Zwift Transforms Stationary Bicycling into a Shared Virtual Experience

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Outdoor cycling is feasible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but long rides are impractical and group rides are an infection risk. Enter Zwift, a bicycling simulator you run on an iPad, Mac, or Apple TV as you sit on a stationary bicycle. As you pedal, your Zwift counterpart does the same as it roams exotic realms. You can meet friends on Zwift, and you might even see a T-Rex!

For sure I’ve avoided group rides, but I don’t see how ‘longer rides’ are impractical. This has been some of the best solo riding I’ve ever done. The roads are less crowded with cars.

Otherwise, great article. I use Rouvy personally but had tried Zwift for a month. Too cartoony for me and I don’t get into the gamification thing, but it’s a real nice app with a huge, vibrant, active community of riders.

I don’t see how longer rides are impractical either. A long ride is X hours, whether it’s on a trainer or not.

While we’ve still had a good amount of traffic, the biggest enjoyment I had was NO SCHOOL BUSES!


There were countries where they either forbade going outside for a ride or limited the number of hours you were allowed (I think two was common). Even pros had to stay indoors. So for them, Zwift (or their few competitors) was necessary. Here in Central Pennsylvania, not so much. Traffic was mostly the same except “rush 15 minutes” didn’t happen. I didn’t change my behavior at all. (Strava tells me 3036 miles for the year, of which about 850 was indoors (because of weather, not COVID) on my Tacx Neo 2. None on Zwift.) Now traffic is really getting back to normal, although there may or may not be any football traffic in the fall (I’m definitely hoping not). And the summer bane, construction zones, are in full force.

Ah! In that context, it does make sense. We were not locked down to that extent, and I believe our governor was even encouraging everyone to be outdoors. Which means the normally quiet trails have actually been so busy that I’ve been avoiding them!

We definitely still have construction going on. But did I mention how nice it is not to have to plan my rides around school buses? :smiley:


In addition to what @schinder said, a normal long ride around here might be 40-60 miles, and would involve several stops for bathrooms, water, and food. Those stops feel uncomfortable now. That’s true even here in upstate New York, which is doing relatively well, and if I lived somewhere where the infection rate is high, I wouldn’t even consider a ride that involved stopping.

Of course, in a normal year, such long rides are also usually group rides, and those aren’t happening either.

So that makes sense, and I will change my answer from “I don’t see” to “I didn’t see”. :wink: Personally, for me a “longer ride” has been 30-40 miles, and I both carry a mask in a saddlebag to cover the water/food stop, and seem to have an amazing ability to ‘hold my water’ so to speak. In any event, Zwift is a great tool, as is Rouvy and some of the other competitors. The important thing is that we can all stay in shape, whether indoors or outdoors.

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Yeah, it depends on how you define a “long” ride. I did a 65-mile ride yesterday, but extra prep for greater self-sufficiency (pack enough food, make sure you go #2 before leaving) is a hassle. I worked up to century rides last year, and those seem totally unworkable now; I doubt I’ll attempt one this year.

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Just to let you know the Wahoo speed sensor is crap! I could have gotten a faulty one, but don’t believe that – almost impossible to change battery and it could not figure out the wheel circumference on my road bike anywhere near what other sensors do – the GPS data was more reliable and anyway Wahoo units does not export the recorded data from this sensor (as I detected) and only exports GPS data … but like the Wahoo Bolt (only switfted once, but without these sensors then).

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