So where do we start with the current situation in the world right now? It appears spring has been put on hold for now as we’re on self isolation bar key workers. I’d like to start by thanking all key workers for continuing to put themselves in the firing line to keep us going whether that’s everyone in the NHS or delivery drivers all the way to the bin disposal teams.
Now as you’re aware we have all been advised to stay home unless it’s for your one a day exercise but what if your one exercise on that day needs to be walking the dog or fetching groceries, where are you going to find the time to fit your cycling needs in?. Thankfully with today’s technology you can still cycle but all in the comfort of your own home with a turbo trainer, a couple of sensors and a computer/phone and it doesn’t need to be expensive.
Zwift is a great online platform to keep cycling and keep in touch with your cycling friends if they have the same application or make new ones from the comfort of your home. It’s a virtual world where you are pedalling on a trainer that drives your avatar around a virtual course of your choice. The more power you put in the faster you go. Zwift has seven different worlds for you to explore and they are forever expanding, you can pick from several different courses varying in length and climbs or you can just freeride your way round the map. Thankfully though i’ve put together a brief review into Zwifting in a bid to kick the boredom out of your routine stuck at home and to a routine of fitness and fun without leaving the house.
What do I need to Zwift?
Operating systems don’t need to be expensive but to get a more accurate reading and to get more from your cycle training you need to spend more for more dedicated trainers like a smart one. For example i have a Tacx Blue Matic non smart trainer which i purchased second hand for 45 pounds and a simple road bike for 150 pounds (you can spend less on other second hand markets), I’m using the Heart rate monitor cadence and speed monitor which came with my Garmin and then you can use Zwift on your phone and/or laptop. Once set up you need to create an account with Zwift in which you get 7 days free and after that its £12.99 a month which for what you get in the game is quite reasonable. All in all it has cost me just over 200 pounds to get going but you can do it even cheaper.
Can I have a set training plan on Zwift?
Now the aim for Zwift is to take the boredom out of indoor cycling and stop you staring at the walls in your pain cave and submerge you in a virtual world with a chance to set up a training plan. Zwift has several training plans programmed into it which last for weeks. I’m currently doing a MTB specific program called Dirt destroyer which is a 6 week long program aimed at increasing power, stamina and pedal efficiency. It sets you guidelines for each session and you need to aim to match the rpm and watts required which is all on screen and it is super easy to understand. If you download the Zwift companion app to your phone you can add more to your Zwift experience.
What is the Zwift companion app?
If you’re using a computer to use Zwift, I can also recommend downloading the Zwift Companion app from the App Store or Google Play. This app puts a number of convenient features at your fingertips, such as changing the direction of your avatar, giving ride ons and messaging other users. The Companion app is also a great way of exploring and signing up for the many events that Zwift offers such as group rides, group workouts and races.
Can I upload my ride to Strava?
The answer is simply yes, as long as you connect the two accounts through your Zwift profile then once you finish your ride it will automatically upload to your Strava account without any fuss.
What worlds are currently in zwift?
There are currently six different worlds on Zwift:
- New York City
Each of these worlds has a number of preset courses for you to ride, or you can just pedal freely around each map.There is a catch, though. On any particular day, there will only be three worlds available to ride (usually two but due to high demand on the servers recently they have added one more to ease the demand of the servers for a smoother operating system) . Watopia, Zwifts original and most featured virtual world and 2 guest worlds picked from the other maps available, these are marked out in the calendar with a coloured key so you know which days are what courses to ride.
In summary given the current climate this is a great way of still exercising and keeping your fitness up through this isolation period without putting any risk to you and possibly adding any extra strain to the health service from riding outside. I have found it a great tool to use to keep me motivated and improve on fitness together. It’s no replacement to riding outside but for now where risks are to be kept to a minimum it’s a fantastic tool and still keeps those legs spinning.
If you would like a more In depth review into the program then please let us know and we will cover everything from watts to kilograms power outputs all the way down to customizing your bike and character in game.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and are keeping safe and well
Lol my moment of fame, captured as my Zwift avatar