As sad as it is to say, summer is coming to a close, and in Michigan that can only mean one thing… questionable weather! Sure we still have some good months ahead but it may be the time to start thinking about ways to keep your fitness going through the fall and winter. One great thing I started using a few years ago was Zwift, it’s an awesome way to keep you out of the elements (or dark) when riding outside might not be the best option. Keep reading below while I try my best to explain all things Zwift.
What is Zwift? Simply put Zwift is no longer having to stare at a blank wall listening to your ipod or desperately trying to zone out into your favorite shows while painfully spinning away on the trainer. Essentially it’s a way to ride your bike with, or against, real people in a virtual world. It consist of four different maps all with different scenery, routes, elevation, etc. and (depending on your trainer set up) can react in real time with all these different elements. So whether you’re bombing a downhill, drafting a group, or charging up a climb, the trainer will adjust the resistance to give you a realistic feeling.
Furthermore, Zwift offers custom workouts, racing, group rides, and free rides all with a somewhat social aspect. In Zwift not only can you ride with and against thousands of riders from all over the world, you can also ride with your buddies. Let’s say it’s too late for a ride or the weather just isn’t cooperating, you can still jump on with a friend and free ride a virtual world with a real road feel. Looking for something a little more competitive? Zwift offers a list of different races or group rides starting a few times per hour, letting you bump elbows with other riders from around the world. Also if any of you already use the Strava App when riding outside, Zwift works the same way, ranking you on social leader board in real time to see how you stack up on different climbs and sprint segments. Even giving you the chance to hold a coveted leader’s jersey until someone tops your time.
The other fun element is that it includes a bit of a video game aspect. Besides the fact that Zwift is a virtual world, they’ve included different levels and corresponding prizes for reaching them. This means for every mile you ride or accomplishment you achieve you’ll unlock new gear. Now that might sound corny but if unlocking that sweet new bike for your virtual self means you push on a few more miles, then hey I guess it’s worth it.
Now I get it’s definitely not for everyone, obviously for all the fitness and video game junkies it’s kind of a win win. But let’s be honest that’s kind of a rare breed. Clearly nothing is going to beat riding outside with good friends but the fact of the matter is we live in Michigan and some days that’s just not possible. Which means when it rains, gets dark at 5, or snows in April, Zwift offers a great alternative. So if you wanna get rid of those excuses when you just don’t want to leave the house, get zwift and as their slogan goes “Ride On.”
** My Personal Set Up **
Trainer: Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control – $550.00
Cat Eye Bluetooth HR Monitor: $50.00
Iphone App : Free
Lightning to HDMI Iphone Adapter: $50.00
Zwift Membership: $15.00 Monthly
Basically with my set up I simply turn on my phones Bluetooth and open the Zwift App. From there the app auto syncs to my trainer/heart rate strap. Next I plug my phone into my TV via the HDMI cable and iphone adapter. Yes, there’s definitely better options out there, but for me this is a quick, easy, and an inexpensive way to use Zwift (also I don’t have to use a computer or the internet). Feel free to message or comment below if I can answer questions about your personal setup.