In August 2019, six months before the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, I wrote in this column about the IPO of Peloton, a connected fitness upstart that made expensive stationary bikes and a user-friendly fitness app. “Peloton is so much more than a bike,” its co-founder and CEO John Foley noted in its IPO filing earlier that year. “On the most basic level, Peloton sells happiness.”
A few weeks later, Peloton listed at US$29 a share. The big question at the time was whether the bike was more overvalued than the stock. Regular readers may recall I wrote that I was thinking of buying the bike myself because I liked the instructors on its app but would not touch the overpriced stock. In my mind, I had rationalised that if I had a bike staring at my face every day, I would exercise more rather than let it become an expensive coat hanger.
I ended up neither buying the bike nor Peloton’s stock. At the start of the pandemic, the gym in my condo was shuttered temporarily, suspending my daily 45-minute run on the unconnected treadmill. During the restrictive months of the pandemic, I turned to an hour of running around a park near my home.