Zwift Virtual Reality Cycling World
Are you looking to spice up your indoor cycling sessions? If so, it may be worth taking a peak at Zwift virtual reality cycling. Zwift VR has been a revelation to the cycling world, below is everything you need to know about this sensational virtual reality cycling world.
What is Zwift VR?
Zwift is an all new virtual reality cycling world. The system involves linking up your turbo trainer to a media player and cycling in a VR world with others from all over the World. This incredible virtual cycling world rids the cyclist from all the usual tediousness associated with indoor cycling.
Zwift are keen to point out their virtual reality cycling world is free from some of the problems faced by outdoor cyclists. Issues such as poor weather & traffic are all avoided when riding on Zwift. Judging by the huge number of cyclists always logged on it would seem many cyclists would agree with them!
Currently, Zwift offers three different virtual reality cycling worlds for the rider to choose from, Watopia, London & Richmond. Each one offering the cyclist something a little different from the other.
How much does Zwift virtual reality cycling cost?
In its initial beta testing stage, Zwift was free to use. However, things have now moved on a fair bit. Users now get a free trial of two weeks or cycling 50km (whichever comes first). After this, it’s a monthly subscription fee of $10 (£8). There’s no contract, though, and users can cancel at any time. On top of this, Strava Premium members get an additional two free months of the trial.
Equipment needed for Zwift VR cycling
Several items of equipment are required to partake in Zwift virtual reality cycling world.
For the most immersive experience on Zwift virtual reality, I’d highly recommend a direct drive smart turbo trainer such as the Wahoo Kickr, Tacx Neo or Cycleops Hammer. Smart turbo trainers will record the power you emit through your pedal stroke and send this data to Zwift. As a result, Zwift will use this data to work out the speed of your virtual world cycling avatar.
Smart trainers give the user a real world feel by the use of variable resistance. Meaning that when going uphill resistance increases and when going downhill it decreases.
If a smart trainer is too expensive, fear not, another much less expensive option is available. Zwift has made it possible to use any basic trainer in their virtual world. All that’s needed is an ANT+ or Bluetooth speed sensor and to follow Zwift’s set up instructions. Maybe this won’t offer the greatest realistic ride, but it does allow people on a tight budget to get in on the action.
ANT+ USB dongle
A small but essential bit of kit. The ANT+ USB dongle allows your smart trainer, speed and cadence sensors to communicate data to your computer.
The next ingredient needed for using Zwift virtual reality cycling world is a device to play it on. Minimum requirements for running Zwift VR are as follows:
- OS: Windows 7 x64 bit, OSX 10.8.
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo.
- Memory: 4GB.
- Graphics: 1GB dedicated GPU, or embedded Intel HD 4000/AMD R5.
- Hard Drive: 4GB of free space.
- Iphone SE, Iphone 5s or higher
- iPad Air or higher, Ipad Pro, iPad Mini 2 or higher, iPod 6
Getting setup in Zwift virtual cycling world
You’ve got all the essential kit; now it’s time to get hooked up and hammer out the miles.
First of all download the Zwift app to your chosen device.
Once downloaded, set up an account and input data such as rider weight, gender, height, etc. This data will be used to create your avatar and generate accurate speed data along with your power output.
Finally, you’ll be invited to kit out and style your avatar before heading out on course. Starting out, you won’t have many options for customizing kit. Don’t worry, this will soon change as you crank out the miles unlocking Zwift swag as you go!
Zwift virtual reality course options
At present, there’s three different course options available to ride on Zwift VR: Watopia, Richmond & London.
Watopia is an impressive fictional virtual cycling world created by the Zwift developers. Watopia appears on Strava to be somewhere in the Soloman Islands. This course is packed full of Strava segments for you to test yourself out against the rest of the Zwift cycling world community.
Richmond is an impressive exact 1:1 copy of the 2015 UCI World Championships in Richmond USA.
London is a 1:1 copy of the 2016 Prudential Ride London course including the famous Box Hill climb.
Expect to see more and more courses added to the virtual world of Zwift as the developers continue to progress & advance the program.
Structured training on Zwift VR
Along with the three fantastic course options available on Zwift there’s also Zwift Workout mode.
Zwift VR workout mode requires you first to carry out an FTP test. The figure generated from the test will be used to determine the intensity of your future workouts.
After the FTP test, you can select specific individual workouts or follow a dedicated training plan such as the 12 week FTP builder.
In Workout mode, you’ll be presented with easy to follow instructions. The left-hand side of the screen will lay out the basic structure of the workout you’re undertaking. Up top, you’ll be able to view current power vs. target power. Below, a graph shows power output throughout the whole session.
If using a smart trainer you’ll be riding these workouts in what’s called ERG mode. This means your trainer will increase and decrease in power automatically to match the workout power targets. However, if using a power meter, it’ll be down to you to match the power goals set out in the session.
Uploading Zwift virtual world workouts to Strava
All Zwift virtual reality rides are stored in your Zwift dashboard, allowing you to download the ride file in .fit format and upload to Strava. There’s also another option that makes this process even easier. In your Zwift dashboard, you can simply sync your Zwift and Strava accounts. Doing this means your rides on Zwift VR are automatically uploaded to Strava.
For more information on Zwift virtual reality cycling check out: Getting Started On Zwift