Whether it’s the dropping of temperatures, shortening of days or just plain lack of free-time, hitting the road for a lengthy ride isn’t always in the cards. While indoor trainers for stationary riding continue to advance, giving cyclists more detailed data on their rides, the problem of sight still persists—staring at the wall or television gets old pretty quick. The newly launched fitness-entertainment platform Zwift promises to make indoor riding more exciting than ever before. Combining a social network with a video game engine, the platform creates a virtual world for riders from around the globe to meet on digital versions of famous rides to battle head-to-head in real time.
The key to Zwift, is that it won’t require a massive hardware investment for those already spinning indoors. All you’ll need to get started is a bike, trainer (though a smart trainer will provide a more elaborate experience, a basic model will do) and a cadence/speed sensor. Combine this with an ANT+ dongle, your tablet/phone and a monitor and you’re ready to hit the (digital) road. Even in beta, the new program has a quick response time to movement on the bike and makes indoor riding seem like less of a chore for those looking to stay fit over the cooler months.
Access to the software starts at $10 per month with additional fees for add-on features and special events (Tour de France anyone?). With 1000 spots open, the global launch of Zwift beta is now underway with a full-scale version release planned for early 2015.
Image by Hans Aschim, screenshot courtesy of Zwift