28 Days of Black Joy: How I (Lost and) Found My Fit Family During the Pandemic

You got that Peloton bike money? Narrator voice: Jessica did not have that Peloton bike money.
You got that Peloton bike money? Narrator voice: Jessica did not have that Peloton bike money.
Photo: Scott Heins (Getty Images)

I taught my last spin class at Push Pedal NYC on March 9, 2020.

That same week I flew down to my parents’ home in Miami for a quick weekend visit—and am now coming up on month 11 of my stay.


Like many others, staying active has not only been key to me maintaining a healthy lifestyle but also a stable and positive mental well-being. And in the middle of a pandemic that has robbed me of everything from loved ones to numerous hours of sleep and my usual motivation to complete even the most mundane of tasks, I’ve really struggled to find both inspiration and the fitness community I had in the city.

While in the middle of a particularly bad funk last June, one of my best friends, Sim, encouraged me to take my first ride using the Peloton app. But it didn’t feel the same. I didn’t feel the same. I wasn’t invested.

The incredibly tight-knit Latina-owned studio I worked at for just under a year and a half officially closed its doors less than seven months after my final 6 a.m. class, becoming one of the 2,800 New York businesses to shut down indefinitely since last spring.

With Push Pedal NYC gone, I felt like I had lost a major part of my New York life due to the pandemic. It was only at that point I knew that I needed to grieve and heal. And that meant me taking care of myself in a way that I hadn’t in months, championing both my physical and mental health.

With nothing left to lose, besides feelings of negativity, anxiety, and an overall uneasiness about the state of the world, I gave Peloton another shot. A sincere one.


Months have gone by and my fitness family understandably looks different than it did before the pandemic. Now it looks like texting Sim every weekday morning after full-body workouts with my favorite multihyphenate instructors and Black women extraordinaire, Jess Sims and Tunde Oyeneyin. It’s exchanging sweaty selfies with Corey and Felice before hopping on Slack for work. It’s making Pilates dates with my hilarious and supportive Betches Who Bike, Nanyamka and Tracey, while taking in all the Black Girl Magic: The Peloton Edition on Facebook (shoutout to anti-poverty advocate and 2020 The Root 100 honoree Aisha Nyandoro for putting me on!). It’s keeping in touch with my Push Pedal familia para siempre.

It’s hard not to instinctively cling to the past, but I’m doing my best to embrace change and keep moving forward. In the meantime, I’ll be working out at my parents’ house—and trying to convince someone to buy me a $2,000 bike for my birthday. It’s May 13.

Jessica Moulite is an award-winning Video Producer at The Root passionate about dismantling unjust societal power structures and all things Black culture. She's also probably watching “Living Single.”