So, I'm sure most of you have heard of Peloton, the somewhat cultish home bike system that uses an enormous android tablet to allow live and pre recorded spin classes to be blasted in the users face.
Now, I am not rich, I cannot afford an exercise bike that is close on £2000, nor the requisite subscription to use the classes for £39 a month... Also, what's the point in a blind guy having a 24 inch screen because, let's face it, that's what you're paying for.
I decided to create my own system for a fraction of the price and without being locked into any particular app.
Note: there are plenty of YouTube videos and blog posts spread across the wilderness of the web that cover the finer details, but I thought I'd talk about it from an accessibility perspective using apple hardware with a couple of little additions.
I purchased the Sunny 1805 bike in the UK for £330 though I have seen it go as low as £220 and as high as £470 on amazon. Note to UK purchasers, the warrantee does not extend outside the USA... Which is probably why it's so much cheaper.
it's basically a peloton bike without the digital hardware. No heart rate monitor, no cadence sensor, no screen, no speakers, just mechanical hardware and a magnetic 20 kg fly wheel.
Now, the Peloton app is completely accessible though, unlike apple fitness, does not have audio description and it is arguably more complicated than apple fitness in that not all information is called out and the cadence that is set does not necessarily fit to the beat of the music as it does with apple fitness, which is a great benefit to those of us with some rhythm.
I also purchased a Wahoo cadence sensor that connects to the Peloton app. Once in a ride you can tap on metrics at the bottom of the screen > cadence, and once connected, you can leave VoiceOver focus on the cadence which it will call out to you each time it updates, about every twenty seconds or so. As yet, apple fitness have not included cadence in their workouts but, as I said before, they work to the beat of the music which may make the addition redundant.
I use my Apple Watch as a heart rate sensor, AirPods to pump the beats into my brain and either my iPhone or iPad mini, depending which is closest to hand on the tablet stand on the bars.
This setup, though early days, seems pretty solid to me. There are a few things you don't get if you don't have the peloton full fat set up, leader boards, automatic resistance change and such, but for a fraction of the price, I'm still getting the majority of the benefits.
This also allows me, as you might have guessed, to jump back and forth from apple fitness to Peloton and, in the future to other apps.
Just one more thing, if you have an Apple TV hooked up and a fat sound system, you can really go for it as a lot of these apps have Apple TV counterparts.
It's often hard for us to find accessible means of exercising, I'm really glad I've got this. It has all the juicy metrics I crave, can see improvements, close my rings and generally gives me a mood boost.
Please don't hesitate to ask anything about the setup... Maybe I can't answer but I'm sure there will be others who have solutions.
Also, what biking apps do you recommend? Are there any games that exist similar to zombies run for the exercise bike?
now I need a shower... Yep, wrote this sweaty.