It can be a boring experience to sit on a bike trainer and stare into the wall. However, Zwift has completely changed the indoor cycling training and allows everyone to cycle, train, and compete in a large virtual world.
Indoor cycling is flourishing at the moment and there are many different indoor training apps available, but Zwift is by far the most popular. It is fully featured and offers several training options that can get you in shape from home.
What is the Zwift app?
Zwift is actually a bicycle simulator. You get on the bike and pedal to move an avatar on a virtual route. It is online interactive training and you drive faster with each push of the pedals.
Zwift contains a number of worlds each with different routes. Some are replicas of real-world bike routes, and others are specially designed routes. You can ride with people from countries all over the world on both group rides and in races.
It’s also possible to ride a bike route alone or work out to increase your fitness. Zwift makes indoor cycling a more socially connected and time-efficient affair and is suitable for everyone regardless of their current skills. Keep reading and we’ll get you started with Zwift in no time.
How do I get started with Zwift?
You need a bike trainer that can connect to a smartphone, computer, or tablet via Bluetooth. The bike trainer itself or sensors mounted on the trainer then sends data such as wattage, speed, and cadence to the Zwift app.
Zwift will return resistance data depending on the steepness and topographic nuances of the route. The resistance of the bicycle trainer has then been adjusted accordingly. Zwift depends on the amount of Watt you are able to generate on the bike trainer. The app combines the power reading with your weight to calculate the resistance and move your avatar on the screen.
What do I need to get started with Zwift?
As mentioned earlier, you can use a PC, Mac, Ipad, Iphone or Android system on the smartphone running the Zwift app. Apple TV is also supported. It is best to have a larger screen showing the game and then use the Zwift companion app on the smartphone.
Of course, you also need a bike. Most modern smart bike trainers are compatible with many different types of bikes. With a wheel trainer, you can basically mount and use all types of bikes, but if you want the best, it’s a Direct Drive trainer and a bike with external gears.
A smart bike trainer usually generates resistance through electromagnets and can simulate steep climbs. The resistance changes with the slope. Steeper climbs require you to send more power out into the pedals.
Apart from this, you need a fan and a towel and you are ready to go.
How much does the Zwift subscription cost?
Depending on your home country, the monthly subscription to Zwift is $ 14.99, and you can always cancel your subscription at any time. There is a 7-day trial period where you can test the platform to see if it works for you, so you do not have to commit right away.
Starting out on Zwift
It’s possible to create an account on the Zwift website or download the app on Google Play or in the Apple App Store.
A good setup would be to connect to a computer or Apple TV running the Zwift app, and then mount your smartphone on the handlebars running the Zwift Companion app. With the Companion app, you can change routes, chat and check other rider profiles.
You will then need to pair the app with your bike trainer via Bluetooth and you are now ready to choose your world and preferred route.
Different ways to drive
The easiest thing to do is just pick a ride and get started. You can drive as you like at your own speed. It’s like driving outside just without the scenery and with better weather. There are other ways too and you can also join a group trip, train or take part in a race.
A group ride is on a predetermined route where you can ride with friends and other riders from around the world. Group trips are usually classified into four categories (a, b, c, and d) depending on how many watts you can squeeze into the pedals.
You can also choose from a large number of workouts once you have completed an FTP test indicating your level. You can choose to train in a group or alone, whether your goal is to get in good shape, train for an event or maybe lose weight.
Another option is to participate in a race. There are races for professionals and serious cyclists as well as beginners and experienced riders. For races, you must wear a heart monitor if the result is to count.
Where in the world can I drive with Zwift?
Currently, there are 8 worlds available. If you want to drive in a real-world country, you can choose between England, USA, Switzerland, and France. It is possible to drive past world championship routes and also some of the legendary mountains.
Another possibility is the fantasy world Watopia. Watopia has various routes that take you over volcanoes and snow-capped mountains and through the jungle on gravel roads. Cycling in Watopia is fun, and you will be entertained by strange creatures and dinosaurs.
How to do a workout with Zwift?
You can get training with good intensity at Zwift. You can find group workouts on the event page where you will not be dropped as long as you continue to ride. Before you train, you must undergo an FTP test. It is a 20 min. test that measures how many watts you run on average, and it helps Zwift set a level for training.
If you prefer individual workouts, there are many to choose from depending on your goal. Some are programs that run over several months and get you ready for the summer season, bike races, make you lose weight, or just get you in better shape.
Some workouts are only available after a certain period of time to prevent you from overtraining.
How do I design my Avatar and bike?
Swift lets you set up an Avatar complete with clothes, shoes, glasses, and a helmet. You can also choose the overall look of the Avatar. As you level up, there will be more cycling clothing available to you.
The “Drop shop” gives you the bike and the wheels you need. As you level up, better bikes and wheelsets emerge. You also earn “Drops”, which can be used to buy a bike or wheelset that you like.
Not all equipment can be purchased and you will have to spend many hours on the road to unlock the superbikes. Some bikes are lighter or more aerodynamic, and you can actually feel the speed difference.