- Virtual cycling apps look like games, but their training quality is very real.
- Bluetooth signalling, smart TVs and power sensors have made brutal indoor training sessions possible.
- You can race riders across the world, from your living room.
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Lockdown might be limiting South Africa’s obsession with cycling but that hasn’t stopped committed cyclists from training.
Virtual cycling apps have enjoyed a surge in popularity, as internet speeds improve and fitness streaming from the home becomes more popular during lockdown.
Your living room can now become an authentic cycling cave thanks to new technology like power sensors being capable of communicating properly with smart TVs and making the experiencing of virtual cycling that much more real.
The result is a world where you can ride your favourite route, race on 'Grand Tours' and suffer into oblivion from the relative (dis)comfort of the home.
Each of these apps create a gameplay virtual world for you to ride and train within. It might look fun, but the riding and racing is very real.
So what do you need?
The market for intelligent static trainers and pedal power meters has exploded, as amateur riders seek to harvest and analyse pro peloton levels of data. Zwift, Rouvy and RGT Cycling will use your smart trainer’s data output to recreate lifelike progress as your ride, train and race through their virtual worlds.
Although these virtual cycling worlds can be relayed via a laptop or tablet, ideally you want a smart TV. Simply download the app, sync it to your display device and then connect the indoor training system you are using.
Which one if best? If you thrive on competition, Zwift is the standard as many pro riders also use it – which allows you to race them and compare times in a point of view format.
Rouvy offers an avatar riding point of view and 7,000km of routes, many with video quality graphics by using sophisticated 3D riders operating in a 2D virtual world.
RGT Cycling allows you to compete for up to R180,000 of real prize money and offers a Magic Roads feature: upload your favourite route as a GPX file and RGT’s software converts it into a digital route.
How much does it cost?
In response to the lockdown crisis, most popular virtual training apps have all waivered their monthly subscription rates.
The feature rich premium version of Zwift and RGT cycling are R267, whilst Rouvy is R180. Each of these apps are now available free, for a month, to encourage riders the best stats of mindfulness when being locked-down.
Our tip? Get a good fan and drape a towel over our bike’s top tube. Why? Because without the natural airflow of riding outside, you’ll be dripping a lot more potentially corrosive sweat directly onto your bike’s frame.
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