A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

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fishnskiguy
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A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by fishnskiguy »

First, a little background. I'm 77 years old and have seven marathons and maybe 40 or 50 10K's to half marathons under my belt. However, I am by no means a good athlete as my best marathon time was a crappy 3:03:30, which at the time was too slow to qualify for Boston.

At age 50, after pounding all the cartilage out of my right knee I switched to biking. I have 64,522 miles on my current bike, a 21 year old Specialized Stump Jumper hard tail mountain bike. I've done a couple dozen century rides, including Colorado's Triple Bypass as well as Iowa's famous RAGBRAI, the across the state, week long ride. As I said, I'm not much of an athlete but I think I throw off a ton of endorphins when I exercise.

Two years ago I decided it was time to only ride in residential areas where the speed limit was 25 mph or less. That limited me to our subdivision and the next one over. In order to get in a 20 mile ride I had to do a lot of back tracking and loops. By this September I was starting to feel like a hamster on a treadmill.

So I started to look for alternatives. I checked out Peloton and quickly realized that at my age the last thing in life I needed was a 20's something sculpted hottie yelling at me to pedal faster. :) As Dirty Harry said, “A man's got to know his limitations”, and I do.

After many hours of talking to bike shops, surfing the internet and watching about a hundred You Tube videos I have put together what I call my bicycle simulator. You know, something like one those multi-million dollar aircraft simulators pilots go to to train on and get checked out in, except I'm in this thing for my bike for less than $2,000.

First, I got a “smart” bike trainer and downloaded a couple trial smart trainer apps onto my wife's laptop. There are about 20 bike trainer apps out there but most are very race training oriented. There is even one called Sufferfest for crying out loud, if you are into that sort of thing.

You attach your bike to the smart trainer, and the smart trainer talks via blue tooth to the app you are watching on your tablet, computer, or other device, and responds properly to the ride you are looking at. As the grade of the ride increases the pedal effort also increase. As you go down hill the pedal effort drops accordingly. It is quite realistic. Really neat.

The two apps I looked at were Zwift, by far the most popular bike trainer app, and FulGaz which is close to the top. Zwift was fine, but the app and terrain are pure video game. FulGaz, on the other hand was fantastic. All the rides are videos taken by actual riders using Go Pro cameras mounted on their bike. After just two test rides on FulGaz I was so jazzed I decided to upgraded my rig.

I bought an inexpensive dedicated 42” 4K Samsung TV, a tripod stand to mount it on, and an Apple TV into which I downloaded FulGaz. The TV, with the Apple TV connected sits three feet in front of my bike and smart trainer. Between my bike and the TV is a Wahoo Kikr Headwind Fan which I bought to complement my Wahoo Kikr Core smart trainer. The only fan mode I use is the one in which the fan speed is the same as the bike speed. Super neat!

Since completing my build in the first week of November, I have put the back wheel back on my bike exactly once to do my regular outdoor ride. I am utterly stoked with my indoor rig and FulGaz. I have ridden every day since then in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, California, Nevada, Montana, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia.

I certainly won't completely stop riding out doors. When the weather warms back up in the spring I suspect I'll do mostly real rides, at least until it turns really hot.

So if you don't really love to bike ride and need to be motivated to get your exercise, or you are really time limited, a Peloton is probably the way to go. But if riding is your thing, check out a smart bike trainer and some of the apps that can go with it. It's the bees knees when the weather turns bad.

Chris
Trident D-5 SLBM- "When you care enough to send the very best."
interwebopinion
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by interwebopinion »

Very cool!
Hebell
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Hebell »

Thank you for posting this. If I wasn't in such a small condo, and in Florida in a community where I can ride on a path even when the weather is hot in the summertime, later in the evening, I'd do this! Knowing about this app is cool.
Normchad
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Normchad »

That sounds like a really cool setup!
HawkeyePierce
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by HawkeyePierce »

I have a similar setup. I picked up a Schwinn IC4 when it was on sale earlier this year ($700ish I think). It's roughly similar to a Peloton but has no screen and doesn't have an integrated subscription service. It *does* have a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and bike computer however and is compatible with pretty much all the major fitness services (Peloton, Zwift, etc).

I picked up an el cheapo 32" display on Cyber Monday for $90 with built-in Roku—Peloton has a Roku app and for others I can use a Chromecast I had lying around. Right now I'm working through the various free trials to decide which app I like the best. I just finished a Peloton ride a few minutes ago.

This setup is intended to keep me biking through the winters (I'm too much of a wuss to bike on snow or ice). I also picked up a set of resistance bands, yoga mat and a Bowflex kettlebell to round out my new workout room.
life in slices
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by life in slices »

Awesome!

I am a Zwift fan and spend much of the winter on the trainer

Built a rockerplate last season to give side to side & back and forth motion which makes the ride much more enjoyable
https://photos.app.goo.gl/SqtoRWsbV1qRtdyV6

There is an active group on facebook ("rocker plate") that you can search for if you want design ideas

Happy Biking!
Onlineid3089
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Onlineid3089 »

I picked up a Kickr in mid November and have been liking it so far. I haven't dabbled in an app to use with it yet, so I love the feedback on FulGaz as Zwift is what I have been thinking of trying. I'm just not interested in racing or competitive riding, I like to just chill out for an hour or two at whatever pace I feel like.

I have been starting to clue my wife in to the fact that I probably am going to have to buy a 2nd bike next summer so I can have one dedicated to the Kickr :beer
BlueCable
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by BlueCable »

We have been Zwift fans for years. The smart trainer setup works great for us since we are avid outdoor cyclists and like to ride the same bikes inside rather than a stationary bike.
Hebell
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Hebell »

Thanks to you, dear OP, I spent 2 hours watching the YouTube videos on trainer setups, and the various apps! That was not on my list of things to do today! I Really WANT this.
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Horton
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Horton »

My Peloton alternative is pulling a bike trailer with at least one kid in it around the hilly neighborhood. Put two kids in that trailer and it’s a pretty good workout.
redstar
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by redstar »

I just started using Apple Fitness+ (free trial with my watch purchase). I have a fairly cheap, no-frills Sunny bike from Amazon. I like it so far! My only wish is that there was some way to digitally see resistance/cadence and match it with the video. I think that integration would be nice if I got into it long term.
$tar-Lord
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by $tar-Lord »

My solution:
$300 spin bike (Amazon) - weighted flywheel, felt friction pads (need silicone lube every so often)
$300 58" smart tv (Walmart)
$110 rolling tv stand (Amazon)

I like Youtube motorsport pump up vids with engines and music, gets the endo rush going!
Some walking tours, if they have fun historical facts and I play my own music.
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Monk
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Monk »

Awesome! I just finished the Rapha Festive 500 on my Kickr Core 20 min ago. I agree about the graphics and UI on zwift being a little silly and outdated, but I started competing in a racing league last fall and made the fastest fitness gains of my life.
TheoBanana
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by TheoBanana »

I have been indoor training for about 10 years and using Trainerroad since it came along. I switch from the Kickr to a dedicated Stages SB20 recently. Zwift bored me but many of my cycling buddies are addicted to the races.
catdoctor
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by catdoctor »

I have friends that have Zwift and like it a lot. I will keep my Peloton.
eli80
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by eli80 »

I bought a Saris smart trainer in November. I do 1to 1 1/2 hour rides. I am using the free app trials that came with it. I tried Rouvy and really liked the video rides. I am using TrainerRoad now. I like the training but not as visually interesting. I wish I could combine the 2 without paying double. I will try Zwift next. I have the apps on my iphone and connect to TV with an HDMI cable and connector.
mtn biker
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by mtn biker »

I use my road bike on a Kicker Snap trainer connected to an app called Rouvy. It has video of the course so you can watch the scenery, but more importantly it can be set up for "races" that my friends and I can all join. Then we see each other as dots on the map, and when close to each other Rouvy shows the other bikers in the video. You can even get a draft when biking behind someone. There is something to biking with a friend, even if that person is in a different city and in their basement just like you. Shared enjoyment or shared misery or whatever it is, it works and I get a better workout from it, with higher heart rate and effort on my part. And I'm much less likely to blow it off if I know friends are out there and will see me missing if I don't show up.
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fishnskiguy
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by fishnskiguy »

So how realistic and immersive is FulGas on my 42" flat screen? Well, the first ride I did after the upgrade was on a rural English road. Ten minutes into the ride as I was biking down a very narrow road with ten foot high hedges right up to the asphalt on both sides, I go into a fairly fast left hand bend just as a car appears coming toward me. I literally leaned and swerved the handlebars to the left to avoid a head on collision. :shock: That's when it dawned on me that I can ride this thing forever and never get hurt. :D

Chris
Trident D-5 SLBM- "When you care enough to send the very best."
Onlineid3089
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Onlineid3089 »

Horton wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:21 pm My Peloton alternative is pulling a bike trailer with at least one kid in it around the hilly neighborhood. Put two kids in that trailer and it’s a pretty good workout.
How old is a kid supposed to be before you start pulling them around in the bike trailers? Our first is due in March. I've been telling the wife that I should be able to strap his car seat into a trailer and take him out for rides. She isn't so sure about that.
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Horton
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Horton »

Onlineid3089 wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:25 pm
Horton wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:21 pm My Peloton alternative is pulling a bike trailer with at least one kid in it around the hilly neighborhood. Put two kids in that trailer and it’s a pretty good workout.
How old is a kid supposed to be before you start pulling them around in the bike trailers? Our first is due in March. I've been telling the wife that I should be able to strap his car seat into a trailer and take him out for rides. She isn't so sure about that.
My youngest is 16 months. I think you probably want to wait at least a year until they can sit upright and stay buckled without screaming the entire time. In the interim, you could could get a jogging stroller. We have a Bob and really like it. Running while pushing a double stroller with 2 kids is a lot of work...I mostly walk.
400401402
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by 400401402 »

I have used this set up (smart trainer + road bike) for almost 4 years now. I love it for 6-7 months of the year when weather is not great for outdoor recreational biking in New England (I like warm weather for recreational biking). Lot cheaper and flexible than Peloton; never liked the spin machines (tried one spin class and never returned). I get Zwift subscription sometimes, but most times, I just watch a movie or listen to a podcast while biking on smart trainer; also do HIIT some times on the same setup.
MP173
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by MP173 »

I use an Expresso stationary bike system (at the local Y) and have found it a good (not great) alternative to actual outdoor riding.

It has a number of routes, which are animated, but feature hills, curves, scenery, etc. I typically invest about an hour on it five days a week. It works well for me during the winter months or summer when it is too hot or wet.

OP...sounds like you have a great system!

Ed
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Hubris »

Just set it up this fall:
Specialized Sirrus with Jones Bars on Wahoo Kickr, then added Tickr Fit HR monitor and using Sufferfest on iPad which sits nicely atop the Jones Bars. When not doing Sufferfest workouts, I use one of the Open rides of 15-120 minutes and listen to the news, etc.
lightheir
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by lightheir »

Good on OP for keeping up the fitness!

I will point out as an aside, that the typical Peloton user doesn't overlap at all with the road cycling (or ex-road cycling) people. Peloton users are in for a 'fitness experience' and could care less if they ever ride a bike for real outside. I'm always amazed as a triathlete, when I ask the hordes of peloton users if they'd be interested in doing an outdoor bike ride to use all their hard-earned pedaling fitness, and they look at me like "Why the HECK would I want to ride outdoors?"

Zwift / Fulgaz / Rouvy all work great for road cyclists seeking the indoor experience.

I've found Zwift to be far and away the most engaging if used properly, mainly because of the group dynamic riding. If I were just riding by myself and ignoring everyone else on Zwift, I'd favor the other ones, but group fondos, races, and even group workouts are hellaciously fun on Zwift. It's just as addictive as on-road when you've been riding with a pack of 10 riders for the past 1.5 hrs, and then the attacks start coming for real, and you're throwing down maximum power just to try and stay with the pack, and then next thing you know you're off the front leading it, and now you can't show weakness so you put down even MORE power to bring on the hurt....great stuff! I've had some pretty epic riding experiences on Zwift, all of them in big group rides. The solo riding is a 'meh- it's ok' experience.
Kruser64
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Kruser64 »

fishnskiguy wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:48 pm I checked out Peloton and quickly realized that at my age the last thing in life I needed was a 20's something sculpted hottie yelling at me to pedal faster. :)
Are you sure about that, ha ha. :happy Anyway, for the Peloton I just listen to my own music while doing their "scenic rides". Also sometimes I use the secret browser to watch YouTube. (No stats when you do that though.) Just pointing out that the Peloton is not only classes. I also think the bike is quiet and of pretty good quality.
Boglegirl81
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Re: A fantastic alternative to a Peloton (at least for me)

Post by Boglegirl81 »

Onlineid3089 wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:25 pm
Horton wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:21 pm My Peloton alternative is pulling a bike trailer with at least one kid in it around the hilly neighborhood. Put two kids in that trailer and it’s a pretty good workout.
How old is a kid supposed to be before you start pulling them around in the bike trailers? Our first is due in March. I've been telling the wife that I should be able to strap his car seat into a trailer and take him out for rides. She isn't so sure about that.
You should read the bike trailer manual for a good answer to that, but for entertainment watch Danny MacAskill’s Daycare video on YouTube.
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