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What we bought: Peloton’s Lanebreak offered just the kick I needed to get back in the saddle

The gamified rides put a Guitar Hero-like spin on cycling.
Nicole Lee
N. Lee|04.05.22

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Four years ago, I decided to purchase a Peloton bike. I was spending way too much on membership dues at a luxury gym I hardly attended, and I was intrigued by the idea of an exercise bike with live and on-demand classes. Even though the bike is expensive, I bought it on an installment plan; the monthly payments worked out to be around $100 less than that underused gym membership. Add in the fact that both my husband and I could use it for the price of a single subscription, and I was sold.

While I still do like the bike, I’ll admit that I haven't been using it as much in recent months. I just haven’t been very motivated, and when I do get the energy to go for a ride, I sometimes feel discouraged by my poor performance. Of course, I know that the beauty of the Peloton is that you can ride at your own pace, but it can feel demoralizing to rank at the bottom of the leaderboard all the time.

Recently, however, Peloton added a new “gamified” experience to the Bike and Bike+ called Lanebreak. Instead of following instructors in a class, you’ll be cycling along different tracks and at different difficulties in order to get a high score. Seeing as I’m a fan of fitness games – I really like Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure as well as Just Dance, for example – I was excited to try it out.

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Lanebreak is found in the “More Rides” section in the Peloton menu, which is also where the Scenic Rides and Just Ride options are. In the game, there are six different tracks, and you navigate from one to the other with the bike’s resistance knob (you’ll know which one you’re in by the rotating wheel avatar). The farthest left is with the least resistance, while the furthest right is with the most resistance. As you might expect, the farther right you go, the more points you can score.

In order to gain points, you have to complete a few different tasks, which are either one after another on the same track or dispersed on to separate tracks. One is to simply cycle in the lane with blue bars, each of which represents “Beats.” These score points every time you go over them. Another is to cycle really fast in an orange “Breakers" section until the meter is “charged” – the more it’s charged, the more points you’ll get. Last but not least, there are “Streams,” where you’re tasked with holding your target cadence within a specified range.

At the end of a Lanebreak workout, your total score is based on all the Beats, Breakers and Streams that you’ve completed and collected throughout the game. You’ll also see a high score on the Lanebreak leaderboard for that particular game.

The length of a Lanebreak workout runs the gamut from five minutes to 30, and there are four different levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert. There’s also a wide variety of music playlists to pick from, such as “Rock Riot'' and David Bowie remixes.

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I have to say, I had a lot of fun. The look and feel really reminds me of Guitar Hero, a game which I have fond memories of. I enjoy navigating to the different tracks and then cycling as hard as I can to score the maximum points. I tend to score fairly well in the beginner and intermediate levels, but I dare not venture into advanced or expert modes just yet. I was a little concerned that a 20 or 30 minute game might feel repetitive, but I actually really liked it – the song mixes help keep things interesting.

There are a few downsides, though. For one thing, the resistance knob can be a little fiddly, which is not great when I’m trying to make quick lane changes. Plus, there’s no real break for you to take a sip of water; you kind of just have to miss out on a few points when you’re hydrating. Of course, as there’s no instructor, you’ll also miss out on motivation shoutouts and stretching exercises. But I find that the gameplay aspect of Lanebreak is fun enough to make up for that.

Perhaps the best part of Lanebreak is that it got me back cycling after several months of not doing so. It really made me fall in love with cycling all over again. After a five-minute Lanebreak session yesterday, for example, I navigated over to the on-demand library and took a 20-minute beginner class. I felt great afterwards, and didn’t care at all about where I was on the leaderboard.

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