I just finished riding my bike through France—an early morning ride in Paris, a leisurely clip past Mont Saint-Michel, a climb up some mountains in the Midi-Pyrénées, and a refreshing spin along the Côte d’Azur. And the scenery was spectacular. How did I do this? By taking in some Peloton scenic rides!
Update: April 30, 2021: Peloton did some major updates which affected the Scenic rides! The 25 rides through France are gone and now, there are now only 3. Peloton has categorized the rides into “Distance”, “Guided”, and “Timed”.
You’ve probably heard about the stationary bike that’s become the hit of Covid as we’ve been confined to our homes for long periods of time. As people can’t go to gyms or attend spin classes, they are stuck at home. So what can one do? Set up a home gym that includes a Peloton bike. What makes this more than just a stationary bike, where you stare into space, is that there is a monitor that streams recorded and live classes lead by Peloton instructors. It’s motivational and you DO get a good workout.
But Peloton also has what are called “scenic rides” and this is where I rediscovered France. It’s as if I’m in France biking along a country road….or up to a mountain’s summit.
If you have a Peloton bike AND you love France, you’ll definitely love the Peloton scenic rides.
Table of contents
- 1.What Are The Peloton Scenic Rides Through France Like?
- 2. Peloton Scenic Ride Locations List For France
- 3. My Favourite French Peloton Rides
- 4. No Peloton Instructor On Scenic Rides—It’s All Up To You
- 5. There Is A Peloton Leaderboard
- 6. Where Is The “Peloton Scenic Rides” Setting On The Bike Monitor?
1.What Are The Peloton Scenic Rides Through France Like?
Peloton has many scenic rides through countries such as Canada, the United States, Italy, Germany, Spain, China, and New Zealand. The duration of each ride varies from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. But of course, the rides in France are my favourites and there are 25 routes to choose from. Most take place in “perfect” weather—sunny and clear.
As mentioned, so far these are the rides for France and they can be found in the Timed Category:
- Avignon (Provence)-20 minutes
- Côte d’Or Vineyards (Beaune)-45 minutes
- French Pyrénées- 30 minutes
The other notable changes Peloton made to the Scenic Rides are:
- no leaderboard
- many more songs with vocals
- no scenic rides in the featured section on the digital app
- no access to past scenic rides even using the tag #scenicrides (see below)
Here’s what Peloton HAD offered previously for rides through France. It’s a shame they’re gone because many of them were very picturesque. I’ll update the list once there are more rides.
(a) What You’ll Hear During Your Ride
As you glide along the “road”, you’ll hear the sounds of nature, birds chirping, and cars whizzing by. There is music, but only instrumental pop, rock, new age, and techno or electro music. There are no accompanying vocals which is great because you really want to just enjoy the scenery.
(b) What You’ll See During Your Ride
It appears that the scenes from some routes have been combined or spliced together to make a new “ride”. As an example, you might start from the Arc de Triomphe, head down the Champs-Elysées, and then suddenly you’re in Tuileries gardens and then Montmartre.
I suppose they’ve taken their best “clips” and put them together into one ride. So your scenery can change constantly. You might start out in a forested area, move to a mountain climb, through a small town, and then back into the mountains. This can be a good thing as 30 minutes passing cow pastures can get boring quite quickly!
Some routes are entirely flat and others have you climbing a mountain. The “difficulty” of the ride is all dependent on you increasing the cadence and resistance—that is, how difficult it is to turn your peddles. The higher the resistance (0-100), the harder it is to turn the wheel, much like climbing a hill.
I also believe most of the rides—at least the ones I’ve taken so far— have been filmed in a car, not on a bike. There’s one scene in the midst of traffic on the Champs-Elysées, right beside a police car and I can’t imagine a bicycle in the middle of the traffic. Many times, as well, the position of the video is in the middle of the road, not on the right side, in the bicycle lane. Just my thoughts.
2. Peloton Scenic Ride Locations List For France
The 10-45 minute rides through France cover varying types of landscapes—-along the Mediterranean coast, through the streets of Paris, along countryside roads, and climbs up alpine mountains. When I wrote this post, these were the 25 different rides being offered.
Interestingly, the most popular ride to date is the 30-minute “French Countryside” ride (382,000 workouts). This ride takes you through some small towns (ie. Saint-Fargeau and Quantilly, near Bourges) and a lot of countrysides and I have to admit it’s kind of boring. The 10-minute Reims ride is also very popular (300,000 workouts) and it takes you through the city. The only really interesting site, however, is Cathédral Notre-Dame de Reims. I have no idea why either ride is so popular except that they are relatively short.
|French Scenic Rides||Duration||French Scenic Rides||Duration|
|Alpes Scenic Ride||30 min||French Suburbs Scenic Ride||10 min|
|Ariège Scenic Ride||30 min||French Roads Scenic Ride||15 min|
|Burgundy and Centre Scenic Ride||30 min||Midi-Pyrénées Scenic Ride||10 min|
|Centre-Val de Loire Scenic Ride||10 min||Normandy Scenic Ride||30 min|
|Champagne Scenic Ride||45 min||Parisian Morning Scenic Ride||15 min|
|Côte d’Azur Scenic Ride||15 min||Paris Scenic Ride||15 min|
|Côte d’Azur Scenic Ride||20 min||Pyrénées Park Scenic Ride||30 min|
|Col du Tourmalet Scenic Ride||15 min||Reims Scenic Ride||10 min|
|French Alps Scenic Ride||15 min||Rhone-Alpes Scenic Ride||15 min|
|French Countryside Scenic Ride||30 min||Rhone-Alpes Scenic Ride||30 min|
|French Countryside Scenic Ride||45 min||Tour de Paris Scenic Ride||30 min|
|French Forest Scenic Ride||30 min||Touriste du Champagne Scenic Ride||30 min|
|French Pastoral Scenic Ride||20 min|
3. My Favourite French Peloton Rides
Of the 13 rides I’ve taken so far, here are 6 that I really liked:
1. Col du Tourmalet Scenic Ride
A very popular scenic ride is the Col du Tourmalet—which means “distance mountain” from the Gascony region. Located on the highest paved road in the French Pyrénees, this ride follows part of the Tour de France and your journey takes you along this mountain pass. The scenery is excellent but if you really want to pretend you’re cycling it, push that resistance up!
2. French Roads Scenic Ride
The French Roads Scenic Ride is one of my favourites as it begins at Mont Saint-Michel and then heads west along the Emerald Coast (Côte d’Émeraude) in Brittany. The scenery changes and this is what makes the ride interesting.
3. Tour de Paris Scenic Ride
When I did the Parisian Morning Scenic Ride, what was surprising was all the traffic! If you want to see more sites, the Tour de Paris Scenic Ride will give it to you: the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, rue de Rivoli, Musée du Louvre, Pont de Bir-Hakeim, Montmartre, Les Invalides, and the Eiffel Tower. It’s a very popular ride with almost 210,000 workouts taken so far.
What I found very odd is that at the beginning of the ride, the person operating the video camera is ON the sidewalk, maneuvering between people along the Champs-Elysées. It was really odd because you’d think you’d be on a bike route, not a walking route!
4. Côte d’Azur Scenic Ride
I took the 15-minute version of the Côte d’Azur ride which began in the Verdon Gorge and ends in the French Riviera. If you know your French map, you’ll know that you cannot do that route in 15 minutes! You do get some interesting scenery and this was the only ride that was cloudy. I was hoping to pass by more towns like Monaco, Nice, or Menton. Fortunately, you finally get a nice view at the end.
5. French Alps Scenic Ride
I’ve always loved mountain scenery and besides the scenic rides through the Midi-Pyrénées, there are rides in the Rhone-Alpes and French Alps. The latter route is situated west of Chamonix near the town of Le Chinaillon. Part of the route is flat and you’re surrounded by snow-capped mountains so it’s very picturesque.
6. French Pastoral Scenic Ride
This ride begins in Annecy and travels south, along Lac d’Annecy to Duingt, L’Aple d’Huez, and then La Garde en Oisans. It’s a 20-minute ride, but if you were to do it in real life, it would take over 11 hours!
4. No Peloton Instructor On Scenic Rides—It’s All Up To You
In addition to no music accompanied by vocals, you also don’t have an instructor, telling you to increase your cadence or resistance. You also don’t have an instructor to motivate you, so it’s up to you to make your ride just a leisurely journey or a hard workout (aka burning calories!).
I’ll be honest and say I could have worked harder (to get a higher output). I think I was enjoying the scenery so much I forgot to increase the resistance.
5. There Is A Peloton Leaderboard
When you take a Peloton class with an instructor (live or recorded) you can see how you rank on the leaderboard. The scenic rides also have this option so I can see who else might be riding when I am and I can see how I rank. That part can be motivational. Guess I am a bit competitive as I don’t like being at the back of the pack!
6. Where Is The “Peloton Scenic Rides” Setting On The Bike Monitor?
If you have a Peloton bike and you’re wondering where you can find these scenic rides on your monitor, go to the bottom menu on your screen and click “More”. The next screen will show you two options: Just Ride and Scenic Ride. That second one will open up into a list of many scenic rides from around the world. I bookmarked all the France rides.
Can You Do Scenic Rides On the Peloton App?
[Updated] I initially stated that the feature is not available on the digital app, only the bike and Peloton monthly subscription; however, a reader gave me a workaround. While there are a few “featured” scenic rides at the bottom of the Peloton app, there aren’t many. To access all of the scenic rides you have to do this:
Open a web browser (not the Peloton app), sign in (in Canada, it is https://members.onepeloton.ca), and then to the three dots at the top of the page and click “Explore Tags”. search for people who have taken scenic rides. Most members use the tag, #ScenicRides. You’ll have to go through their list of rides but you will be able to click on “View Class” and do the scenic ride.
April 30 update: the old scenic rides that someone may have taken are no longer “viewable”.
I believe you’ll also be able to screencast it via your iphone, Apple TV or Roku.
If you’re interested in doing some biking IN FRANCE and not just on a Peloton bike, check out the tours I’ve taken:
- What it’s like to take a bicycle tour in France
- Riding a bicycle in France
- Cycling on Ile de Ré
- Biking along the Canal du Midi
- Cycling La Voie Verte (Sarlat)
- Biking to Dune du Pilat (Europe’s tallest sand dune)
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