How to Host an Indoor Bike Trainer Group Ride using Zwift. Photo Credit: Wahoo Fitness.
Hosting an indoor bike trainer group ride using Zwift is easy with these tips. Photo Credit: Wahoo Fitness.
Top indoor bike trainer sellers at Skirack. KICKR Smart, KICKR Core and KIRCKR.
Top indoor bike trainer sellers at Skirack. KICKR Smart, KICKR Core and KIRCKR.

Since the start of the 2020 Pandemic, many people around the world were not able to go for a bike ride with their friends. 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. Exercise and socializing are necessary parts of day-to-day life.

What many people soon discovered and enjoyed is the flexibility that an indoor bike trainer provides, especially in inclement weather or when it gets dark earlier in the day during the fall and winter months. A bonus is having the technology to share bike rides with friends 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.

One great question we get asked is what are the benefits of using a bike trainer over a stationary bike. The most important benefit is that you get to use your own bike, fitted for you, making it a more natural and comfortable ride. And for people who are training for a bike race, you can be on the bike you will be riding in the race and use the Zwift app to download your ride to train with. Zwift has many features, but one great one is tapping into their events page where you can join different group rides or workouts - ride with your friends, new people and even celebrities.

Just as bikes did, sales of indoor bike trainers soared last year and they were hard to keep in stock. We expect them to continue to increase in popularity as the winter progresses and more people get into biking. Below are our top bike trainers with features and tips for hosting a group ride using Zwift.

Bike Trainer Selection

Skirack carries bike trainers from Wahoo Fitness and Saris. Three of our most popular trainers are from Wahoo Fitness, available for in-store purchase or by calling the store and we can ship. They are:

  • KICKR Smart:
    Heavier fly wheel and the best natural or road like feel, folds down smaller, is easier to carry with an extra handle and comes with an 11 speed cassette. The Smart allows for more movement side to side, which is less stress on your body.
    Current Retail: *$1,199.99

  • KICKR Core:
    A little bulkier to store, still has a very good road feel, but doesn't come with a spare cassette. The best value for the price.
    Current Retail: *$899.99

  • KICKR Snap:
    Entry level option. Convenient, easy to set-up wheel-on smart trainer. The best for multiple bikes.
    Current Retail: *$499.99

* Subject to Change. Call or come by the store for current pricing or to purchase. Not available to purchase online.

The Zwift display screen when used with an indoor bike trainer.
The Zwift display screen when used with an indoor bike trainer. Photo Credit: Zwift.

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.”

  • 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 to remember: 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 see you online.

For a selection of bike trainers and accessories, click here

- Derek Tiplady,
Skirack Buyer
Click here to learn more about Derek.