Zwift in the Age of COVID-19


I’ve wanted to write about Zwift for a long time now. I’ve been using it for just over a year.

A Brief Overview of Zwift:

For those of you that don’t know what Zwift is, it is a game, that you playing using a smart trainer.

#interbike2015 #wahoofitness + #zwift get connected and take your indoor cycling experience to a new level“#interbike2015 #wahoofitness + #zwift get connected and take your indoor cycling experience to a new level” by Glory Cycles is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The smart trainer (pictured above) sends information to a computer (desktop, phone, tablet or apple tv) that allows the Zwift program to know how fast you are spinning that back wheel and what kind of power (measured in watts) you are putting into it.

All this information from the smart trainer allows Zwift to simulate what a ride would be like in one of their virtual worlds. When you go up a hill the smart trainer makes it harder to pedal, when you go down descents, it gets easier to pedal.

You can add additional sensors to get more information and make the ride more real. There are also trainers that don’t touch the rear wheel, but instead connect straight to the chain and you need to remove the rear wheel, these are called direct-drive trainers and are more expensive.

Rollentraining mit Zwift auf Canyon-Bike“Rollentraining mit Zwift auf Canyon-Bike” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In regards to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Zwift is here at the right time with a great tool to keep people fit and active. This tool allows a bicyclist (and runners), to continue their training or just get on for a quick ride or workout.

Eric Schlange of Zwift Insider writes more about this in his article, “THE UNFOLDING STORY OF COVID-19 AND ZWIFT“. Eric mentions that those who are part of group rides in real life can now invite their group to a group ride online, so they can continue to ride together. No, this isn’t the same as the outdoor ride with your friends, but it is much better than nothing at all.

Also mentioned in Eric’s article is the fact that as we have seen many, if not all bicycling and running events canceled throughout the world, there is a place for these events to happen on Zwift. No, it’s not just like the real thing. Of course not, but it is a great alternative to nothing at all.

Zwift is a great alternative to an outdoor ride, the gamification of it makes it even more appealing to old gamers like me. If you are a cyclist a runner, or just someone that is now confined to your home, Zwift is an excellent solution to getting some exercise and having some fun. I hope you can get a trainer because like everything else, these are no in high demand. Ride on!