I have been Zwifting now for over two years and absolutely love it, especially during the last year with all the various lockdowns we’ve had, it’s helped massively to keep me motivated. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would spend sometimes hours sitting on a bike in my utility room cycling with people from all over the world and actually enjoying it I would have laughed (the longest distance I have covered in one ride was 240 miles – just over 11 hours I could definitely feel my backside after that!)
For those of you who don’t know anything about Zwift let me introduce you to it and perhaps once you’ve read this I might have persuaded you to give it a go – you never know may discover you love it too!
What is Zwift?
Zwift is an online cycling/running game and training program that enables users to ride, train and compete in virtual worlds.
Here are the basics of what you need to get going:
- A bike (or smart bike)
- A smart turbo trainer
- A computer, smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth or ANT+ (or an ANT+ USB dongle)
Once you have downloaded the app and set up an account – there is usually a free trial you can try otherwise it costs £12.99 per month. It’s also worth downloaded the Companion app onto your phone as this is a great way to sign up to events, join group rides, workouts and races.
When this is all done you have to pair up your smart trainer to the computer – just follow the information on the screen, create your avatar, then it’s time to have a bit of fun – the faster you peddle the faster your avatar goes!
There are eight virtual worlds to choose from:
- New York
The worlds change each day although Watopia is a constant. Each of the worlds have a variety of preset courses you can choose to ride, different distances and elevations, once you’ve finished the course you collect a Badge (I love badge collecting – sad but true!) If you don’t want to stick to specific course it’s very easy to change direction as you ride and move freely around the map.
Group rides and arranging to “meet” up with friends for a ride or a training session together has been great, especially this past year when we haven’t been able to meet up with friends in the real world. You are able to chat during the ride via the companion app which also allows you to give “Ride on’s” to fellow cyclists (a thumbs up of encouragement!)
Racing is another feature of Zwift, great fun and adds a bit of a competitive edge! My competitive streak comes out even when I’m not racing, someone over takes me and I find myself trying to catch them back up!
There are a variety of jerseys that you can win these are assigned to fastest male and female riders currently on course you’re riding.
Green jerseys are given to the fastest riders on course for each sprint section. Each world has two sprint sections, meaning a maximum of two men and two women may be wearing the sprint jersey at any time on course.
Polka dot climber’s jerseys are given to the riders with the fastest time up the course’s big climbs.
The orange jersey is given to the fastest riders around the main route on a particular course, in either direction.
There’s nothing more satisfying than getting a Jersey and seeing your name in 1st place on the list – it may only be short lived but a win’s a win right? 😀I’m rubbish at sprinting, I just can’t get the speed in my legs but I’m not too shabby at climbing!
There is SO much more to Zwift including being able to link it up to your Strava account, this is just a basic outline of what is available on this gaming program. It really is great fun and a great training tool. When it’s cold, wet and windy outside it’s much nicer to be inside cycling with friends!
Take a look and see what you think.