You may find yourself on a digital bike, in a digital world...a (gulp) virtual cycling thread

Pandemic times and Midwest winters have gotten me grudgingly into Zwift.
The incentivizing does actually keep me more fit than I would be otherwise, but it’s weird. I’ve put some money into equipment kind of as a dare to make myself actually use it, but…

What better options are there?
What the hell “upgrades” should I waste my hard earned digital sweat droplets on?
Why does the racing suck?
How do cool people get something out of it without getting weird?



zwift insider has a list of the upgrades you should buy. the number one upgrade is some buds to talk to while you ride. i usually ride around~8:30 PM eastern every 2-3 days and post about it in the discord. come ride!

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i got an evo and some enves. like :droplet::sweat_drops:400k​:sweat_drops::droplet: all in. not sure what to buy now but yeah it works way better than a dumb trainer

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I’m currently using a simple Saris trainer on top of a KOM cycling rocker plate with the fore-aft modification. I’m pretty comfortable with that but have not even tried any kind of interaction with other people. Some social anxiety involved…

On the virtual side I need to look back at what I actually have.
I chased the “most efficient” frames and wheels for a while but got disillusioned with the marginal/minimal gains. About to hit level 17 so maybe the options will be broader.

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i think it’s all extremely marginal, especially if you aren’t “racing”. the motivation of the shiny new thing is the best benefit you can get in-game so pick something that you want and get after it.

the churbo trainer that adjusts resistance adds to the experience but isn’t a cheap upgrade IRL.

let’s ride though!

…whats the discord :eyes:

edit: I’m level 14, have a Cannondale EVO (for climbing and bc i love them irl) and a specialized allez sprint for flatter races. i spent wheel money on the dt swiss 62 wheels. seem alright, all based on zwift insider


indoor rides have basically replaced my “go out super early in the morning while it is still dark” and “go out after work when it is dark and people are driving quickly” rides. i find a lot of motivation in doing the occasional zwift crit, but my biggest motivator is that when I am actually able to go out on a ride outside, I’m fit enough to enjoy it and not suffer.

one takeaway for me though is that zwift isn’t designed to be rigorously realistic. its a video game kinda like wii sports. gameify the racing and you’ll probably enjoy it more.


Oh I’m subscribing to this thread

So I got a smert trainer like a month ago and I haven’t really set it up because I don’t have a screen to use.

Wth I said this in passing and my brother drops off a 52” smert tv wth

Now I have to set up both a trainer and a tv

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I bought a “smart” trainer (Saris) sometime before the pando started and I never even thought about doing that stuff without one. I’m in an odd spot right now because I was really into it about a year ago, leveled up a lot and got decently fit. Fast forward to this January and I’m totally out of shape and I wonder what the algorithm does with me. I’m afraid to re-enter my weight because I don’t want to be reminded of how much lighter I was…

Non realistic is an understatement. My main gripe is the lack of inertia. A heavy guy going down a little dip shouldn’t have to put in much effort on a short rise, but there it is.

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@amy says it’s way better on a mobile/tablet device. i do on my work laptop on like a 32” monitor and it’s kinda meh but works fine and gets me riding

Look I’m not asking if it’s ok
I just got a 55” screen for my shop now
My productivity is fucked

But let’s get real here - can you make real gains on a trainer? Is this how I’m going to lose weight?

you can absolutely make real gains on a trainer but many here will tell you that the structured workouts that come on zwift are dogs bollocks. i just ride for “fun” and i’m definitely feeling spicier than i was going into the winter with maybe 1 25mi ride a week (2-3 60ish min zwift sessions/week currently)


trainers make you better at climbing. honestly. they’re like going uphill all the time because the resistance applies the brakes basically, similar to the forces of gravity on a climb.

this is def the way to make gains - but make sure you go uphill in the zwift world too. its too easy to go for max average speed and cruise around on flat courses, but make sure you go up the virtual hills and just pick a pace and roll with it. you will get fit this way. Just make sure you stand up way more often than you think because your brain doesn’t cue you to stand up inside like it does outside when climbing.

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the racing sucks because they don’t compensate for draft in a meaningful way and everything is calculated off w/kg. even double draft is only slightly better and doesn’t feel like riding in a peloton would. plus the categories are solely off w/kg, which does divide you up on climbs, but imagine competing against someone in a flat race whose equivalent watts are like 100w more (or less) than yours, but the same w/kg. this wouldn’t make any sense in real life categories.

anyway, that said, i love the group rides. they take out the stress of competing for a “place”, but also allow you to focus on staying with a certain group of folks whose pace matches yours and push till the end of the event course. i use a tablet + my phone for the zwift companion. in events is the only time I use the chat. if you fall off your group, you just post in the chat and often someone will come back for you to help you back on the group. many events have “ride leaders” that do this type of thing to help everyone through the event and have a better time. feels more like real life in this regard that you arent just riding with avatars, but have real humans on the other end who can come back for assistance.

as much as i shit talked it, the pace partners are great. makes me actually pedal more than i would by myself

doing anything is gonna be better than doing nothing, but simply plugging into zwift races is probably not the most effective training you could come up with.


-the words that make the life by knockout pompadour


the workouts in zwift seem to be more concerned with keeping your attention than being the most efficient way to build a base. that being said when i was off the bike for a while and did the four week ftp booster i went up something like 40 watts. i know that sounds like a lot (its less impressive as i was just getting back to my old fitness rather than building) but the key is that it helped me build fitness that translated to real world stuff.

if I’m not racing or doing some sort of pace partner/group ride thing, i usually do either a 2x20 min at FTP workout or some sort of sweet spot training. i find those two things have been pretty darn helpful to improving riding fitness. it is remarkable how much work you can get done in an hour of being on the trainer

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