Zwift Cycling is all the craze at the moment that allows you to put yourself and your bike virtually into an online interactive world.
Millions of people from all over the world have signed up to Zwift and take part in challenges, races, group sessions or to simply cycle on their own.
It’s motivating, encouraging, exhilarating but most of all…..Fun!
Zwift Cycling takes the mundane, boring home based cycles out of the equation and replaces it with cutting-edge technology where you can discover a whole new place of cycling in the world of Wytopia.
It’s an incredible app that simply turns indoor training into a game!
What You Need To Get Started
So before anything, we need to have a look at exactly what you’ll need to use Zwift.
- Your own bike (Road, Mountain or Hybrid bike)
- Smart Trainer OR Classic Trainer with Cadence sensor and speed sensor with ANT+ or Bluetooth (I use the Wahoo sensor personally, (check it out here on Amazon)
- An ANT+ or Bluetooth receiver to track your data such as Windows PC, Mac, IPad, Iphone, Android Tablet or phone
Other optional items you can use to get the most out of your Zwift experience would be:
- Smartphone (for the Zwift Companion app)
- Heart rate monitor
- Trainer mat
You will need the top 3 pieces of equipment though so that Zwift can connect effectively with your bike and track your workouts exactly!
Creating An Account
Simply fill in the required fields and tick the Captcha box and off you go.
How Much Does Zwift Cost?
It will give you a 7 day free trial and requires no payment details upfront.
Then after costs it costs £12.99 or $14.99 per month.
However, you can cancel anytime!
Pairing Your Devices
So once you have signed up, you can then connect your devices to your Zwift account.
You’ll need either your Windows, Mac or iOS device to download and install the Zwift app.
First thing though!
Zwift stores data to show your progression as you go.
In order to store this, your device needs a minimum of 4GB of free space to run effectively.
So, just check the free space available on your device firstly.
Next, time to pair your devices.
If you’re using a classic setup with a standard turbo trainer such as the PedalPro (Check out here on Amazon) and an ANT+ sensor, you can either plug the dongle of the ANT+ sensor into your computer directly or into an extension cord and place it next to your bike.
This will pick up the sensor more effectively.
You can then place your cadence sensor on the back wheel and with 1 spin of the wheel it will be more than enough to wake it up.
Next, move over to your computer and click ‘search’. It will pick up the ANT+ and cadence sensor straight away.
Just click ‘Pair’.
If you’re using a smart trainer such as the Wahoo Kickr, (Check out here on Amazon) it’s very straight forward!
To wake it up, ride your bike very briefly then turn to your computer.
Click ‘search’ and your smart trainer will appear and automatically connect.
Zwift will control your full resistance with a smart trainer.
This will pick up your cadence, power calculation and for uphill and downhill movements.
If you hit a climb, your resistance gets harder.
If it’s an exercise bike you have that is Bluetooth enabled (such as the Watt Bike) and would rather use that than a turbo trainer, you can no problem.
A heart rate monitor such as the Wahoo Tickr, (Check out here on Amazon) is great to have also.
You can easily link this up to your Zwift account to measure a lot more personalised data such as heart rate, different cardio zones and calories burned.
You only need to pair your devices once. Everytime you log into Zwift, your device will automatically pair.
So what features does Zwift offer?
Take Part in Daily Races
There are races everyday going on in Zwift.
Thousands of people from all over the world take part and compete against one another.
It’s a great, motivating and incredibly fun way of enjoying your cycle.
You can simply enjoy a fun ride with friends or the larger community or get serious about it take part in competitive competitions where prizes are awarded.
As these races are taken very seriously, Zwift want to make sure that data received from participants is 100% accurate.
For this, you’ll need a smart trainer or bike with a power meter to deliver these accurate results.
It’s not to say that ANT+ and speed sensors are not accurate, it’s just as they are not full implemented into the bike in some way – Zwift just want to rule out any form on cheating or inaccurate readings.
Cycle To Over 1,000 Structured Workouts
Yes, that’s right….over 1,000 structured workouts!
There’s a plethora of interval workouts for you to choose from that ranges from beginner right through to advanced.
All the workouts are based on your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) – basically the average power you can generate per hour.
Choose the one that suits you and off you go!
During a workout you can see session details on the left hand side and how long left on the course based on your power.
To the middle you’ll see power, distance travelled, elevation and time.
To the right, you can see the course map and any Zwifters nearby.
The bar at the bottom shows intensity levels.
Now, Zwift also have training plans available where the difference between these and workouts is simply that the workouts can be a one-time cycle.
The training plans are set out over the space of a few weeks where you can really build your endurance, speed and strength.
WhatsonZwift also host a number of different workout plans suitable for any level.
Awesome if you really want to set yourself a goal!
The Zwift Community
The community behind Zwift is absolutely incredible!
There are people from all parts of the world you can connect and race with.
The same, like-minded people that are there for the exact same reasons you are!
You can literally message people during a race keeping them motivated or give them the all famous Zwift Thumbs-Up.
To do this just connect your smartphone through the companion app that you can get on your iOS or Google Play store (as you can see below). Connect it via bluetooth and your ANT+ dongle will pick it up.
Attach your phone to the front of your bike and here you can send messages to other riders.
This app can also house the game itself. So all you really need to start Zwift is your smartphone or tablet.
It’s also great for seeing distance, cadence, track details, calories burned along with a lot more features.
So Is Zwift Great For Indoor Cycling?
In a nutshell – Yes!
It’s an excellent real-world videogame that makes cycling more fun and enjoyable.
It’s a great way to bring your outdoor cycling indoors!
There’s just something about cycling in groups or competing in races that boosts your motivation and keeps you pushing to get the ultimate workout.
I must say after every workout or race I really look forward to the next time I get back on the bike just because it is so much fun!
Yes, the graphics aren’t what you get with newly released games nowadays but I still feel they’re pretty great – they look appealing and allow you to ride around real world landmarks such as London.
It delivers all the data and information you need to see how well your are doing.
So in overall, I highly recommend Zwift to anyone looking for that extra motivation on the bike.
If you have any questions, drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you!