Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Get Started with Zwift

I'm glad you're considering Zwift.  It's a fun training tool and a way to meet like-minded cyclists from around the world.  I've been riding in Zwift since March and I've got over 200 followers in Strava from Australia to Japan to Africa and all over Europe and the US.

Meeting folks is possible because you save your rides to Strava and Strava shows who you rode with and that enables you to follow them.

You can also ride with friends from anywhere.  I have done several rides with my brother who lives in Florida.

There are all kinds of group rides and races which make it even more fun. 

To get started go to Zwift.com and create an account and download the app.  You get one month free.  From there it's about $10/month.  

You can test the app with no equipment and just watch people ride to make sure it works on your PC.

Here is the unofficial Zwift instruction manual which is pretty thorough.

The simplest setup is a Zwift supported dumb trainer with a speed detector on your back wheel which is the setup I started with.I suggest the:

Travel Trac Comp Fluid - You can get it at Performance bikes.  It's $139 but does go on sale frequently.  I got mine for $119. This is the best cheapest option.

For a more immersive experience you may want to go for a smart trainer like the Wahoo Kickr.  With a smart trainer Zwift controls the resistance so when you climb it's harder to pedal.

After well over 1000 miles I using the Trac Comp Fluid I upgraded to the Wahoo Kickr SNAP which is now on sale for $599.  The advantage of smart trainers like the Kickr SNAP is that they communicate your actual power directly to Zwift while dumb trainers use an estimate of power called Zpower based on the speed of your wheel and the power curve of the trainer.

DC Rainmaker has a detailed evaluation of trainers here.

The Zwift site has the complete list of supported trainers.

If you go with the dumb trainer option you'll need a speed sensor.  I use the 

And to connect to the Zwift app you'll need and ANT+ USB that plugs into your PC. 
I use the Garmin one: ANT+ USB Stick

You will need a fan as you'll really work up a sweat.  
I have one with a remote control that works great.
There is also a Zwift Facebook group where a lot of the conversation happens.

Here is the Zwift group ride events.  It's a lot of fun to ride in a group or race.

Here are some pictures of my setup
I open the garage door about 1 foot so the fan blows in fresh air.

Here is a video I made to show what it's like to ride in Zwift with 
the different views.

Hope to ride with you in Zwift.  RideON!