It all started on Facebook. Peloton Member Lori Cowen shared a photo on the Official Peloton Member Page of her father, Stanley, riding in jeans on her new Peloton bike, and two thousand likes later, the entire Peloton community was rooting for the Cowen family’s newest rider. At 68 years old, Stanley Cowen has survived five heart attacks, 12 stents, and quadruple bypass surgery, so his first ride was a thrill for Stanley, Lori, and his wife Vicki, all of whom are now riding with Peloton. We had to let the Cowens explain how they share the bike, their approach to working out, and the reason for their obsession, in their own words.
Stanley: My daughter bought the bike–
Lori: Can I talk? I got the bike. I’m an overnight pet sitter, I stay at people’s houses, and I had a client who was really far away from my gym who showed me how to use her Peloton. I lived there for a month and became obsessed with it–I had my bike delivered when I was still staying at her house. I wanted both of my parents to use it, but my dad didn’t start using it for about a month and a half. He went down in his blue jeans and lasted 10 minutes of a 20 minute ride. And then he just became obsessed with it. I say I have to hide the shoes–I’ve never met this competitive side of my dad before.
Stanley: We rescue dogs, and this machine is a pet; it’s a part of the family. After my quadruple bypass, I was thinking “oh, should I join the fitness center, I like to swim, but I don’t like the treadmill or regular stationary bikes,” and this is just so much fun. When Lori was teaching me about it, it was so much easier–the instructors tell you what to do, and you do it. If you’re bored and not doing anything, you can hop on and have fun. It’s just a wonderful piece of equipment and it gives me the exercise I need. I get a good 30 minute workout, or 20, or sometimes 45. I’m very competitive with myself, I push myself, but I do know my limits.
Lori: I’m always at the bottom of the leaderboard and I’m okay with that. As long as I get a good workout, I’m happy with that. I look at people that I’m following, or not at all.
Stanley: I’m going for the numbers. I’m going for the top 25. My daughter puts me with riders 60 and over, but I still get beaten. I’m going for 3,000 rides.
Lori: I did a challenge in September where groups of four people did 1,500 miles in a month, and I found a member who was getting 1,000 output on a single ride. I told my dad about him because I was like, Dad, this is what people who are #1 are doing. So my dad is going up against him.
Stanley: I do have a lot of heart issues, and I wanted to make sure everything was working before I started. My doctor doesn’t want me to exercise outside in the summer or when it’s 10 degrees outside, that’s not healthy for me, so because it’s in the house, it’s so great.
Vicki: I just sit back and observe how Lori describes Stanley and it’s just a wonderful, wonderful thing. I use the bike too, and I just use it for my own enjoyment; I love the soundtracks. If it’s snowing, it’s right there in the house. I think it is fantastic. Lori tries to keep Stanley under control, and that’s why she started sharing about it, it’s really so fun.
Stanley: My wife has only hung one piece of clothing on the machine, which I was very upset about. I just have to outdo myself each time I’m on it. I have to get that little gold sticker.
Lori: I tried to tell him most people don’t PR every time.
Stanley: But I do. I’ve been an athlete all my life, and I have to do that.
Vicki: After Lori got Stanley on the bike I said, “You’ve created a monster.” He’ll say he’s tired and he’s not going to do the bike today, and then Lori texts me and says “He did the bike.” I love the whole concept of it. I love the community, the people that are so into it and tell their stories.
Lori: My mom’s in the Facebook group with me, and I think it’s fun to get to ride with my dad. We text each other; I’ll tell him JJ has a class tomorrow, and he also really likes Alex’s teaching style. It’s fun to talk about, to share the music. We have one bike and we all have to figure out when to use it. When I visited the studio in New York, I told them the classes I was going to take where they might be able to see me, and my parents were going to split the class–my dad was just going to do the first half, and my mom texted me after that he wouldn’t get off. It was his first 45 minute ride.
Stanley: She needed a close-up.
Vicky: It was really fun. After watching so many classes, there was Lori. It was kind of surreal, and it’s preserved now. I love the instructors, the soundtracks, the options.
Lori: My parents are total opposites on the bike. My dad gets on and he’s pushing himself, he’s high-fiving, he’s out of breath trying to beat everyone. My mom is at resistance 25, dancing and singing and having fun, she doesn’t care. They’re totally opposite, but they both have fun.
Stanley: I was an avid bike rider in my 20s, and rode in the mountains in the Catskills and in Canada. I loved the biking trips, it was a lot of fun doing it, and this bike just brings me back. It’s a fun thing to have. It’s the screen, the people, the instructors, the mindset; it gives me exercise and goes by really quickly.
Lori: Every Feature Friday, I’m going to say there needs to be parental controls on the leaderboard so I can hide the leaderboard from him. I want my dad to beat his score, not try to be #1. He wants everyone else to slow down so he can win.
Stanley: The community is fun–people are talking to you, they’re supportive which is nice. When Lori wrote about me, people wrote in and asked “Can I be adopted?” and I thought sure, I’ll adopt all of them, hope you like dogs. I really have to do it for health reasons, but my competitiveness keeps me coming back.