Zwift has become my absolute favorite training tool recently and has helped to keep me motivated to swing my leg over the top tube for yet another ride in the sweat box more than anything else I have tried. Zwift accomplishes this via its in-game social platform, its achievement/unlock ladder, its graphics, and its superior workout feature. You do need to possess some things to be able to use the service to it’s full capabilities however, and it can be a little overwhelming and confusing at times getting everything going. Fear not though! This article will serve to enlighten the Zwift wannabes in their path to trainer righteousness.
What do you need to use the service?
- A bicycle, duh.
- A trainer – You can either use a traditional trainer or smart trainer. I personally use a traditional trainer with a power meter and have not had any issues. Some people I have spoken to like the capabilities of the smart trainer as it will automatically increase or decrease resistance if you are going up or down a hill, as well as decrease resistance once you get into another rider’s slipstream. I guess I am more old-school in this arena though and would rather find the right gear and keep the power down instead of worrying about changing my gears to keep the correct wattage output.
- A computer with working interwebs – The newer the better and the graphics card makes a big difference. On my computer at work Zwift looks like garbage, but on my Mac it looks awesome. Plus, if you can hook it up to a nice big screen it makes the experience far more immersive.
- The Zwift program – This can be download at Zwift.com
- An ANT+ dongle – That word always makes me laugh immaturely, but yes you need
to have a dongle for your computer so Zwift and your equipment can communicate with one another. Zwift can also use Bluetooth, but be warned it is still in Beta and is prone to dropouts. You can purchase dongles at many places, but always support your local bike shop whenever possible!
- Cash money – Zwift offers a 14 day free trial and a longer trial to premium Strava users. Thereafter, it costs $10/month and can be cancelled/resumed at any time.
- An objective measurement device – This can be a speed sensor, power meter, or smart trainer. Zwift uses these to establish your speed and power output as well as numerous other parameters.
That’s about all you need to get started using the service. However if you are more into the social aspect and less into the hurt of Zwift, you may want to pick yourself up a wireless keyboard (with waterproof cover) to allow you to respond to other riders, and/or a headset with microphone to be able to speak to other riders in your virtual group ride or race.
Stay tuned for more articles about all things Zwift related! Also, please let me know if you have any questions about the service, or if there is anything you would like me to cover.