Barbara A. Marschalk, a Drew Eckl Farnham partner, doing her workout on a Peloton bike. (Courtesy photo) Barbara A. Marschalk, a Drew Eckl Farnham partner, doing her workout on a Peloton bike. (Courtesy photo)

Plaintiffs lawyer Tony Kalka has turned his casual usage of Peloton, an online app for shared exercise-bike workouts, into a way to stay connected with other Atlanta lawyers while keeping fit.

Kalka, who is the proprietor of Kalka Law Group, said he started doing Peloton workouts every day last week to “stay sane while in quarantine.” Ordinarily, he uses the app just to get some exercise—joining a live ride with an instructor or using one of the app’s many saved rides—but he thought it would be a fun way to connect with other lawyers who are also trying to run a law practice remotely while homeschooling young children. 

On Sunday he posted a note on Facebook: “I usually jump on this bike a few times a week, but since we are stuck at home, I’m going to get on a streak,” and added his Peloton handle—ClemsonTigerAtl—so people could find him on the app.

“The response has been crazy,” Kalka said. Plaintiffs and defense lawyers he’d tagged on Facebook or via Peloton quickly responded to schedule virtual rides together in real time, including Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith’s Atlanta managing partner Scott Masterson, Barbara Marschalk of Drew Eckl & Farnham and Joe Fried of Fried & Goldberg.

The Peloton connection has sparked wide-ranging text and phone conversations beyond stationary cycling. “It’s led to good discussions about how people’s firms are surviving the new normal,” Kalka said, whether it’s how they prepared for remote work and the kinds of technology they are using or how their employees are doing. “Before we’d get a beer together to talk or see each other at Lawyers Club.” 

Kalka, who has cases against Masterson and other defense litigators who use the Peloton app, said they’ve been talking about case management as well.

Kalka joined Masterson in a live group ride via Peloton on Sunday for the defense litigator’s birthday, set to classic rock.

Masterson, whose handle, NotTylerDurden, references Brad Pitt’s character in Fight Club, confirmed the Peloton connection, but declined to comment “on ‘bike club,’ as one does not talk about bike club.”

When pressed further, Masterson did say, “Anything that you can be a part of, that benefits your health and the exchange of ideas about how to get through this thing, is a positive.”

Marschalk, however, was happy to talk about the new quarantine-inspired bike club. She and her family became Peloton enthusiasts about two years ago, the defense litigator said, and she quickly embraced the social connectivity of the app, joining a national Peloton Law Moms group for instance.

Faced with unfamiliar downtime, Marschalk, whose Peloton handle is GamecockBAM, said doing rides with Kalka and other Atlanta lawyers during quarantine has been a big help.

“It’s keeping me relatively sane. As a workaholic, this forced slowdown has been a little bit difficult for me,” Marschalk told the Daily Report on Thursday as she cooked breakfast for her daughter.

“Tony and I ride together and we can push each other, from seeing where we are on the [app’s] leaderboard,” said Marschalk, who is riding at least four times a week.

Like Kalka, she’s using Facebook and texts to coordinate rides with other Atlanta lawyers, and she said that has sparked conversations about cases with both defense and plaintiffs colleagues. “It can bring you to a common ground. Even if we are arguing about some legal issue, at the end of the day we can get on the bike together and push each other to go harder and further.” 

Fried, the proprietor of plaintiffs firm Fried Goldberg, said he’s been doing daily Peloton rides as a New Year’s resolution, so he quickly responded when he saw that Kalka had tagged him on Peloton via his handle, Whoot. That has led to good conversations about how they are doing, he added.

Fried is doing rides with Kalka, and he wants to get more lawyers in the exercise-bike saddle, adding that he’d love to get a group of 10 or 20 local lawyers doing regular Peloton rides. 

“It’s another idea for doing something that is social and good for you during this time of isolation,” he said.