Exercise, IMO, is cool and all, but I’ve always preferred to do it at the gym lest I clutter my place with fitness props.
Even though I’ve been trying my darnedest to curate a chic, mid-century modern vibe in my new Brooklyn apartment, I totally changed my mind about the no-equipment rule when I stumbled upon Schwinn’s new stationary bike, which is currently looking F-I-N-E center stage in my living room: It’s their Classic Cruiser, which looks like it pedaled right out of the movie Pleasantville to drop a newspaper at my doorstep, amiright?!
How It Looks
Unlike the gray, bulky equipment gathering dust in the basement of my childhood home, or the sleek but sporty spin bikes you see in every gym, this one comes in bright red with white detailing for that retro soda shop effect. While there’s no cupholder for said soda, and no basket like the genuine beach cruiser bicycles you see on boardwalks and in the movie Now and Then, the Schwinn Classic Cruiser features wide handlebars that make upright riding extra comfortable. There are also faux hand brakes, which serve as controllers when paired with the bike’s super fun app.
Why It’s Extra Fun
The bike syncs to RideSocial, a free virtual-reality app where you can “ride” down IRL paths for all the views, but I prefer the Classic Cruiser app’s native feature, a video game featuring an avatar—a paper-delivery boy—who pedals around mid-century suburbs complete with flamingo lawn decor.
Clench the bike’s left “brake” to fling the paper from the avatar’s left hand, or use the right one to hurl it from the little guy’s other arm.
Hit a mailbox, and you score 100 points; nail the doorstep, and you’ll pedal away with 50—a risky target to aim for since any paper-to-window contact will cost you 25 points. Oh, and if you can keep up with the moving circle that shows up every so often—hello, sprint intervals!—you get even more points.
Despite the game’s simplicity, it totally engaged and distracted me when I took the bike for a spin in my living room. Ten minutes, then 11, flew by before I knew it. And I was seriously sweating!
The Best Features
I’d been so into my paper route that I barely noted my speed or mileage, which is displayed in a too-cute-for-school manual speedometer that attaches to the bike’s handlebars. There’s also a timer that brrrriingggs just like the bike bell you wish you had when you were a kid.
And on the right, gears up the ante by increasing the bike’s resistance.
One of the bike’s best characteristics, though, is the seat, which is cushy in all the ways your average saddle is not.
How It Rides
If you’re used to spin class, this bike will feel clunkier and deliver a workout that’s less intense in some ways: Perhaps due to the wide handlebar’s positioning, I found it difficult to find a smooth cadence for standing sprints. That said, the bike has its fitness perks: When I dug out my hand weights for some upper-body conditioning, I found it extra easy to sit upright and pedal through several sets of overhead presses, triceps kickbacks, and biceps curls.
My biggest complaint about the machine is that it feels less sturdy than the bikes at my gym. But to be honest? It’s my own damn fault: While Schwinn offers in-home assembly ($129), I let my pride (and excitement!) get the best of me and went all Ikea on the bike’s many pieces and screws on the day it arrived.
After the seat tilted backward during my husband’s first ride—one time!—he still refuses to use it. Luckily, I haven’t encountered this problem. And I don’t mind having the bike all to myself!
So, Should You Splurge?
I’ve have had more guests compliment my bike than any other item in my painstakingly-furnished apartment, which only sort of kills me since the bike costs less than my couch. Oh well! Both are keepers.