Due to COVID-19 and VT Department of Health guidelines, Vermonters are asked to "stay home, stay safe" and avoid large group activities. Even though riding your bike outside is OK to do at this time, you are limited to riding solo or just within your household. To keep up the social aspect of riding bikes, setting up an indoor bike trainer group ride on Zwift can be a great option while getting some exercise.
Many people around the world are facing the daunting prospect of not being able to ride with their friends over the coming weeks. While I'm not a competitive rider, the primary reason I'm out there is the social fun, a few high fives, some solid exercise and a post ride beer. No matter if it's the mountain bike, a gravel route or just ripping around town on a single speed it's the fun of seeing friends and sharing an experience that almost all of us can enjoy. Even when facing a new pandemic, exercise and socializing are necessary parts of day-to-day life.
Thankfully we can all now share our bike rides in the virtual world of Zwift, an app that connects with a compatible bike trainer's Bluetooth and ant+ and lets you ride, train, race and chat from the comfort of your own home.
1. Bike Trainer Selection
Skirack carries Wahoo Fitness' three of most popular trainers. The Kickr Smart model has a heavier fly wheel and a little better "road like" feel, folds down smaller, is easier to carry with an extra handle and comes with an 11speed cassette. The Kickr Core model is a little bulkier to store, still has a very good road feel, but doesn't come with a spare cassette. Both are class leading options at their price points. An entry level option is the Kickr Snap. It's a convenient, easy to set-up wheel-on smart trainer.
2. Getting Started using Zwift
To start, using a laptop, phone, tablet, Smart TV etc. find the profile of riders you want to ride with in the Zwift Companion app and tap “Create MeetUp”. Choose the option of a ride meetup, and set a date and time. You will then be given a choice between the Watopia map or whichever alternative world is scheduled for that day. Next choose your route, set a total distance or time, and invite anyone else you want to join.
To answer a meetup invitation, you’ll be sent a notification in the game or on the home screen of the Zwift Companion app, click “Going” or “Not Going.”
3. Time to Ride
When it’s time for your ride, log into Zwift before the start. Just note that you can’t join late so make sure you’re on time. Zwift will notify you a few minutes before it starts to take you to the starting point. When the timer hits zero, it’s time to ride. While you’re in the MeetUp, you’ll still see everyone on the course and the names of your riding companions will be highlighted in green in the rider list. Leaderboards will be filtered to show only those in the MeetUp with you, so you can all contest the leader’s jerseys, and when you chat, you’ll only see each other’s messages. Two tips that will help are that you can set up rides up to seven days in advance and you must find and follow people before you are able to set up your ride.
Now get on that bike, stay safe, and we can’t wait to see you back out on the road or trail when this is over.
For a full selection of bike trainers and accessories, click here
- Derek Tiplady,
Click here to learn more about Derek.