Medical Technology

Could a Peloton Bike Really Have Killed Mr. Big?

“And Just Like That,” the highly anticipated next chapter of “Sex and the City,” has become HBO Max’s highest-rated series debut to date..

In the premiere episode, Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, leaves Big Chris Noth, played by Chris Noth, alone for the night to work out on his Peloton, the at-home stationary bicycle that was hugely popular during the pandemic. After a particularly intense workout with his favorite trainer Allegra (portrayed by real-life Peloton instructor Jess King), Big suffers an attack of heart. Carrie later sees Big lying on the floor of the bathtub. “And just like that,” she recounts, “Big was dead.”

The moment the episode aired on HBO Max, social media was awash with the shock of the sudden death of one of the show’s central characters, leading to an unsettling PR nightmare for Peloton (the stock dropped after the show’s premiere) and a lot of hilarious tweets.

In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Peloton spokeswoman Denise Kelly expressed surprise that the Peloton bike was used fatally in the show. Kelly claimed that the only information that the company got from the show was “that bikes was used in the episode and that Jess King would be portraying the role of a fictional Peloton instructor.”

Quickly, Suzanne Steinbaum, MD, a cardiologist and member of Peleton’s Health and Wellness Advisory Council she defended the exercise bike in a statement to E! News.

“I’m sure SATC Fans, like me are shocked to hear that Mr. Big has passed away due to a heart attack. Many would describe Mr Big as an extravagant person who consumed a lot of cigars, smoked a lot of meats and consumed a lot of cocktails. He was also at risk from an earlier heart attack in Season 6. These lifestyle choices, and possibly his family history, which is often a significant factor, are likely to be the cause of his death. Riding his Peloton bike could have delayed his cardiac event,” she said.

On December 12, three days after the two-episode premiere of “And Just Like That,” Peloton released a commercial with a holiday theme featuring Chris Noth and Jess King called “Unspoiler Alert,” which shows the pair sitting on a couch and suggesting that they decide if they want to “go for a ride” on their Pelotons. Ryan Reynolds, the actor who plays the voice of the video uploaded it to his YouTube channel, as well as Twitter.

“And just like that,” Reynolds says, “the world was reminded that regular cycling stimulates and improves your lungs, heart and circulation, reducing your risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Cycling builds your heart muscles, lowers resting pulseand lowers blood fat levels.”

Reynolds quickly declares, “He’s alive,” before the ad fades into Peloton logo. Vulture interviewed Daniel Luger, MD, who is a Chicago-based cardiologist. Luger discussed the possibility that Peloton could be the key to Big’s death. “So when you have a known history of coronary disease,” Luger told the outlet, “you can have a heart attack at any time. It’s not unrealistic to imagine that he’ll exercise and then suffer a heart attack. Exercise can increase the chance of having a heart attack, but we encourage all patients with coronary disease to exercise since the chances of having an event are low and the benefits are much higher.”

Luger ultimately is in agreement with Steinbaum. “Exercise is not the cause of an event. The reason he had an incident was that he had a poor control of cholesterol and blood pressure that was not properly controlled and was clearly smoking cigarettes, and he had a history of coronary disease. All of the risk factors for coronary diseases should be modified with aplomb in order to avoid an incident,” he said.

Following the release of the viral advertisement, Peloton’s stock started to creep back up 2.5 percent. Peloton tweeted a response to Reynolds tweet and said: “To New Beginnings …”

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