House-bound cyclists are turning to the virtual world of Zwift for their daily fitness fix – and the pros are joining in too.
An effective lockdown is depriving cyclists of group meets, while the daily limit of one piece of outdoor exercise means that lengthier pursuits are parked for the foreseeable future.
The online game and training platform Zwift, however, is allowing cyclists and runners to unite with fellow athletes from the comfort of their own home.
Daily events pit racers against each other in virtual worlds with cyclists of all capabilities taking part, including pros such as cyclist Mathieu Van der Poel
How does it work?
Zwift takes your speed as calculated by an algorithm and either a power meter, a smart trainer or a speed sensor.
The algorithm takes into account your weight, your power and the position of other riders.
This data is then applied to your avatar which is racing against fellow riders or runners from across the world.
What equipment do I need?
To get started riders will need a bike, and a smart trainer or set of rollers.
On top of this cyclists must have a measurement tool of some sort, such as; a power meter, smart trainer or speed sensor.
In order to access Zwift cyclists must also have access to a phone, tablet or computer Bluetooth or ANT+.
How do I get started?
Get started by heading over to Zwift’s website and signing up for an account. If you are using your phone or your tablet you will first need to download the Zwift app.
From here you can opt to sign up to the apps free 7-day trial or pay Zwift’s subscription fee of £12.99 a month.
Where can I cycle and who can I race with?
Once you’ve succesfully signed up to Zwift you can team up with, or compete against, cyclists from around the world.
If you log on to Zwift you will be presented with a list of races and group rides which you can participate in. Races are divided into categories meaning riders can race against riders of their own standard.
Races and group rides are set in Zwift’s variety of virtual courses:
- New York City
In order to make sure cyclists aren’t spread too thinly between each of the worlds, Zwift only allows access to two courses each day.
Can I cycle alone?
Zwift is equipped with an array of structured workouts allowing riders to maintain their fitness and routine.
The workout plans are put together by professional trainers, while their interactive nature offer a welcome alternative to a humdrum solo ride on a basic trainer.
Can I register my rides on Strava?
You can link up your Strava and Zwift accounts and keep a record of your daily rides.
To do this visit the official zwift website and go to settings. From here click on connections and select the connect button next to the Strava logo