely agree though. For a long time, home exercise equipment was a bit of a joke, because people would buy it with such hopes and high expectations, and then ultimately it would become a coat hanger. It's in the basement. You haven't used it in a while. And I use this so consistently, and I will say that I think Peloton has inadvertently built a pretty healthy social network around this too. Although I don't know exactly what their social chops were in the beginning, but it's certainly evolved into that. Now I have friends who will message me and say, "Hey, I'm about to hop on the Peloton. Are you free? Do you want to do a class together?"

There are virtual high fives you can send each other. They were very ahead of the curve with regards to the pandemic Peloton, because you get virtual high fives. You don't even have to touch anybody. That's a fun thing to do. They really celebrate milestones, like your 100th ride, which I just did. And I'm pretty sure Brian did a long time ago. So they've built a community around it that makes you want to go to the equipment that you've spent so much money on and not just treat it like a coat rack.

BB: Lauren, as part of that social push, have you used the Peloton weirdest feature? Which is the fact that the bike has a webcam built into the tablet, and it's there so that you can actually, you can ... You have?

LG: I have, I've used it two or three times. OK.

BB: Tell us about it.

LG: So fun fact about this: Back when I reported on Peloton in 2017 for my prior publication, the Verge, my review ended up turning into a feature because I talked to all these people who were so into Peloton, and it really underscored the pull of this product. And I found out through a source that Michelle Obama had a Peloton, and this source told me that she had a modified Peloton, because there were some security concerns about her having a webcam, right? A camera that essentially could capture the room the first lady is in or what she's doing. And one of the probably least important emails that the press office of Michelle Obama ever received, I had to write a note as part of my fact-checking process and just say, I have information that tells me this. Does the first lady have a Peloton? And does she have a modified version of the tablet, which was very funny. I think they politely declined to answer, but it does have a webcam. And I've tried it with friends a couple of times. So what happens is, once you and a friend are following each other, like you would on a social network, and you're working out together. When you go to the right side of the screen, where you can see what your friend is up to you and their output and all that, there's a button that says Video Chat. And so sometimes, after a friend and I do a virtual ride together, saying, "Hey, great job. Hey, how are things going?" And so I've tried it a couple of times, and I just did it last night with a friend who completed her 100th ride, or century ride.

But because yesterday happened to be one of the smokiest, most apocalyptic days in the history of the Bay Area, no exaggeration, there was no light where I was working out. And it was also very dark where she was, but then she turned the lights on inside. So it was the two of us, trying to have this video chat. I'm in the dark, and I can't really hear her. So we hung up, picked up the phone, and called each other and did FaceTime. So I'd love for there to be some integration with the Peloton tablet, where it's actually a good video chat app, but more likely, you're just going to chat with your friends on the phone, like you normally would. So Brian, I take it you've never used that.