President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. moved into the White House on Wednesday to deal with many daunting challenges: a global pandemic. A crushing recession. Racial injustice. Right-wing extremism.
But Mr. Biden’s personal exercise regimen will face a different sort of burning question: can he bring his Peloton bike with him?
The answer, say cybersecurity experts, is yes. Kind of.
A Peloton, for the uninitiated, is part of the indoor stationary bike and social network. The bikes are expensive – over $ 2,500 each – and have shelves attached, allowing riders to stream live or take on-demand lessons and communicate with each other.
When Mr Biden was holed up during the coronavirus outbreak this spring, The New York Times reported that he began each day “with a workout in an upstairs gym that contains a Peloton bike, weights and a treadmill. ” The Biden team did not respond to requests for comment, but a person close to the president-elect said Mr Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, are entering regular morning negotiations over who should ride first.
But Peloton tablets have built-in cameras and microphones that allow users to see and hear each other if they wish, and for Mr. Biden, that’s where the catch lies. The last thing the CIA wants is the Russians and Chinese watching or listening to the White House gymnasium. Last week Popular Mechanics warned of the security risk under the headline “Why Joe Biden Can’t Bring His Platoon to the White House”.
The article caused an explosion of gossip in the world of the Peloton, but in reality cybersecurity experts say that if Mr. Biden wants his bike, surely he can have it, although it may bear little resemblance to the offline version after the Secret Service and the National Security Agency are done with.
Peloton doesn’t exactly match Mr. Biden’s “ordinary guy from Scranton” political figure. But for Mr. Biden, who at 78 will be the oldest person ever sworn in as president, riding a Platoon makes good political sense, even if it clashes with working class Joe. President Trump has spent much of the campaign over the past year trying to persuade Americans that Mr. Biden is weak – an argument Mr. Biden refrained from when a Fox News clip showing him cycling on the streets of Delaware has gone viral.
“I didn’t really think of him as an energetic young man, but the fact that he rides his Peloton to exercise means to me that he has more energy than I thought,” said Jennifer Loukissas, a federal employee who straddles her. Platoon at home in Kensington, Md.
Ms Loukissas said she spent some time trying to discern the name of Mr Biden’s platoon leader. “I searched for all the Joe Scrantons I could think of,” she said, referring to Mr. Biden’s birthplace. “None of them seemed to match.”