A pricy clothes rack? The people struggling to resell their Pelotons

“ANearly every industry will ‘squadronize’ in the post-pandemic world,” trend forecaster and buzzword lover Ion Valis wrote. in a blog post early last year. “Just as the VC catchphrase of the last decade was ‘Uber for X,’ I predict post-pandemic it will be ‘the Squad of Y.'”

You can see why Valis wanted to participate at the start of the exercise. In September 2020, Peloton announced a 172% increase in sales from the previous year and over 1 million new registrations for their streaming classes. The company, which sold its first bike on Kickstarter in 2013, became known as one of a small group of “winners” from the pandemic and, along with Netflix and Amazon, its stock price soared. At the end of 2020, it was valued at $45 billion.

Over the past year, however, the enthusiasm for riding a bike nowhere in your living room has faded. The company reported $1.2 billion in losses. in the second quarter of 2022, with more than 750 layoffs announced just before in addition to the 2,800 employees laid off in February. The share price has fallen 88% in the last year.

The reason for the Peloton era of failure is obvious: once people were able to start working out in gyms and outdoors, the need for an expensive and bulky exercise bike for the home disappeared.

Platooning wasn’t the only pandemic hobby to turn out to be a fad: In kitchen cupboards across the country, bags of flour are turning stale and kombucha scobies are wilting. But the financial outlay for those hobbies was minimal, with most models of the Peloton bike costing more than $2,500. Thousands of bikes now appear on the Facebook and Craigslist marketplace, but can people get back some of their initial investment? Or are they stuck with what has become the most expensive coat rack in history?

“I don’t like having things we don’t use,” Heather and Aron, Scottsdale, AZ

Aron’s unsold platoon. Photography: Aaron

Heather logged around 50 trips during the pandemic, while her son, a homeschooled teenager, took around 350 trips as part of his physical education requirement.

But now gyms in Arizona feel a little safer and his son attends school in person, the Peloton hasn’t been used in about seven months.

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Heather’s husband, Aron, is a strong believer in the Toyota Production System, a management philosophy that prioritizes waste elimination. “Part of that training is that if you haven’t worn something in six months, get rid of it, because all it does is weigh you down in the back of your mind,” he says. “I really don’t like having things we don’t use.”

With that in mind, he listed the bike, which originally cost them $2,250, for $900 about a month ago. They’ve gotten some low bids, but they haven’t gotten rid of them yet. “I thought someone else could use it and save some money because it’s practically brand new. But if they’re going to be so nasty with their offers, it’s not worth selling and dealing with the hassle,” says Aron.

You still have to remove the list. With Peloton recently announcing that they would be raising prices by $500, hopes that selling it makes more sense. “It could be something subconscious that I didn’t remove the ad,” she says. “Now that I know prices are going up, maybe I’ll keep it there.”

‘If I don’t get rid of it, maybe I’ll start using it again’, Andy Mount Kisco, NY

Before the pandemic, Andy had tried everything: he had a treadmill, he went to the gym, he did Hiit and Orangetheory classes. Just before his 50th birthday, the Peloton craze reached its peak. “People kept talking about how amazing Peloton is,” he says. So, for his birthday, he decided to buy one of his as his “big gift” for himself, for $2,200. He started riding it much, trying almost every type of exercise that the Peloton program offered. Eventually, though, he realized that his hip was beginning to give her trouble.

He discovered that he had arthritis in both hips, a problem that the Peloton did not cause. But with the hip pain, he found that he could no longer put as much effort into his workouts as he would like. . “I made a promise to myself that if it ever got to the point where it was hanging up, I’d just cut my losses and let someone else enjoy it,” he says.

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Unfortunately things were not that simple. Your Craigslist ad has been running for 20 days and while there have been a few bites, it hasn’t sold. He’s asking $1,650, a price he knows can be high for a used Peloton. His ad acknowledges that it’s a bit pricey, but says, “if you want a Peloton assembled and ready to go and don’t want to wait or orchestrate a deal on the Peloton timeline, it’s a great deal for basically a new bike.” .

However, he has not yet stopped paying the monthly Peloton membership fee. “Maybe I just don’t like having $60 in my bank every month. I guess there was a part of me that thinks if I don’t get rid of it, maybe I can start using it again.” At the time of writing, he still hasn’t sold it.

‘It’s a place for us to throw clothes away’, Jason, New York

Jason and his wife, Megan, bought their Peloton when Megan became pregnant in October 2021. “Even though the gyms were reopening, since she was pregnant and covid was starting to come up again, we basically made the decision that we needed a good way to so my wife can exercise during her pregnancy,” he says.

They bought the base model Peloton bike for around $1,900, extended warranty and accessories included. Now, just under a year later, Jason is trying to get rid of him.

Part of the problem, he says, was the cleated cycling shoes you need to ride a bike: Peloton sells its own pairs for around $125. “I think almost immediately, he was stressed with the shoes and getting on and off the bike.”

Most significantly, however, his wife’s pregnancy, the main reason they bought the bike in the first place, ended up presenting more challenges to riding the Peloton than they expected. She felt insecure getting on and off the bike, and soon they both stopped using it altogether.

“It’s been more effective as a place to dump clothes,” he says.

In mid-August, he and his wife finally decided to try to get rid of the thing. A little over two weeks after the listing, he was able to find a buyer at his asking price, less than half of what he originally bought.

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“I used it all four times”, Erika, Palo Alto, CA

Before the pandemic, Erika was an avid SoulCycler. When she set up a Peloton shop right next to her regular SoulCycle studio, she didn’t see the appeal of riding at home. But then the pandemic hit and her usual routine was put on hold. For about a year, she considered buying the bike, but the cost of it put her off. “Then as the pandemic dragged on I started to consider it more and felt like I really missed that spinning and that high I get from spin class.”

In the summer of 2021, a neighbor was moving and offered to sell him his bike for little money, around $850. She accepted the offer from her, but it never ended up paying off.

“I used it all four times,” she says. “Dislike. It was a total headache going up to our townhouse. We have a three-story row house and we took it up two flights of stairs, which was the most training I got in all this time.”

He discovered that what he really loved about Soulcycling was the environment. “It was like a nightclub experience in my 20s,” she says. With the Peloton, she was never able to mimic the experience of being in a dark, crowded room with music blaring.

Fortunately, after about three days of mixed offers and back and forth on Craigslist, he was able to sell his for $950, $100 more than he originally bought it for. He sold out to a young attorney who just moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast. He had previously had a Peloton that he had sold instead of carrying it across the country.

Even with the success of the sale, Erika still has doubts about the future of Peloton. “I just think people are doing everything they can to live a pre-pandemic life, and that didn’t include Peloton to begin with,” she says. She has also not returned to SoulCycle. Instead of her, she prefers to ride a real bike to work.

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