Zwift

In case you don’t know, Zwift is one of several virtual reality online cycling systems that use a smart trainer and the internet to put you on your bike elsewhere in the world, or in a created place. It seems very popular here in cold-in-the-winter Canberra as a way to get out of the chill and train.
I’m doing a group test of smart trainers for an upcoming issue of BA, and so I have 10 smart trainers sitting in my living room and an incentive to test a different one each day. While I am using them for my favourite “erg” power routines, controlled by my Garmin head unit, I had to sign up to Zwift to put them to that use as well.

Zwift is quite addictive. It has just enough aspects of a video game (experience points, levels, awards and so on), and it is so much like riding (and I even do it outside as my backyard is the usual trainer location at home) that you get kind of immersed in the riding. Then there is the competitive aspect. Like trying for a Strava segment record (and it links to Strava so you still have that) there are climbs and sprints in the Zwift world with leader boards (and even KOM jerseys - I got one yesterday). In short, it is tough to not go harder and longer than you might have planned.
As an added bonus, there is the ability to do a planned workout too. You can program one in, or choose from the myriad on offer.
And there are races. The grades are divided up by W/kg. Everything in Zwift is driven by W/kg. Their physics model determines how fast you go based on your power to weight output at any given moment.

If you use a Tacx Neo, you can feel and hear the surface that you are riding on. The buzz of the planks on the wooden bridges, the noise of the dirt under your tyres on the unsealed roads. It is very cool.

If Wahoo ever releases the “Climb” and you hook it to a Kickr (gen 3) you will get the bike pointing up and down in accompaniment to the slope in the game. I really wanted to try that but the Climb is still a prototype despite the fact it was meant to be on sale by now.

You can change jerseys, bikes, wheels, socks and helmets. Plus hair styles, skin colour and bike paint. In short, you can look pretty much however you want.

It is a real expense to dive into this virtual world - upwards of $1000 for the smart trainer and $20/month for Zwift. Plus you’ll need a bike of course.


But if you like cycling and training you should love Zwift.
Your legs, however, will hate it. Mine are really sore from all this trainer riding.