When I talk to anyone 30ish and under I quickly find out that the concept of Zwift isn’t such an out of the world experience, but for me it really is quite a game changer. I’ll provide a breakdown of why I think it will/has changed the game of cycling and why it might be good or bad for cycling.
So what the heck is Zwift? Their website and operations is pretty poor, so just posting a link won’t be all that helpful, but here is is: Zwift. Essentially it is a interactive biking/running program complete with group rides, training programs and even races with prizes. And, for a person why grew up as a racer riding trainers watching VHS tapes, then CDs and then eventually YouTube Races…it is awesome. I once did an interview for Bicycling magazine about training indoors and had several techniques I had used for myself and clients. None were as effective as Zwift for motivation and for quality of experience.
I don’t quite understand why, but for a fairly tech savvy person, it was quite difficult to understand how to navigate the program. Thankfully, I discovered quite a few resources to help in this underground digital cycling culture. The 1st and foremost is ZwiftInsider. Here you will find a wealth of knowledge on how to navigate the program, how to race, join a ride, etc. In fact, it is has grown to have almost too much information. There are a number of good articles on Velonews and actually it is fun to read up a few over the last 4 years that track with Zwift’s evolution.
As I mentioned, it seems that quite a subculture has evolved here within this digital racing/riding world. ZwiftInsider lists quite a few additional links:
Zwift.com: it may seem silly to list this first, but this is the place to log in and edit your profile, link up your Strava and other accounts, and more.
Zwift Ride Calendar: want to join in a group ride or race? Here’s the official calendar from ZwiftHQ.
Zwift User Manual: the unofficial guide to Zwift, maintained by James Gill. A huge, living document covering Zwift basics, hardware, levels, and more.
Zwift Riders Facebook Group: an active group of 39,000+ discussing all things Zwift.
Honorable Mention (Helpful Links, but Not Required Reading)
ZwiftPower.com: the place to go for race results (including live results during a race!) Anyone racing on Zwift should register here and link up their Strava account.
Zwift Support Forum: the official community forum of Zwift. Quite active and helpful.
Zwiftcast: listen to each episode while you ride for a big dose of all things Zwift. Includes interviews with Zwift employees plus other movers and shakers in the Zwift community.
What’s on Zwift?: tells you the current Zwift course in your timezone, plus a detailed visual archive of Zwift workouts (built-in workouts plus add-ons). Maintained by Laurens Alblas.
Zwiftalizer: upload your Zwift log and view performance metrics, browse benchmarks of different types of hardware on Zwift, and more.
ZwiftGPS: a helpful app for tracking yourself and anyone you follow live with a map on a second screen (phone, tablet, second monitor, etc). Chase your Strava PRs and more!
In the following posts, I’ll address both the benefits and the possible costs of this program on cycling and racing.