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178: Peloton Invades Giphy plus our interview with Jeff Wall
Peloton stock hits $135!
Truist raises Peloton stock target to $144.
Peloton receives a record number of cargo deliveries. Will it be enough to end the delays?
John Foley was mentioned in a New York Times article about the return of the family dinner.
Peloton has created their own GIFs.
Changes have been made to category breakdowns.
There’s an interesting aspect to the new “Skip Intro” feature.
Bluetooth cadence sensors are being disabled.
Tonal introduces virtual group workouts.
Pro Publica has an interesting article about the company Peloton (and many other big businesses) use for customer service phone calls.
Peloton removes Q Anon hashtags.
Robin Arzon was featured in Shape Magazine.
A Covid outbreak is traced back to a spin studio in Canada.
Soul Cycle’s previous CEO is under the microscope for some suspect spending.
Tammy H was featured on the Peloton blog.
Peloton is kicking off its new Broadway series with a spotlight on Hamilton.
Up The Tempo Flash Challenges are here.
Former instructor Steven Little is celebrating a birthday.
All this plus our interview with Jeff Wall!
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Peloton Invades Giphy plus our interview with Jeff Wall
I guess what we should talk about is the pink Peloton we’re giving away.
We are giving away a brand new, customized pink Peloton.
It’s a one-of-a-kind pink Peloton. We partnered up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation because as you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we wanted to do a little thing to help out. If you go to TheClipOut.com/pink, there is a way to enter for free, but you can also throw a little money at the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s a way and it helps them out. You can get entries for as little as $5.
You can have 10 entries for $5. It’s not like we really jacked up the price. I will say the more that you donate, the more entries you get.
You might be saying to yourself, “I already have a bike,” but you don’t have a pink one.
I’m sure you know somebody who doesn’t have a bike.
You’ve got somebody in your life that you’ve been like, “I wish so and so had a bike. I wish they could ride with me.” If you want it, here’s your chance.
All of the proceeds, over and above the cost of the bike, go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Let’s say, ladies, you bought yourself a Peloton and now your husband is sweating all over it. He’s gotten all handsy with it. Here’s what you do. If you win it, you make him ride the pink one.
Also, there are some of you out there that don’t like pink. If you hate pink, you could take the stickers off. It can be returned to its original color. We just thought it was cool.
If you’ve already given, thank you. If you want to do something to help and you’ve already given and you’re like, “I gave, what more can I do?” Or if you just don’t have the means right now and you still want to help out, share it on your Facebook timeline or Twitter, Instagram, all those different outlets, and link people back to TheClipOut.com/pink. Now that we’ve gotten that all out of the way, what do you have in store for people this week?
We’re going to talk a lot about stocks and what’s going on with Peloton. John Mills is going to join us for that. We’ve got some interesting Foley in the news. We’re going to talk to him. There’s some fun stuff that’s coming to Peloton that we’re going to talk about, as well as Peloton being in the news. There were some interesting news articles this week.
It’s not your typical fluff pieces, but some different things out there. Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we are available on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart or wherever. While you’re there, be sure and subscribe so you never miss an episode. Maybe if you would be so kind, you could leave us a review please. It’s a little way for people to come along to know whether or not we’re worth their time. We have a new review. This is from Ikester24. I’m going to assume it’s a guy because it says Ike, but it doesn’t have to be. It says, “A must listen. My Friday wouldn’t be complete without listening to the latest offering of all things Peloton. Crystal and Tom’s witty banter and incredible news updates keep things flowing nicely. I feel like I don’t miss anything important and have a jump on new things that are coming. Please keep up the good work and thanks for all you do.”
Thank you for the very nice review. That’s sweet.
Also don’t forget, if you want to stay up to date on things throughout the week, Facebook.com/theclipout. While you’re there, like the page, join the group. I believe that’s everything. Let’s dig in. Shall we?
Joining us again to talk about some Peloton money related stuff is John Mills. John, how is it going?
I’m doing well. How is it going?
I bet you’re doing well, $135 a share.
Every time I see it go up, I like I’m on that Eddie Murphy movie.
Has the ending of that movie ever made a lick of sense to anybody? I love that movie, but when they started going on about orange juice futures and they’re going to sell short and then they’re buying up, I’m like, “What the holy hell is happening?”
I have no idea. I don’t remember. Do you remember the details about that movie?
I’ve seen trading places 25 or 30 times.
I remember very few movies.
The Fifth Element I can quote verbatim.
I can do that with Trading Places.
It’s gone back down, we’re at $131 it looks like after-hours trading.
I’m excited about it. It was a down day. NASDAQ was down and it still ended up. I’m good with that. I’m good with the momentum. I’m good with what it’s doing. The fundamentals are all good. There are all kinds of good news. We’re hearing from different places about what’s going on with the bikes coming in on those shipments.
Tell us about that. I saw on your page that you posted an article that you give a little background about Rexon. I’ll let you talk. You do that.
I’m just trying to piece together these pieces. What I do is paint a picture that may or may not be the right picture.
We have to put the disclaimer up. We don’t know, we’re just talking.
We know that one of their manufacturers, Rexon, went to 24-hour production back in July 2020. We also know, based on what we heard from Justin Thomas, we know that website visits are up 200% in the month of September of 2019. What you can take from that based on visits and as it relates to purchases, is up to your own mind, but you know that there are more people visiting the website. We also know from Justin’s post that the delivery backlog is still around four to eight weeks, even though they’re producing more bikes. All of that makes you think that demand is high, stuff is happening. Then you add to that this news feature on CNBC where they’re out at the port of LA and they’re talking about imports coming in and they show that there are 38 of these containers that came in last Wednesday from China for Peloton, all in that one day. Last month, that would have been a third of the containers for the entire month.
Do we have any insight when you say that Bikes are delivery delays for four to eight weeks? Are we talking Bikes or Bike+? Do we even know?
Justin stated bikes and he didn’t specify between Bikes or Bike+.
I feel like it’s Bike+.
I feel like it’s both. I feel if this was Apple and they were talking about iPhones, they wouldn’t say, “Containers of iPhone Max Pros,” they’d say, “iPhones.”
That makes me giggle because you only know that’s a thing because it’s talking about Apple.
All the stuff looks like everything is up. Also, we know that Rexon reported in the earnings record in July 2020, and then they reset that record in August 2020. Then they’re anticipating they’re going to break that record again in September 2020. We know that too and all these things together.
Your conclusion from putting all those things together is?
My conclusion is that it’s going to be another break out. There’s going to be an announcement that beats all the street estimates. It’s probably going to be better than what they said their expectations were. What that means for the market, whether or not we get a run-up leading up and then we don’t get much after, I don’t know what that’s going to mean for the market. It tells me they’re likely to beat the street estimate.
There was another article that came out from a CNBC from Truist. I don’t know what that is, but I guess they’re important.
Truist Securities is another financial firm. They upped their price target, at the same time so did Barclays. They upped their price target as well. They’d had it sitting at low one-teens for a while and we’re past that.
I remember just before the last earnings report, it was like $105 and I was like, “No way.” They said $105 next year. I was like, “No, we’re going to hit $105 long before that.” We did then we flew right on past it.
I’m expecting that now all these little fundamental things are coming out, all these little nuggets of information, I suspect leading up to earnings that we’re probably going to get other firms upping their price target. These were just two recent ones, Truist and Barclays.
On the heels of that, a website called Seeking Alpha, which sounds a little dirty. I’m not going to lie.
You would be very disappointed if you went to go look around there.
That article was close to my heart.
For the people that can’t see the screen right now, it talks about Peloton that you should wait for it to crash and then scoop it up because I guess long-term, they really dig it.
Ultimately, I’ll start by saying Erica is this huge movie fanatic. Back in the late ‘90s when Netflix came out, she was the early adopters. She was all in with Netflix. She told me when they went public, “You need to invest.” I said, “Whatever, DVD is in the mail.” She reminds me of that often. The synopsis of this particular article was in the end it’s going, you may not want to be that person that similar to what happened with Amazon and Netflix, you said similar things with Peloton, then you’re John Mills.
A real quick Netflix story, when I was in radio, we would give away prizes all the time. I was a promotions director. People would call and pitch me on prizes. I had somebody wanting to give away a DVD membership to Netflix. I was like, “None of our listeners have DVD players.” This is 1998, 1999. The guy’s like, “We’re pushing it so hard. If you will talk about this on your radio station, I will personally give you a free Netflix subscription for the rest of your life.” I’m just like, “I don’t know that I have a need for it.”
They should have mentioned you in the article as well. Erica is this huge fanatic. I’m into movies, but I have not too much energy. I watch 5, 10 minutes and I’ll be on to something else. Then I’ll come back and when I come back, my mind comes back to the movie and I’m asking the question.
My mother would do that. I swear to God, I could be two and a half hours into Gandhi, and she’d walk in and sit down and be like, “Why isn’t that man eating?”
That’s always been me. She’s come to a place where I’m not even allowed to watch movies with her. It’s fun to me to ask questions because you’ve got to talk about what’s happening. We’re having a conversation, we’re spending time.
You’ve got to pause for that, John. Now you’re missing important points. There are things that are happening you don’t know. You’ve got to pause.
She does. If I ask, she pauses, but then she’s really upset.
There are friendly pauses and there are aggressive pauses. There’s a pause where you’re like, “What?”
It’s funny about Erica, it doesn’t click into her mind initially that she should be pissed off about this. She always does the same thing. She pauses and she starts answering my question, but by the end of the answer, it’s like she’s escalating. Now she’s upset.
I get it. I’m on her side. I know you don’t want to hear that. Let Erica know that if she’s looking for a podcast about movies, I got one.
We should totally have Erica on the other podcast to talk about movies.
There is no movie Erica hadn’t seen. Me and Jasmine, literally, we make fun about this all the time. We’ll come home and she’s watching movies with subtitles. She doesn’t even understand the language but she’s reading the movie. We don’t get it.
She’s probably watching movies with subtitles just to stop you from asking questions. She knows you’re going to walk in and see the subtitles and be like, “I don’t care. I’m not interested.”
It’s a defense mechanism.
It’s really next level when she starts watching movies that are in English, but turns on the closed captioning just to trick you into thinking. That’s pretty clever. We should probably also point out real quickly. You had posted an article from the New York Times that John Foley was mentioned in about the return of family dinner.
I wanted you to talk about your questions that you posed because I thought it was interesting your take on it. I don’t necessarily disagree. It just didn’t occur to me.
I thought it was a wonderful intended article. I thought the concept of it was wonderful. COVID has occurred, and now because of it, a lot of us are working at home. Prior to that, we were working, running and hustling and bustling, maybe you didn’t have as much time to spend with your kids or with the family. Maybe you’re not eating at the dinner table anymore. Now, this has forced us all to have more time together. If you have young kids, you have more time with young kids and it’s all gravy. That’s the intent of the article. It’s a very positive article. When I read it, I thought, “Is there someone that’s going to take offense to an interview with a CEO, talking about how nice it’s been since COVID?” The concept made me go, “I don’t know. I’m not sure.” I asked the question in my group. Knowing that, it probably wasn’t a good idea maybe.
There’s also the angle of making lemonade from lemons, and trying to find a bright spot and all this. It was also within the first paragraph, “By then their nanny had already fed and gotten their two children ready for bed.” I’m glad I’m not the only one that was like, “That nanny.”
When I read that, I thought the same thing. My mind is all focused on the stock. I’m remembering the commercial that came out that I understood back late last year, but then the whole internet went crazy like, “What?” The boyfriend gave her a bike and then I went, “I guess you could take it like that.” Then all of a sudden it went all crazy. When I saw this, I thought is someone going to run with this? Is this about to go somewhere? I guess not.
It also makes sense. A CEO at that level, his time is so valuable that you bring in assistance so you have more time to focus on a $32 billion valued company.
There are a lot of things that he needs to focus on with Peloton. They’ve been growing so fast that you can understand that they spend so much of their time at work. I totally get what you’re saying. He lives in a different world, and it’s not his fault. He lives in a different world and we’re benefiting from that world. It’s like the people that don’t even know how much gas costs because somebody does that for them. They get their gas in their car. They don’t even have a clue. It’s not that they’re bad people at all, we’re just living in a different world. We have different challenges. There are people that have different challenges than like the four of us have, I’m including Erica in that conversation. I can see your point, is somebody going to be offended by that? I think it’s a fair question.
Then you align that to unemployment spikes. Now, it’s back down to around 8%, but it spiked during the same time. Some people aren’t at home with the jobs. People are at home without a job. You align that to the poverty rate has gone up. Even if you do have the job, there are people that are making less now, so they’re at home with less money. Then you add that to the equation. Those are the perspective my mind was coming from, and then my own experience. Late ‘70s, early ‘80s, my parents lost their job and it didn’t go so well. My mom was struggling and she was telling us, “Go outside.” We were spending a lot of time. It wasn’t the picture that’s painted in that article. I started thinking of it from that perspective, “How many people are reading it with that kind of experience?”
Those are very valid points.
When my parents got divorced, they both owned a printing company and then my parents got divorced and then my dad started a different printing company.
We all come up with our own life assurance. We all drive how we view some of this news. I was seeing it through that lens. Everyone who responded in the article though, they seem to be seeing it through a completely different lens, which I think is a positive.
I will also say you have self-selected in your group and in our group that it’s very Peloton-positive people. I think by and large, everybody felt the same about the Christmas commercial or the holiday commercial that came out last year 2019, but it still got awry because not everybody is Peloton positive.
It might come across as a little tone deaf for some people, but at the same time, I can’t exactly clutch my pearls because a newly minted billionaire has a nanny.
That’s true too.
One of the perks of being a billionaire is they issue you a nanny and a monocle. Then you get to pick from either a top hat or a cane. It’s one or the other, if you want the other, that’s extra.Peloton has a reputation for being a very hard cardio activity and aerobic cardio. Click To Tweet
Are you really even a billionaire?
Tom, I’d like to know how you know so much about this.
I just read a lot.
I thought maybe you were hiding something.
Do you see any nannies around here? Do you see monocles?
No, but maybe you have a secret life that I don’t know about. You hear about that sometimes.
If I wore a top hat and had a cane, and people would think I was trying to poison Gotham’s water supply, I’d look like the Penguin. I can’t pull that off.
I wonder sometimes if Tom has a separate life, but not in that sense, like on the leaderboard. Sometimes I’ll see names that relate like it’ll be like TOKeefe or TomO or something like that.
There is a faker out there who calls themselves ClipOutTom.
He’s not real.
It’s fake news.
I would’ve believed it had I seen it.
You should not. Thank you so much for joining us again this week. Let everybody know where they can find you.
You can find me in my Facebook group or page, Run, Lift and Live. You can find me on Instagram, @RunLiftAndLive, or you can find me at RunLiftAndLive.com.
Thank you so much.
It’s always good seeing you, guys.
This is fun. Peloton has created a bunch of Peloton-specific gifts for people in the Giphy Store. Is that what they call it?
I don’t know.
It’s a lot of fun. I love it. There’s some for each instructor, plus, as you can see, if you’re watching on the YouTube channel, you can see that they have like the special little features, their additions, like Sundays with Love is right up on top. That’s fun. I wonder if they’re going to do one for the new Broadway series we’ll be talking about later.
I don’t know. That would be fun. They have all sorts of different things there. if you go to Giphy, you can find it. Is that what feeds into like the GIFs selector in Facebook and on your Twitter and all that?
It does. I don’t exactly understand the mechanism. I can’t tell you how they get over there. I don’t know if they have a partnership, or if only certain ones show up. I don’t know, but yes, that is what feeds them, and the ones on Instagram as well.
Then there are some new category breakdowns.
I guess probably on the bike too, I haven’t actually looked the bike or the tread, but they’re broken down in the same way in both places. Now, they’ve added all these different breakdowns for Strength, Yoga and Music. For music, you can see the themes separated out from music. It used to be that it was themed, so that’s where you had to go to look for Dua Lipa. I couldn’t think of a musical artist.
That’s the one you went to?
I don’t know. My mind was a giant void and I had nothing. I was picturing people, but I’m getting old and I couldn’t think of names as I was picturing them in my head, then I thought of Dua Lipa. I couldn’t picture her though, so I don’t even know.
I would never have guessed that that would have been where you went.
Now, it’s broken out so that you can look under music or themes. For example, this new Broadway theme that’s going to be out there, that will be separate from just the music, which is nice because if you wanted to go to ‘80s or you wanted to go to something about circuses or something, you could look under the themes. Also they added some to yoga too. People were super excited about the fact that now you can filter on Slow Flow classes in yoga. That’s the more gentle, traditional yoga that you would think of when you’re picturing yoga.
Not like death metal yoga.
There is actually a Power yoga. It’s not set to death metal traditionally. I’m not saying that Peloton could not make that happen.
I bet you the rights on that is a really cheap. It’s very affordable compared to Madonna and Prince.
They’ll have to look into that. Until then, now you can look up Yoga in different ways than you could before, as well as Strength. Now, the strength is broken down by body parts. You can see your classes that focus on chest or back versus before, it was like figure it out by the title as you scroll through. This is super helpful for people that are wanting to plan out their workouts in advance or hopping on and quickly finding something. It’s a huge help.
Then there’s a little discovery about the Skip Intro feature.
Apparently now that it’s rolled out to more people, because they’re still in the process of doing this. I have no idea how I got lucky to be at the top of these lists that are coming out, but I’m glad I am. The Skip Intro feature that we talked about, now it has a little note that comes up next to it when you log on for the very first time, it’s on your bike. It says you can only enable it after you’ve taken five classes in that discipline. For example, let’s say you’ve never taken a running class. It won’t show up. It’s only going to show up after you’ve taken five running classes. That way, you know the drill, you know that you need to make sure your trainers are double knotted, if you’re Becs Gentry, and little things like that that they say every single time.
It’s like making you read the Terms and Conditions before you click “Yes, I read the Terms and Conditions.”
I think it’s nice that they do that with the five, because if you’ve never used your bike or tread before, then you need to know forward is to make it go faster and backwards is to make it go slower. Those are important things to know.
I think that’s smart. We’ve seen some people ask about if the Skip Intro feature will be added to a live class. That’s called time travel.
We can’t do that. We have not figured out how to make Back To The Future a real thing. When we do, we would not be in 2020.
Peloton is ending the ability to use cadence sensors via Bluetooth for new users. I don’t know what that means.
A cadence sensor is simply how fast you go. There was an ability, if you were an app user, to be able to be on a different bike, it’s not Peloton, put on a cadence sensor and therefore, you could be riding a different bike and you could pick it up from the app and be able to see how fast you were going.
It was like a life hack of sorts. If you don’t have the official Peloton bike and you’re using the app on a third party bike, this is a way to get one of the metrics that the bike has baked in, so now they’re pulling that back.
If you were a member before, this is cutting off which is October 13th, you’ll get to use it for another six months. You’d be able to use it until approximately June. I think that’s what it said. If you’ve never used it before and you’re a new person, you won’t ever be able to hook it up. It’s going to stop for new users right away. I did hear from an employee, I asked them and it’s an anonymous employee, so we don’t want to get them in trouble. They felt like this was more of a business decision than a technical decision, and that they wanted to do this to differentiate the bike from the app, which makes total sense. It was nice to hear from an employee perspective instead of the rest of us just guessing.
I get it. They want to sell bikes.
I wish I had thought of this when we were talking to John. I saw him mention that he said he thought that it might have to do with Apple+ Fitness. Maybe their fitness thing is forcing Peloton to do some things, to differentiate the difference between their hardware and their software. That’s another interesting thought.
Shifting gears, Tonal added group workouts this week.
It’s very cool. It’s a virtual workout, so it’s not like a live class. What you do is you can log on with your friends at the same time so you all take the workout at the same time. You can see how they’re progressing through their different reps that they’re doing. If they get a PR or something, you get a little badge showing that. My favorite part is when you give them a high-five. They have high-fives, but it makes the high-five sound like claps. It’s cool. It’s a lot of fun though. I did my first one yesterday with seven other people from the Tonal community and it was a blast. It makes the time go by, like 30 minutes felt like 10. It was so fast.
You don’t have to wait for them since it’s virtual. They can be doing theirs while you’re doing yours.
You’re all doing it at the same time. As soon as everybody has done the reps from that exercise, like that specific move, it moves you to the next one. Let’s say you’re doing step ups, when everybody’s done with their step-ups, now we move to the next one. That sounds like it would take forever, but at least in my experience, it was very fluid. You weren’t spending a lot of time waiting. It was a few seconds.
They have made many tweaks to their interface.
Many things have been going on.
It’s a lot to even catalog how many changes they’ve made. Changes makes it sound like they had to fix things. It’s just tweaks to make it more engaging and more helpful like we talked about a while back, it tells you if you’re doing something incorrectly and it corrects you politely.
They added Barre classes, they had Pilates classes. They had Kickboxing classes. It’s becoming more robust every day.
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There was an interesting article from ProPublica, which is like an investigative journalism site. They team up a lot with NPR and This American Life. They do lengthy stories that go really deep. These are oftentimes 10,000, 15,000-word articles. They are very detailed, but also painstakingly researched. Peloton got mentioned in one, and this may not be the best, but it’s about the customer service reps that you talk to on the phone and the setup that they operate under and that it’s not always the best for them.
The reason that we included it is because there have been a lot of changes to customer service within Peloton. There have been a lot more complaints than I’ve ever heard before. Granted there are a lot more things being sold than there ever has before, the things that I’ve heard have been things that I never heard before. People not showing up, no feedback, no getting back to them even though they promised to, weird answers from customer service. I have never had a bad experience until recently with customer service of Peloton, and it was minor and that’s not my point. The point is you can’t help but wonder if these two things are related.
At a high level, basically the way it works is they use a company called Arise. We should say that this isn’t some deep dive expose on Peloton. They’re using a company that lots of companies utilize for these sorts of services because it’s hard to create that infrastructure.
Especially with the pandemic. That was one of the things that they talked about because it’s easy to add more people or subtract people without having your own built-in customer service.
You have to bring those people in and train them, they already know. Disney uses them. I think Airbnb uses them. Comcast uses them. This is a very common thing. Basically, it’s this company called Arise. The people that they end up hiring, work from home, but they work freelance. They don’t actually work for a company almost like an Uber driver, so therefore they don’t always get the best benefits and it takes a while before you start getting paid.
It’s the downside of the gig economy.
We hesitated to talk about this one just because it’s like anytime you mention this group, it’s like you’re scared of what you’re going to create. Peloton removed some QAnon hashtags from its platform. That was reported on Business Insider.
I don’t think there’s a whole lot to say about that. I do want to say one thing that there were a lot of people that felt like that’s not fair because it’s a political commentary. I would say I disagree. To me, this is about theories and conspiracies. It’s not like Peloton was taking down Biden hashtags or democracy or Republicans or Trump. To me, that would be considered taking down political statements and that’s not what this was.
I tend to agree. Even Pence has come on and been like, “QAnon is not really where you want to be.” To me, that should make it apolitical or nonpolitical. I don’t know, we will see. I know that there’s been a lot of pushback and people are trying to sneak them on in the meantime. That’s what’s going on and we’ll move on to the next one. We talked about Robin Arzon a little bit last time, but she was featured again in Shape Magazine.
It’s a whole new platform. It’s crazy how these instructors are such huge celebrities now. It talks about her diet while she’s pregnant. To be honest, I think they took a lot of the information that we talked about last week and reused it. That’s cool. That’s just more visibility for Peloton, for Robin and for fitness. Her whole thing is to make sure that she has a healthy pregnancy and that she can still keep exercising and keep being the fierce person that she is.
We won’t rehash the details too much since we talked about it last week, but it’s out there if you want to check it out. Then Cody was featured on the Hurdle Podcast.
I can’t remember a time Cody has been mentioned on a podcast. I think this might be the first time Cody has been on one, which I also thought was interesting because when I hear Hurdle, it sounds like a running podcast. I don’t know that. I thought it was interesting that they chose to interview a cycling instructor. I haven’t listened to the interview. It could just be that that’s their favorite. I have no idea.
The episode acronym is called #HURDLEMOMENT: Running My Fastest Mile Ever.
If you want to check it out, it’s from October 12th, episode 132.
A not good article about a spin studio in Canada that ran into some issues. They said that they wouldn’t call it a super spreader event, but they did call it a very large outbreak. I think 61 people are affiliated with the gym in some capacity.
This one says that it was 20 cases, this article, but I will say there were articles that came out after this one. A more recent one might have because this is from October 9.
I read an article about it in the Washington Post and I believe the number was 61. They said that they were following all the fitness protocols that were in place. It’s not that they were disinfecting and they took out half the bikes. It sounds like the only kind of wiggle room, which was allowed in their defense, they did not break any rules or recommendations, but they let people take off their masks while they were on the bike. It was like you had to have the mask on until you clipped in, then you could take it off, when you were done, put the mask on and then you clip out. As long as you were on the bike, you could have the mask off while you exercised.
In theory, if you have your 6 feet around you, you should be okay.
I think that 6 feet isn’t designed for people that are breathing heavily. They are performing aerobics.
Usually, spin studios are closed off, also there are usually fans moving the air around, which if you had COVID, you would be spreading it around not on purpose.
That is not a good sign for gyms.
It’s another great reason to stay home and use your Peloton.
While we’re talking about competitors, Soul Cycle is back in the news.
This is a crazy story. The Soul Cycle CEO that was pushed out was earning over $1 million a year and also bought $5,000 Dior handbags and $750 helicopter rides to the Hamptons on the company credit card. This is all at the same time as they are being described as having a toxic workplace.
Do you know when they say that the CEO was doing helicopter rides to the Hamptons and these Dior bag, so these weren’t business expenses?
There is no business expense on the planet that requires you to have a $5,000 Christian Dior handbag. I’m assuming that’s the case. I didn’t go through and read every little thing in here. I will also say that this all started last year 2019. When she left last year 2019, that was a huge deal. I’m not quite clear why this is all coming up now, unless it’s a legal thing.
That’s what I was wondering. Is there going to be legal ramifications? Are they basically saying that this is embezzlement?
It says a series of interviews with Business Insider that was published on Friday. A former staff claimed that Whelan was ill-prepared for the role and created a toxic work environment. The tipping point was the Dior bag incident that happened in the summer of 2019.
That is pretty ballsy. You could justify the helicopter ride to your house. You could say, “My time is really valuable.” We were talking about John Foley and nannies earlier in the episode, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s not billing that nanny back to Peloton.
I cannot imagine a world in which he would ever do that. That’s one of the things I love about Peloton. They have scruples. What a crazy story.
On a completely different note, the Peloton blog featured Tammy H.
That’s Tammy Lynn over in The Clip Out group. She’s also very active in the Tread group. We got to meet her back at Homecoming. This is all about her workout. It’s like a diary of her different workouts that she does. If you want to follow her, this is a great way to do it. It’s a lot of great workouts. They go through every single day. I love how they added the little videos.
Are they videos? Are they GIFs? Now that they have them, they don’t have typing on them, so it’s hard to say. She’s got a workout for every day of the week. That is a lot.
She’s a busy lady, also a very busy mom and I believe a physician’s assistant. She is busy.
Also really quick, while we’re talking about listeners, we should talk about Paul Bradley.
The Bradleys are one of the couples near and dear to my heart. They’ve been around The Clip Out group for a very long time. Paul Bradley decided to take on the Moab 240.
You should probably explain for people that don’t know.
For anybody who doesn’t know, that means running on a trail on purpose 240 miles in a row. You have to complete it in a certain number of hours.
Whatever that number is, it’s too little. That’s a lot of running.
You don’t get a week off in between. That’s like ten marathons in a row. Keep in mind, that’s on a trail, that’s not on pavement. I can’t even imagine where you would go for 240 miles. Paul impressed me that he went out for this. I have to say, unfortunately, he got an injury. He was 50 miles in and got an injury and he finished of mile 57. He got to 57 and he had to stop. He had hurt his Achilles tendon a couple months ago and he had gotten it back in shape and everything, but it got injured. He stumbled on a rock out there in the middle of nowhere, running in the dark and he couldn’t finish.
He still did another 6 or 7 miles injured.
My hats off to you, that’s double what I did on the treadmill. That’s crazy. He was running it. We’re proud of you, Paul. We think you are amazing. I can’t even imagine that you went out and did this. His wife, Karen, was his support crew and his daughter was his support crew. They were awesome. I wanted to say congrats for making it as far as you did. That is one hell of an accomplishment.
That’s still over two marathons in a row while injured.
Peloton has a new Broadway series, starting with Hamilton, the only show on Broadway anyone has ever cared about.
I’m so excited. I know I’ve mentioned this like twice just tonight, but I am excited about this. I’m probably not going to be able to, but the ride is an hour and then on Wednesday, there’s going to be a run with Matty. The ride is with Robin. The run is going to be with Matty. Then there is a Yoga Flow to Hamilton as well with Ross Rayburn. Each of them is 30 minutes long. People are saying, “Will there be more?” They built it as a series. I can’t imagine there won’t be.
There are lots of other Broadway shows. I know a lot of times people don’t realize that because everything’s about Hamilton lately, but there are other Broadway shows. There are at least six of them. I think you could expect at least five more in this series.
It will be interesting to see it because I’ve seen Wicked, I’ve seen Rent. People are suggesting these. I have seen the ideas be floated that they should be the next series. Also somebody mentioned another one that they absolutely loved. It’s already gone. It’s out of my mind, it went away.
The Producers, that’d be a good one.
It was not mentioned, but that would be a good one There are many. I know you were joking when you said there are only six. There are many that would make amazing songs.
On Easter, they could do Jesus Christ Superstar.
What is that one we went to go and see? That was in New York, then we saw it again here in St. Louis.
Be More Chill.
I know it didn’t last very long and I know a lot of people didn’t get to see it. The music to that one, I would love that to be a series.
It’s very up tempo. If you haven’t checked, Be More Chill would be really good. Speaking of up tempo.
There’s a Up The Tempo Flash Challenge up. It was terribly worded the first time it came out. It was something like take six live DJ rides and something else in the next 21 days. Jacqui Cincotta posted and was like, “What? I don’t even understand. There are no six live rides for me to take in the next one.” It’s not what it was trying to say. It was trying to say, take six music classes in the next 21 days that are music oriented, one of which is also called Live DJ rides. That’s the name of the series. From what I understand, it can be any class. It doesn’t even have to just be a ride. Since it said Live DJ ride, it sounded like. I think you can take any music classes that are themed or music oriented or DJs are involved in the next 21 days.
If we’re wrong, you’ll find out when you don’t get your badge.
It goes from October 12th through November 1st. Make sure to get your badge.
Last but not least, he’s no longer a Peloton instructor, but he was a well-loved one for a long time. Steven Little is celebrating a birthday on October 18th. I put together our Pelo birthday calendar, so I cyber stalked some of these people to try and find out when their birthdays were. There were lots of posts about his birthday on October 18th. I’m assuming that’s when his birthday is.
We’re going to go ahead and assume it. If it’s not, it won’t matter. It’s not like he listens, so it’s for everybody else.The exercise is a weight maintenance tool. Click To Tweet
If all of a sudden he starts getting birthday wishes on October 18th and I’m wrong, he’ll figure it out then.
It’ll be okay. Happy birthday.
Happy birthday. If not, then eventually.
Joining us is the ever patient, Jeff Wall.
How are you?
I’m good. I say ever patient because we were supposed to interview you the other day and things went awry, so we rescheduled him and he was very polite and gracious. Thank you.
How did you originally find out about Peloton?
This goes back to December of 2018. I was at my store. I own and operate two tire and automotive stores. I work in retail. There was a customer in the store and I don’t remember exactly what started the conversation, but I said something along the lines of wanting to work out or wanting to get back into some type of exercise program. I had fallen off the bandwagon. We can get deeper into what I used to do later. Long story short, she said, “I’ve got something I can recommend to you that there is a digital app, Peloton and they’ve got a free trial. You can try this thing. They’ve got different workouts. It’s great. You can ride your bike and they’ve got exercise classes and bootcamp classes and all that. I’m doing the bootcamp classes.”
Later that, I would try the Peloton digital app. Many years ago, in a former life, I was a Johnny G certified Spinning instructor and personal trainer. It was starting a transitional period between careers. It was a very magic time of my life, by the way, I loved that job. It was one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had because you could literally see the positive impact you were making in people’s lives.
It sounds like you’re a big fan of wheels.
I’ve been riding my bikes my whole life. Nonetheless, I happened to have a Star Trac Johnny G Spin Bike that I’d had for about fifteen years, the same stash. I hadn’t ridden it in ten years. I decided to get this thing back and get on a health kick. I’d put on too much weight and stressing out at work and got fat and you know how life gets in the way. I try the Peloton app. I pull the bike out and stick it in my office. I’m sitting in my office and open my computer. I used to have the bike right behind me. Staring at my computer screens, I did the Peloton digital app on my bike until February of 2020.
My wife couldn’t stay on that. She has a computer desk in the office as well. She hit the whole time with the bike. She’s like, “We’ve got to get this bike out of here. I don’t like this bike any longer.” I love the Peloton digital app from the beginning. I don’t remember the exact number but definitely, I’m over 150 rides on the digital app with my Johnny G Star Trac Spinner Bike. I like that bike. It was gym quality and commercial grade. It was a great bike, but it didn’t have the ability to track all the metrics that the Peloton bike does. That’s what got me into the Peloton bike and what got me to convert that.
Since February 2020, I sold my Johnny G bike and got the Peloton bike. It’s upstairs in an exercise room. It’s a bonus room that we’ve been building out as an exercise room bit by bit and about having a complete. It’s gotten to be a nice setup. My wife won the argument about getting the bike out of the office. I was resistant to that. I was like, “No. I like it. I want to keep it in the office.” Finally, I was like, “We can put it upstairs.” Now, I love it up there and I love the exercise room. She likes to point out that she was right about that one.
I have a question about the Star Trek bike. I’m assuming it doesn’t have a phaser. I find that irritating because they will sue the crap out of anybody that says spin, but then they have a bike called Star Trek?
I may have mispronounced it. It’s Star Trac.
If you don’t live here, you have no idea that it’s a different company. Tell us about this timeline when you were a spin instructor. Between that and when you got your bike, what does that look like? Is that 5 or 10 years? What’s the timeframe?
When I got my Peloton bike?
No, when you used to be a spin instructor and you said you stopped working out as much, and then you got into it.
The period was about fifteen years. I’m 58. I’m in my early 40s when I was doing that as a set of career transition. As I told you, we own and operate two tire and automotive stores. We had built those stores. I originally went in as an investor. I’m fully involved now as a general manager. At that time, I went in as an investor though during a career transition period. That’s when I was doing this spin thing. I was teaching about fifteen classes a week. I taught it almost every day in our market and everybody loves to do interval. Fifteen interval classes a week. Not quite then, seriously, a lot of bike rides.
You can well imagine, I lived my life in a gym and I enjoyed it. I was spinning at the time. I did not have good nutritional habits, maybe a little better than because I had the accountability of working in a gym, but I worked out ten hours per day. I did not have a weight issue. What happens then? We build the stores. My time gets drawn pretty much fully into operating these businesses bit by bit until I’m fully absorbed. I don’t have time for the other workout thing. That fell by the wayside and fifteen years past and I put on over 60 to 70 pounds
Doing fifteen classes a week. You could eat anything you wanted.
When I was in my twenties, I did triathlons. I could eat anything I want. My previous career was printing and I worked in a printing job. I would get home from work and hop on my bike. I lived in Pascagoula, Mississippi at the time and I could ride about 18 to 20 miles north from where I lived. There was a blue hole. There was an excavation site that had been used to build Interstate 10 and they dug down until they hit groundwater and this hole filled up fast that the excavation equipment is still down there.
It got flooded and they lost all their equipment in this building. This little quarter-acre lake of blue water out in the middle of nowhere, I would hop on my bike after work. I did this at least three days a week. I ride up 18 miles, jump off my bike, swim a quarter-mile across the lake, quarter-mile back or 0.5-mile swim, hop on my bike, ride home and then have dinner. I promise you, I could eat whatever I wanted, including the half-gallon of ice cream if I felt like it because I burned an insane number of calories and I’m in my twenties.
Fast forward a little bit, I’m fully absorbed. I’m a manager in the printing business. I went to work for USA Today during their startup cycle in their early days and worked insane hours. I was a printing plant manager and working 24/7. Exercise falls off the wayside. I’m an all of it or none of it kind of guy or addictive personality. I’m either all in work or all in workouts, whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it wide open. I’m wide open working and getting fat is what I’m doing during that period. I went back to try to do the exercise thing and lose some weight and again, having all these terrible nutrition habits in my life. As the years passed, I will tell you that the one tool that I knew how to use to lose weight, which was exercise became less effective.
In my 40s I was able to stay trim by working out again, a completely obscene amount of time. The hours that no one other than somebody who’s been employed full-time in the fitness industry could possibly put into working out. A short period of time, it was about a two-year period of my life when I was able to do that, back to work, slow down the exercise, terrible eating habits, stress at work. I got fat and put on way too much weight. I find myself around the time of adding the Peloton bike or wanting to get back into riding, I find myself way overweight. In 2019, I weighed 242 pounds and I’m 6 feet tall. That is the clinical definition of morbidly obese.
I’m a big old fat guy in my 50s now. Let me segue and say one brief thing. About many years ago, that was my one last go at the exercise to lose weight thing. I’m going to train for a half marathon and I had a good buddy. We ran hundreds of miles and did it right through the dead of winter. Even though I live in the Deep South, I remember doing three specific runs where it was eleven degrees. We’re out in the cold, doing 10-mile runs, freezing and training. I trained for this thing for six months. I ran this race and I weighed 227 pounds. I lost 15 pounds in six months of running. I would call that a complete failure.
I would call that crap. That’s not fair. You need to write a letter to management.
Many years ago, I finished the race and said, “I officially hate running.” It ruined running for me. It sucked. I weighed 227 pounds. I was too heavy to be running a half a marathon. It hurt. I didn’t have a great time and not that even matters. I finished the race, but I didn’t feel good. I said, “I hate running. I’m not going to do that anymore.” That’s where I was at as far as exercising to lose weight. I’ll segue into the weight loss thing. I met a health coach in 2019, somebody who I watched lose a great deal of weight, 108 pounds.
I just asked, “How did you do it? Tell me how you did it.” She shared her nutrition plan with me. I started on November 3, 2019. I weigh 242 pounds and lost 63 pounds in five months. It was 100% through nutrition. I mentioned Peloton and she said as we were discussing this nutrition, “Jeff, you cannot do Peloton ride and this nutrition plan. You’re not going to take in enough calories.” As soon as I mentioned Peloton, it has a reputation for being a hard physical cardio activity and aerobic cardio. Here’s what I told her because I dug in my heels on that and said, “I don’t think you understand how much bike riding I’ve done in my life. I can do a bike ride and dial it down. Every ride doesn’t have to be an interval ride. There is such thing as a recovery or a low impact ride is what Peloton calls them. I can do a much lower impact ride. That’s the equivalent of 1 mile or 1.5-mile walk around the block and I will agree to dial it down.”
That’s what I did, but I want to stress that my weight loss was based on nutrition. It wasn’t based on exercise. I am exercising at a much higher level now that I’ve lost 63 pounds. I weighed 179. I weighed 5 pounds more than when I graduated from high school, which was way beyond any goal that I had said. I spent my adult life I’ve been about 200 pounds. Most of the time, I weigh above 200 pounds. I went from a 40-inch waist to a 32-inch waist in this process. I’ve learned so much about nutrition and discovered it is the primary weight loss tool. The exercise is a weight maintenance tool, and that’s what I’m using Peloton for now.
What do you think is the biggest change that you made to your nutrition that made you successful?
Smaller portions, eaten more often throughout the day which how bodybuilders have been eating for decades.
I know that not everybody can go by your calories. Anybody out there reading, don’t try to follow this. Talk to your own nutrition guide or a person to guide you through. How much were you eating before you started? What did you go down to from a calorie standpoint?
I would say I eat fast food for lunch every day. If I had to take a guess, I would say I was probably eating 3,000 calories per day, possibly more. I have a typical American diet, carb-heavy diet, a lot of bread, a lot of pasta, a lot of sweets. I had a sweet tooth. Carbs have been dramatically reduced. This is not keto, but it is a much lower carb load and the typical American diet. During my weight loss phase, I was averaging between 1,000 and 1,200 calories a day is accurate, 75 to 90 grams of carbs. I coach people on this now. I’ve worked with more than 100 clients already. It’s highly effective. Part of the process is training your body to stop storing body fat. Another part of the process is to teach or force your body to go after stored body fat and use it for fuel. Both of those have to happen.
Do you do that with intermittent fasting?
It’s not. We’re the opposite of that. My doctor had been on my behind. The last thing I did before doing this nutrition plan was intermittent fasting at my doctor’s recommendation. He was concerned. I was showing signs of prediabetes and diabetes runs heavily in my dad’s side of the family. It’s a bad problem. Here I am way overweight. I was showing signs of insulin resistance and he’s talking to me about pre-diabetes. I was taking that seriously. I just quite frankly, didn’t know what to do. He recommended intermittent fasting. The problem is I didn’t address what I was eating that was wrong. I’m not saying that wouldn’t have worked for me, but I will say that what I’m doing is the polar opposite of this is eating all the time. This is taking in calories every 2 or 3 hours throughout the day, smaller portions, but eating all the time. It’s almost the polar opposite of it.
A lot of people swear by that, that way your body is constantly in that burning mode.
You’re never starving.
One of the things I learned that I was making a mistake, I didn’t know I was making a mistake, but like a lot of people, I was. I’m talking about, we, being Americans and our typical diet. Our country is exploded in obesity. I can share a few statistics, but 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. I live in Mississippi. You are in Missouri, which is no better. We’re in some of the fattest states in the country. It’s just a fact. Sadly, overweight is normal now. When I started losing weight after I got past about 30 pounds, people were like, “Jeff, slow down. You’re getting too skinny.” “I’m not too skinny. I was wearing 40-inch pants. I take all fat gut.” I’m in 32s now. I’m proud, but people have been telling me to stop for the last 25 pounds. Now I got to a healthy weight.
You know you’re doing good in your weight loss journey when people take you aside and then they’re like, “Are you sick?”
You raise a good point that when you live in a state like we do, people encourage you to be heavier. That is the norm. When we start losing weight, it’s like, “Stop doing that. You’re not eating enough. You’re not doing enough.” You’re absolutely right and it’s messing with your head.
It’s called an obesogenic society that we live in and we’re predisposed toward fatness. It makes people uncomfortable when you’re not fat. “I’ve been making people comfortable my whole life.” I’ve got to say that. One thing about nutrition, about what we’re doing wrong or what I was doing wrong and the mistake we were making with this high carb and high-calorie diet and skipping meals. We’re teaching our body by going these long intervals without eating. We are teaching our body that we don’t know when the next meal is coming. We better hang on to what we’ve got.
You eat a big meal and it’s loaded with carbs. Not just carb, not just bread, but added sugars in particular. That’s not just cane sugar or brown sugar, that’s corn sweeteners and there’s a whole host of all kinds of sugars that are in our foods. Those things go into your system. They elevate your blood sugar. Your body’s natural response when your blood sugar is elevated is to dump insulin into the bloodstream to and try and lower the blood sugar. That’s not in a safe condition, but the way it does that is by forcing that out of the bloodstream. Where does it force it? Into your fat cells.
Fat storage is happening on an almost daily basis with the style of eating that I was doing and that most Americans were doing. I didn’t know necessarily. I knew I was eating some foods that I shouldn’t be eating. I didn’t fully appreciate the impact of how devastating that is. Particularly as you age, your metabolism slows down and your body is predisposed to store fat. What point do you ever get to unlocking stored fat and using it for fuel? At what point does that ever happen?
For most of us, never.
Especially, if you’ve got a desk job and you’re sitting around all day.
You never reach that point. Your body has to utilize all of the free-floating carbs is what they’re called. When you eat that and your blood sugar is elevated, those that are called free-floating carbs in your bloodstream is the easiest stuff for your body to grab for energy. That’s what it’s going to do, the path of the least resistance, grab free-floating, carbs. Your muscles, themselves store glycogen that’s energy at the cellular level, it’s stored with water and it’s available for a quick burst of energy.
When we ride our bike, we’re burning glycogen at the muscular level. That stuff all has to be depleted. Your body has got to be out of all of that stuff. After paths of least resistance are all removed, then it will go after stored body fat. The fat has to go from fat stores to your liver to be metabolized or converted through a chemical process, into energy and to a form that your muscles can use for energy and then it goes to the muscles and get used. That’s a much slower process.
This is why my coach was saying, “Jeff, you’re not going to be able to do Peloton ride. Your body can’t supply the energy from stored fat as fast as it can in glycogen at the muscular level. Because of that, anaerobic cardio doesn’t work on a 1,100-calorie, 75 to 90-gram of carb nutrition plan. The good news is some way to fly off you. Eat like that.” It’s shocking. I lost an average of 4 pounds a week for five months without working out. It’s all nutrition.
I did a weight loss study years ago and it was through Washington University. It was a reputable thing. I say that because when I tell you what they had me do, you’re going to think it was not reputable. It was 900 calories a day and I couldn’t go over twenty carbs a day. I was losing 6 to 8 pounds a week.
It works for Tom to eat like that because he doesn’t eat fruits and vegetables. He doesn’t eat carbs at all.
For me, giving up carbs is giving up Cheetos and Fritos, all that bread and stuff like that.
Being a large American, I have done about every nutrition plan, diet, whatever. I recall doing one called a zigzag diet that bodybuilders do and a trainer shared this with me. I did it for one week and there’s a little more to it, but in a nutshell, it’s to eat whatever you want one day, zero carbs the next. By the end of the week, I promise you, I felt bad. I was like, “I don’t care whether I lose weight or not. I’m not doing this anymore. I was going to get killed myself.” Not literally but seriously, I felt like crap. That’s one of those things that bodybuilders do to slash off the body fat is confuse your body. I don’t know what it is, don’t do the zigzag diet. That was no fun.
I want to completely change directions. I want to hear about your volunteering that you do as a pilot because this is a fascinating subject. Tell us what you do to volunteer and how you got started, because with all the jobs you mentioned, you never said pilot.
A little baby boy was born on an Air Force base. My dad was in the Air Force. I was born in the Philippines. He was stationed overseas. I grew up on military bases and around airplanes my entire life. I had a fascination with them. It may be because I was on military bases and around what are some of the best pilots in the world. It had never occurred to me to work on my pilot’s license. I’m fascinated by airplanes. On the other hand, it’s seemed like maybe the goal too far. In my 40s, I got bit by a bug and I decided I want to take flying lessons.
It wasn’t a particularly good time in our household for my wife, but I sat down with her and said, “This is something that has been on the back burner of my mind for many years. It is important to me. I want to do this now. It’s going to be expensive. No doubt. I’m serious about this and I want to do this. Here’s the thing, if I’m going to get a license and have the ability for us to fly, maybe in the region and see family and do whatever we want to do.” This is not something I can wait until 65, I retire and then start doing, you time out. In general aviation, unlike in commercial pilots or transport pilots, they don’t necessarily pull your license when you get 65.
There is some point at which your skills will degrade to the point where they will not renew your ability to fly. You won’t get signed off or you may have a medical event, like a heart attack, even kidney stones, diabetes or something like that can ground you permanently. I told her, “I feel the need to do this right now,” even though it wasn’t a great financial time for us at the moment, our business, we were struggling a little bit. It was a rough time for us, but I felt the pull to do that. I dove in with both feet. We started working on my license, got that done and went to my instrument rating.
I spent this period of about three years of studying and flying and all the while work in all my free time. I got to the end of the process. I got my private ticket. I got my instrument rating. By that point, I’m president of a flying club with three Cessna airplanes. I passed my instrument check-ride, which by the way, your private pilot check-ride and instrument check-ride, especially as an adult are among the most terrifying things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s like 2.5-hour oral for the guy that knows 10,000 times as much as you do. A total asymmetrical information situation. It’s intimidating. It’s after a difficult proctored written exam that has to be out of the way first and then about two hours’ worth of flying to demonstrate maneuvers and whatnot. I get through all of that and fly with my instructor. Time after time, I get to the end of that, I’m like, “What do I do now?”
I spend a lot of time in my store and another customer we’re having this conversation like, “I’m checking my instrument checker. I’m not sure where I’m going to go.” She said, “Jeff, there is an organization called Pilots N Paws. It is a wonderful organization. They transport animals, mostly dogs. They transport animals for free, for rescues around the country. Please look into that. It’s such a great thing. What an awesome way to use your pilot’s license.” I go home and look up PilotsNPaws.org. It’s a huge clearinghouse. It’s a giant charity, but effectively what Pilots N Paws runs is a smart messaging board where requests to transport animals are posted and pilots can receive those and transport the animals.
A lot of times, these can be complicated transports. If you know anything about rescue, there are millions of dogs being euthanized in the US every year. Most of them are in the South. Unfortunately, we don’t have good spay or neuter laws down here. In order to keep them from getting euthanized, a lot of the animals that are in the South will get vetted and they get moved to the Northeast where they are adopted more easily, where there are a lot more spay/neuter laws. They’re moving by the tens of thousands by ground. A typical transport might be from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama to New Jersey or the Chicago area. A lot of them go to Maine.
The animals are moving all the time. The day after I got my instrument ticket, I hop on this board and there’s a puppy that needs to go from Shreveport, Louisiana to Columbus, Georgia. I’m halfway in between right near in Jackson, Mississippi Metro. I said, “That’d be a cool thing.” I called my instructor because the weather was not good. I just got my ticket the day before. I said to my instructor, “I’m thinking about doing this Pilots N Paws thing. Tomorrow, do you think you can go with me?” He agreed to go with me, which was a good thing because I got to use my instrument ticket big time. The very next day, we took off and go to Shreveport and had to do a low instrument approach at Shreveport. We met the rescue, picked up the dog, flew from there to Columbus, Georgia got to shoot a low approach in Columbus, Georgia, go to fly home.
Ceilings are low we couldn’t even land on our home field. We had to divert to Jackson International, where they had a better instrument equipment for landing. I got real-world experience. Number one, that was a cool thing to help that way. Number two, I got some great real-world experience, and it was simple to hop on and do that. The way that works, the Pilots N Paws runs this organization, the rescues go on there and they need assistance. Pilots volunteer their time and the expenses for the airplane. The expenses for that are a charitable deduction. As a recreational pilot, that’s about as good as it gets to be able to fly and achieve something that helps somebody and then get to write that off as well.
That’s an expensive hobby.
I’ve flown a bunch of missions. I stopped counting in Pilots N Paws missions a long time ago. It’s way over 100 missions. I’ll get into Angel Flight here and I fly almost 100 Angel Flight missions. Here’s what I tell people because I do speak about volunteer flying a little bit around civic organizations. I promise I absolutely would still fly these missions if they weren’t deductible but I wouldn’t be able to fly as many. It helps. There’s a reason that the government allows that and I’m proud of that. It helps lower the cost, but it’s a cool thing.
That’s how Pilots N Paws works. I jumped in and started taking up dogs here and there and everywhere, and got to be known as the guy who flies dogs. I’ve met some of it. We take them anywhere and everywhere and this is on my free time. I’m mostly working and usually, I have one day off per week. A lot of times I’ll fly on my one day off during the week, which also is a good thing. Some people can only fly on the weekends. I happened to have the ability to have a weekday off most days, which allows me to connect with people during workdays. As I mentioned, a lot of these flights, it wouldn’t make sense in a small airplane to try and fly an animal from the Deep South all the way to New Jersey or whatnot. It would be a rare exception from one pilot to make that.
A lot of times, these will be linked together and legs of 2 or 3. There is a need for coordination. There’s also a need for overnight fostering, long-term and short-term fostering. It’s a big volunteer effort. Many years ago, when I first joined Pilots N Paws, and you can go on and you can sign into this message board for free. There’s no cost for anybody, ground or pilot. There were 6,000 active users at that time. Two thousand of them were pilots and 4,000 nonpilots involved. In 2018, there were 36,000. I haven’t looked in the longest time. That’s been the explosive growth. There are animals moving all over the country all the time by air and by ground. By air, they’re flying all over the hundreds of flights per day. There’s a lot going on and a big need for that.
When did you officially start that?
That would have been 2012 or 2013.
What are Angel Flights?
Angel Flight missions are ambulatory medical missions and it’s another pilot charity and it’s one that’s become near and dear to my heart. The organization I fly for is called Angel Flight Soars. They are headquartered in Atlanta at Peachtree DeKalb Airport, PDK, and they cover the Southeast region. There are eight Angel Flight entities in the US and eight charities that share that name and they have blocked off region. The one I fly for covers, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North, and South Carolina. In Mississippi, I’m all the way in their farthest Western territory. I’d normally have a day off during the week that also makes me especially valuable to them because a lot of times patients need to travel for doctor’s appointments during the week.
I’m out here in their Western outpost and I’m oftentimes available during the week when they need me and that’s been a cool thing. It does require a little more experience. It does require an instrument rating to fly Angel Flights. You’re obviously flying human passengers instead of animals. I never got a single complaint from the dogs about my flying and instead I decided to step up there. That’s my joke. Once I got a little experience under my belt flying animals, I decided to register with Angel Flight and start flying medical missions. A typical mission for us is going to be a cancer or burn patient going to a multiple doctor visit.
An example is a young boy in Massachusetts who was burned off. I phoned him 6 or 7 times to Augusta, Georgia. He was burned when he was one-year-old in a terrible accident. He had a twin brother and their seven-year-old sister was trying to help their grandmother who was raising these kids and put the kid in the bathtub in scalding water and burned him from his neck down. It was bad enough that they immediately sent him to the Burn Center at Jackson and they gave him a 20% chance of living. A lot of the severe burn patients usually die from infection. They gave him a 20% chance of living and about an 8% chance of getting to keep his legs. It was that bad.
The good news is he survived and he still has both legs. When I first flew him, he was a few months post-burn and he was extremely uncomfortable. He couldn’t talk, but he could cry. You could tell that he hurt all the time, no matter what position he was in, he was in terrible pain. I’ve flown him to burn treatments in the JMS Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia. It is the largest, most advanced burn center in the country. This kid is making visits with his grandmother from Natchez, Mississippi, which is close to New Orleans, to Augusta, Georgia, which you can throw a rock and hit South Carolina to give you an idea of the distance. It’s a long trip. If you were to do that by car, I don’t think his grandmother could have driven straight through without stopping and spend a night in a hotel.
When she was going to fly commercial, she would either have to go to New Orleans or drive to Jackson, get on a plane and fly to Atlanta, get in a car and drive to Augusta. There’s no good way to do this. This kid went every other week for the first three years of his life. Imagine the burden on this family to transport. I don’t care how much money you have. I don’t care who you are. You can’t do that. That’s not possible. That’s where Angel Flight comes in and they have organized literally hundreds of missions for this kid.
That’s an example of what they do. A cancer patient who is going to treatment stuff. I have flown to Houston many times for cancer patients. That’s what we do. It’s a wonderful organization. I can tell you it’s the best-run charity that I’ve ever been involved with a staff of nine people. There’s nothing fancy about them. It is all about taking care of the patients. There is no billing mechanism at all. No one gets charged anything. It’s 100% free. Angel Flight Soars operates. They live and die on donations, corporate and private, but mostly corporate. The pilots carry the cost of transportation and that’s how that operates. It’s such a well-run organization, it’s amazing. I’m honor to work with them.
Thank you for doing that and for being generous with your time and your experience.
It is such a great way to put hobby to use.
Thank you for saying that. I’ll share with you a real brief story about an epiphany. This is a group that I’ve come to love and identify with Angel Flight a lot. I flew an entire family to Dallas. By this time, I’m still president of this flying club that I mentioned Wesley Flyers. I’m in a group at that point that owns a Beechcraft Bonanza six-seater single-engine airplane. I flew a family, a mother, a son, his wife and the one having surgery, and then all their bags and everything to Dallas for him to have surgery. I flew him back home and another trip.
A lot of times, I will take a passenger with me. In fact, almost always. If I’m flying animals, I call them pup wranglers or dog wranglers. I’ll post on Facebook. I’ve taken a hundred of my Facebook friends on flights with me, everybody enjoys that. I enjoy having the company and it’s nice to have the help. In this particular case, I didn’t have room to have a companion along with me. I deadheaded back. I dropped them off in Dallas and I’m flying back home and it’s a Friday evening. It’s not a day that I was normally off, but I took off in the afternoon to make this flight for them and I’m coming home by myself.
I’ve been doing missions at that point for maybe 3 or 4 years. I had a decent amount of experience, but maybe still fairly early in my career with Angel Flight Soars. I’m flying back, it’s at night. I got a tailwind I’m making 200 knots. Everything is extremely beautiful, peaceful night, over Longview, Texas, but on the way home and it dawned on me. I started thinking about all the things that had to happen in my life for me to be sitting in the seat where I was sitting, being able to what I was doing. I had a great sense of gratitude like, “How did I get lucky? How come I’m the guy that’s fortunate enough that I get to do this? What did I do?”
I thought back about all the things in my life, born on the military base and my interest in flying, the years that I had to work. Honestly, for most of my early years, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to take flying lessons and fly airplanes. After many years of work, I did have enough money to do that. What I didn’t have was the time to do that. I was absorbed in my career and whatnot. I’m self-employed now because in my previous career, I’ve managed printing plans at Belgium. I had to advance in my management skills to the point that I could own and operate my own business and that took decades to get to that point.
Until I was at that point, I didn’t have the autonomy or the financial strength to do what I did. These things happened over years of my life and early in my life, I’m sorry to say that I was late to learn in my life how valuable volunteerism is. To be in a position to be able to do things to help people is an awesome thing and I love that. Here I am sitting in my airplane, it was almost a Zen experience of like, “How did I get here? How did this happen? How am I the guy?” It was like an epiphany.As you age, your metabolism slows down, and your body is predisposed to store fat. Click To Tweet
I realized my airplane and my pilot’s license that God had given me a mission field and I was sitting in it. It’s my airplane. There is such a huge need for this. There aren’t enough pilots to volunteer and to go around the duke us. It’s a valuable commodity. I find myself in a position in my life when I have something unique that I can offer and it was presented to me. As far as, the mission field, I’m not someone who’s predisposed to go on a mission trip to Guatemala or somewhere and build a house. I don’t know anything about building houses. I wouldn’t be helpful or a medical mission. What I know about helping people with teeth or anything like that. I don’t.
I have a plane and a pilot’s license and I can carry patients to their hospital visits and fill a need in society. That was a cool experience. It fully hit me the realization of how far I’d come and what I was doing. I went home and shared that with my wife, and I’m proud to say that she fully gets it as well. You could easily see that if this was a conflict in my house like, “You’re spending how much on an airplane?” I know guys like that who their wives don’t want that. She was filling in and she said, “I think this is your calling.”
It’s just not a lot of resources. It’s a lot of time away. It’s incredible that you enjoy doing it so much that it doesn’t feel like a burden to you. It feels like something that you’re grateful to be able to do. I don’t know that a lot of people even have the opportunity that they ever find something like that.
I do feel fortunate. I feel like I’ve been blessed and I want to be able to share that. I’m at a different place in my life than I was before. I was running hard and not worried about that and other people when I was younger and this is a different phase of my life. It’s been remarkably rewarding to me personally. It’s an awesome thing.
We checked a lot of boxes personally and for other people. It’s a win-win.
It’s inspiring to our readers and I would not be surprised if people check out both of those organizations.
Maybe if we have any pilots reading.
PilotsNPaws.org and AngelFlightSoars.org. It’s a wonderful organization.
We ought to pivot back to Peloton, but I am curious what your leaderboard name is then.
It’s AngelFlightJeff. It’s something that I truly identify with and I love the organization. My license plate on my vehicle is Angel Flight. I truly love them. They’re such an awesome organization. They care so much about their patients. It’s amazing.
While we’re back in the world of Peloton, do you have any advice for people that are now getting their bikes?
Dive in and do it. For somebody who’s brand new, you don’t want to overdo it, but I don’t think there’s any better advice than get on the bike and try the rides. Peloton instructors, all of them are world-class. I used to be a spinner instructor. I think I know what a good fitness instructor looks like. They are a world-class and they’re a great group. Something we didn’t even touch on at all, of course, I’m riding the bike but I’ve gotten deep into yoga. Anna Greenberg is awesome.
Honestly, yoga is going to overtake my number. I did my 324th bike ride and I’m over 250 yoga classes. Yoga is going to overtake my bike ride and that’s okay. I’ve done so much bike ride over a lot in my life that I have neglected core, arms, shoulders, upper body and all those things. I’m focusing on that. I’m doing Strength class. I was able to buy some dumbbells. I did finally get some Peloton dumbbells. I’m doing their Strength classes, but yoga has been fantastic. My core, I don’t know if it’s ever been any firmer than it is. I’ve had Anna Greenberg to thank for that. I’m able to do some inverted forearm to stand balance which stuns me that I’m able to do that, but sure enough, she’s a great instructor and I’m enjoying that.
It’s good to be flexible with some of those sets because those are small.
I have another group of partners that we purchased another plane. This one is a Piper Malibu Mirage. We’re excited about that. As a matter of fact, it’s in Kansas City getting an annual right now and we’re going to pick it up. This is a nice one. It’s pressurized. It’s also a six-seater with a lot of room and we can go higher and faster.
With your love for yoga, the Pilots N Paws works great because every time you land downward dog, it’s the only yoga reference I can make. Where can people find you on social media if you would like to be found?
I’m most active on Facebook.com/jefferywall. If you look up Jeff Wall, my wallpaper has an airplane Piper Malibu Mirage there. That would be the right one. About the nutrition plan that I talked about, I’m happy to consult with anybody. If they want to reach out to me on Facebook, I would need to talk to them on the phone. We do a consult. As a coach, we do about 20 or 25-minute to consult with some health questions and then explain how that works or email me if you want and that would be [email protected]. I mentioned the email because I’m close to 5,000 Facebook friends. I’ll accept a friend request if somebody has an interest, but you could also follow me and maybe send a private message if you have an interest. We can discuss from there.
Thank you for taking the time out of what is a busy day to join us. We appreciate it.
Thank you for all that you do with your volunteer activities. It’s stunning how awesome it is.
Thank you for saying that. I appreciate it. I enjoy talking to you. Thank you for interviewing me.
Until then, where can people find you?
People can find me on Facebook.com/CrystalDOKeefe. They can find me on Instagram, Twitter on the Bike and of course the Tread, @ClipOutCrystal.
You can find me on Twitter, @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TomOKeefe. You can find the show online at Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page, join the group. Wherever you’re getting your podcasts from, be sure and subscribe so you never miss an episode. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep pedaling and running.
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