President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. moves into the White House on Wednesday facing many weighty issues: a global pandemic. A crushing recession. Racial injustice. Right-wing extremism.
But Mr. Biden’s personal exercise regimen will face a different kind of burning question: Can he bring his Peloton bike with him?
The answer, cybersecurity experts say, is yes. Sort of.
A Peloton, for the uninitiated, is part indoor stationary bike, part social media network. The bikes are expensive — upward of $2,500 apiece — and have tablets attached, enabling riders to livestream or take on-demand classes and communicate with one another.
When Mr. Biden was cloistered during the coronavirus surge 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 that Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, engage in regular morning negotiations over who gets to ride first.
But the Peloton tablets have built-in cameras and microphones that allow users to see and hear one another if they choose, and for Mr. Biden, therein lies the rub. The last thing the C.I.A. wants is the Russians and the Chinese peering or listening into the White House gymnasium. Last week, Popular Mechanics warned about the security risk under the headline “Why Joe Biden Can’t Bring His Peloton to the White House.”
The article prompted an explosion of chatter in Peloton world, but really, cybersecurity experts say, if Mr. Biden wants his bike, he can surely have it, though it might bear little resemblance to the off-the-assembly-line version after the Secret Service and the National Security Agency are finished with it.
Peloton does not exactly comport with Mr. Biden’s “regular guy from Scranton” political persona. But for Mr. Biden, who at 78 will be the oldest person to be sworn in as president, riding a Peloton makes good political sense, even if it clashes with Working Class Joe. President Trump spent much of last year’s campaign trying to persuade Americans that Mr. Biden is feeble — an argument Mr. Biden dispensed with when a Fox News clip of him riding his bike through the streets of Delaware went viral.
“I wasn’t really thinking of him as an energetic young guy, but the fact that he rides his Peloton for exercise means to me that he has more energy than I thought he did,” said Jennifer Loukissas, a federal employee who rides her Peloton at home in Kensington, Md.
Ms. Loukissas said she had spent some time trying to discern Mr. Biden’s Peloton leader board name. “I looked up all of the Joe Scrantons I could think of,” she said, in a reference to Mr. Biden’s birthplace. “None of them seemed to match up.”