Like a lot of people I know, the last few months have been a weird experience, both mind and body-wise. The activities and movement that were just built in to my day pre-pandemic (from commutes to after work activities to weekends with friends) were just no longer there. More and more the motivation to move and connect with my body and be active had to be totally internally motivated and, given my quarantine situation and considerations, mostly solo endeavors. So for a while, save for solo hikes with a dog or some outdoor yoga, I felt pretty sedentary. (And, for me, that translated to feeling pretty dang awful and disconnected with my body.)
So I was on the hunt for something to disrupt these patterns and came across the Flexispot Cycle Desk Bike. It had gone viral on TikTok with new and veteran WFH life folks marveling at its multi-task potential (and I, being an irrelevant Old™ who isn’t on TikTok often, saw rumbles about it on Twitter and decided to go for it.)
And man, do I love it? Despite never being a spin fanatic (I took one class and realize I’m too much of a grump for the inspirational spin instructor chatter. I don’t like chatter.), I found that indoor cycling/stationary biking/whatever we call this is actually my jam. Since I brought this weird little contraption into my home, it has improved my relationship to movement (when I would otherwise be sitting and staring at emails) like exponentially. I know that I will never be a Peloton person (I am neither in the tax bracket nor the kind of fitness class person that would enjoy it) — but I am definitely a weird peddle desk person.
Since I got my bike, I do tend to start and end my day with a solid 15-20 minutes of pedaling. It’s not a guaranteed full-chest spin workout on the daily, but that was never really going to be me anyway. I find that I also use my zone out time (those special brain-soothing moments between meetings or tasks) to start cycling away. When I have little frustrating moments throughout my day too, riding out the aggression or stress like I’m on a human hamster wheel (I mean that in the best way possible) totally helps me feel better and ready to sweat out/pedal out my bad mood.
When I’m not in the mood to ride it’s also a perfectly serviceable and sturdy standing desk that lets me move out of my previously scheduled gargoyle hunch on the couch. (A development my back and neck totally love for me.)
A bit more about the bike
Now my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. The bike arrives in two pieces, ready to slide into place and assemble (no stressful small pieces to lose and very few ways to mess it up). It’s sturdy and easy to adjust and move around and it’s on wheels but it isn’t going anywhere unless you push it or pull it. The seat is fairly comfortable, all things considered, but I do find myself shifting to standing when my butt is tired of being in the one spot and I’m not actively pedaling. This is more of a feature than a bug for me, TBH.
The cost for the bike with the desk clocked in at $299.99 when I got mine — not the cheapest, but far more in my price range than a bike pushing near or over the $1,800 mark. And currently via Flexispot’s website you can save an extra $90 on it’s original $349.99 price tag.
It’s not a super high-tech ride but has some of the basics to track distance, speed, calories and other data if you’re the type of person who likes to log numbers on that sort of thing.
As far as the workout you’re getting from this bike, you can definitely get your heart rate up — there’s eight resistance levels to move through — but it’s not necessarily going to be a perfect dupe for elite expensive spin bikes (but, again, that’s not really what one is going for when they get a bike like this.) You can definitely, with good form and good posture, do the work of activating your core and your buttocks and feel a really solid leg workout. And you’ll feel it if you do an all-out sprint.
It may not be the ideal bike if you’re trying to compete with the Pelotons or other hardcore cycling bikes or follow along with those kind of workouts — as the lack of real functional handlebars (they’re under the desk and more used to adjust its height/angle than anything) won’t make it easy or really doable to be up and out of saddle as many spin workouts would have you do.
But if you are in the market for a great way to incorporate more movement into your every day and can really get into the idea of popping on a movie or True Crime documentary and just pedaling it out? This ride may be the thing you’ve been waiting for.
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A version of this story was published November 2020.
Before you go, check out our favorite workout recovery products for soothing your post-ride bod: