If you are looking for an all-in-one guide to help make your indoor cycling more comfortable and productive, then you are in the right place.
There are 107 solutions, hacks, and Indoor Cycling and Zwift tips to make things easier.
Some are for beginners. Others are for the most experienced Zwifter.
To make it easy, they have been broken down into subtopics like Environment, Connectivity, and Training.
So you can easily find what you want.
Check it out:
- Kit and Cost – indoor cycling is expensive but it doesn’t have to be
- Comfort – going beyond an hour
- Tweaking Zwift Setup – stuff before you ride
- Riding Zwift Tips – stuff to do when you’re zwifting
- Training – it’s about getting better
- Motivation – sometimes there’s too much tapering
- Fans and Sweat – fans and keeping cool
- Screens – set-up for going big
- Connection Problems ANT+, WiFi, BlueTooth, it can all go wrong
- Zwift Alternatives – from Trainerroad to China’s own Watopia
- Pain Cave – getting the environment right
Face it, cycling can be an expensive sport.
So, I’m going to go against most similar advice on indoor cycling sites…
Don’t spend the bulk of your budget indoors. Spend it on the bike.
That’s said, here are some cheap kit suggestions.
1. Don’t focus too much on the tools, ie expensive trainers
Yes, really. Splash out on the bike. There’s too much focus on the tools.
You don’t have to spend the equivalent of Greece’s debt purchasing a trainer with a 30% incline, pave simulation, and enough power to challenge a tractor.
It’s fine if you do, but you don’t have to. Be easy with that.
The one thing I can state with total certainty is that the latest Wahoo/ Tacx/ Blah Blah trainer, won’t make you a better cyclist.
2. Just get a Direct Drive Smart Trainer
If you’re new to indoor cycling, just make sure you get a smart trainer.
There’s a ton to choose from but, whisper this quietly, there’s a diminishing return the more you spend.
Use the 80/20 law. 80 per cent will get you most of the way. There’s some great kit out there – you just don’t have to buy the most expensive one.
3. Build your own Rocker Plate
Save money and build your own. We’ve built one using this instruction video and it is relatively easy with the right tools. Long term, you might want to invest in a commercial one, but this is a good way of trying a Rocker Plate out.
Why should you get one? See tip 12.
4. Tape your rear tyre
If you are not using a direct drive trainer it might be worth putting electrical insulation tape on your tyres. They get a hammering. Not good if you occasionally want to use the bike outside.
Moreover, electrical tape comes off easily in the event you decide to take that bike out.
Do not use duct tape. It’ll be off in a moment.
Another simpler option is to buy the cheapest tyre you can. The chances are it’s cheaper because the rubber is rock solid.
Bad outside. But good on a turbo.
5. Use a riser block or two
Yes, Wahoo’s Kickr Climb is great but there are other (cheaper) alternatives. A second riser block is perfect for simulating a climb.
Cycleops makes a great one. Not only do they keep your bike steady but two together are a great way of riding Alpe du Zwift, or even training for the real one in France.
6. Zwift’s perfect Zwift set up
This is Zwift’s favourite setup. It says go for a smart trainer, Apple TV, mobile phone, heart rate monitor and a really good fan combination. And Apple TVs can be acquired quite cheaply on eBay.
And no, you don’t necessarily need a high-end 4K one.
Here some more on Zwift basic requirements.
Edit – A great sounding suggestion from one of the guys on Reddit. Buy a cheap second-hand gaming laptop. There are some great deals and what is old tech for gamers works fantastically on Zwift.
7. Zwift’s toughest climb is 18% so why get a trainer that reaches 25%
Variation on the one above. But a smart direct drive trainer capable of simulating an 18% incline with around 3% reliability will be just fine. In fact, 15% will do the trick.
8. Calibrate your trainer once a week
If you have a smart trainer, make sure you calibrate it at least once a week. Regular use, especially movement, will put it out of sync without you even knowing it.
Don’t waste a vomit-inducing FTP test getting a wrong result.
Keeping comfortable on the bike
In the Reasons We Avoid Cycling Indoors research post, over 20% of cyclists said saddle discomfort was a massive pain in the ass.
9. Men-only – remember why it feels numb
Numbness in the seat and groin area is caused by pressure on the pudendal nerves and well as the arteries that feed blood there. The pudendal nerve are responsible for sensation to the penis, erection, and bowel control.
So there you go.
Getting out of the saddle occasionally is an easy solution. Even if it raises the heart rate a bit. Or it messes with your rpm. If you want some specific advice, take a look at this page from British Cycling.
10. Stick it in a bigger gear and stand up
Yes, your training plan might require 350w at 115rpm for 30 minutes. Never mind, once in a while stick it in a big gear and get out of the saddle.
Your arse will thank you for it even if your legs won’t.
11. Get a double-nosed saddle
Cycling indoors is different. Favoured by triathletes, a double-nosed saddle is designed to better support your sit-bones.
12. Get a Rocker Plate
Rocker Plates are designed to stimulate movement from side to side (just like you’d get out on the road).
As stated above, constant pressure around the perineum is a primary cause of indoor cyclists cutting short a session.
Rocker Plates don’t have to cost the Earth, although they can. See tip 3 for a way to build your own.
13. Additional floor padding
Works in a similar way to a Rocker Plate. Often just that little bit of movement helps remove the positioning on the saddle. Gym mats work fine, or even children’s play mats. (See Pain Cave for more).
14. Extra padding in chamois. Two sets of shorts
Ultimately the chamois is always going to get pressed in. A thicker pad will help lessen this and expand when you get out of the saddle. Anything longer than 60 minutes and things may get a little sweaty.
15. Chamois cream for longer indoor cycling rides
Chamois Cream is essential if you’re doing a longer ride on the road. It should be more so indoors.
The lack of lateral movement and constant pedalling means your saddle area gets more of a punishing. Chamois Cream minimises friction, stops saddle sores, and infections.
Leading us to…
16. Use clean shorts… yes seriously
I was in two minds whether this should go in. But we have all thought, oh crap I don’t have a clean pair (not me obviously ????). Look, just make sure you use a clean pair ok.
Bad hygiene on the chamois front is never going to do you any favours. Don’t believe me, Google “Paul Kimmage champignons” to be convinced.
17. An expensive option but smart rollers could handle the comfort issue better
More kit. More expense. And this is not cheap. Trainers keep you in a fixed position, even with a rocker plate. Smart rollers are expensive but nothing simulates the outdoors better.
There is more to Zwift than just connecting your trainer and riding.
18. Sign up for the Everest Challenge as soon as you can
Climb 50,000 meters and you get the Tron Bike (the Concept Z1 shown in the main image). Seriously, you want one so don’t waste any climbing meters.
You know how everyone told you to sign up for a pension when you were 21. Well, this is the same except more important.
It’s not obvious. Get to it via the menu page. Click on the challenges panel on the right. You will find it listed on that page.
Alpe du Zwift 48 times. If the Alpe takes most mortals an hour that’s just two days solid climbing.
19. Download Discord and chat
Beloved of gamers, Discord lets people create a server and talk to each other while playing.
In Zwift terms, you can recreate a Sunday ride chat without sweaty fingered typing. All it really needs is the app and wireless headphones with mic, and a little tech knowledge to set the server up.
20. Ride in your own world
Fed up with London? I am. Mainly because I work there.
You don’t have to be bound by the Zwift world schedule. You can easily grab a world to yourself by changing your settings file. And it’s a good way to avoid other people drafting around you when you’re on a training plan.
21. Join up with the Facebook groups
You are not limited to the rides on Zwift Companion. Check out ZwiftPower for rides that have been organised by other users and groups. Filter by climbs, length etc.
Many of them are on Facebook groups such as The Big Ring, The Herd, and Zwift Riders.
22. Kudos for everyone on Strava
Using Strava and wondering how you’re getting so much kudos after a ride? Want to give kudos to all 300 who rode with you too?
Open the Strava mobile app, open the list of riders who rode with you, give it a shake, and the option to give everyone kudos will appear. Give strangers the thumbs up for riding that post-race cool-down.
23. Want more options for your ride? Use Zwift Prefs
The prefs.xml file in Zwift (in the first file of your Zwift file – usually in Documents) offers a fair amount of under the hood customisation. For example, you can dictate music and what world you ride in.
Don’t be too spooked out by the Zwift prefs file. It’s xml, which is fairly intuitive.
24. Create your own workouts in Zwift
25. Recreate your rides in real life
It is possible to take a GPX file and upload it to Zwift in the workout creation mode. This will then recreate the ride effort in the form of a workout.
26. How to find your Zwift Id for ZwiftPower and ZwiftGPS
Use your Zwift ID to connect your account with external services like Zwift Power. To get it, go to my.zwift.com in your web browser and log in.
Click on Activities and open up one of your previous rides. Look for the gear icon and hover over the ‘Download FIT File’ button. Your id number is at the end of the link.
You can also grab it from your Zwift file. Although you’ll have to work out the file by date.
27. Compare yourself with others on ZwiftPower.com
Zwiftpower is a great way to see how you compare to other riders in your class. It’s not obligatory unless you are racing but it reveals some useful info. You can also find other groups and rides.
If you want to try some racing, keep an eye on the Zwift Racing League.
28. Follow others on ZwiftGPS
ZwiftGPS describes itself as a companion application to Zwift. Effectively, it does two useful things. You can see where your connections are on a map. Secondly, it can follow other riders in events or races.
29. Check out the Zwift course schedule
As things stand, Watopia is always available. The other worlds run on a schedule, which can be viewed on via Zwift a calendar on the right-hand side.
Better still, plan it in advance by going to this regularly updated Zwift course schedule.
30. Uploading to Garmin Connect
Providing it’s already connected, your Garmin will automatically upload rides to Garmin Connect. But any ride completed before the connection will need to be manually uploaded to Garmin Connect (it will not pull historical data).
31. Connect Strava to Zwift
Simple stuff. But if you have access to Summit Analysis, Strava gives you a superior analysis of your Zwift rides.
Riding Zwift Tips
Some might say Zwift is just about getting on the bike. But there’s more to it than that.
Here are some extra things you can do.
32. Change Trainer Difficulty if you want to really feel a climb
Trainer difficulty affects how your trainer reacts to a change in gradient. Zwift sets the trainer difficulty at medium.
Medium means you feel a 20% climb as 10%. You still have to produce the watts but it doesn’t feel the same.
But if you want more authentic feel you might want to set it to the max. Find it by hitting the menu during a ride and opening settings.
33. Learn to draft and work with the group
On Zwift, you can share the workload with other riders. So if you’re all riding at the same speed/ power it’ll move you all to the front at some stage as the rider in front slows due to ‘wind resistance’. The key is to work with this rather than speed up/ slow down to stay in the draft.
34. Keep an eye out for missions
These appear to the left of the ride page when you first login and connect your trainers. These bring you various pieces of kit. For example, completing the current 10K calorie mission will bring you a pair of pizza-patterned socks.
35. Zwift Course Achievement Badges
Remember to collect the course badges. Don’t just ride the same route every time. Following an update in December 2019, there 50-odd new ones available.
Some are easy, some less so. Here’s someone spending three hours riding the Volcano course 25 times (he used a time trial bike).
Get the Davedevil Achievement, which is to hit 50mph. Climb to the Radio Tower and do the downhill when you get to the top. Hard sprinting after the hairpins should win the badge. Better still, do it without a rest at the top!
36. Repeat climb Alpe du Zwift in Z1
There used to be a spinning wheel offering prizes at the top of the Alpe. Instead, use it for your own kind of training. 8 of 10 efforts Zone 1. Gain volume without burning out. Simples. Incidentally, this was recommended as training for the Etape.
You need to be Level 12 or above to ride the Alpe.
37. Customise your rider and bike
The more miles and achievements you gain, the more experience and ‘sweat drops’ you collect. This enables you to buy new kit and bikes. Note: the kit that is available depends on your XP and Zwift Level.
For more on Zwift Levels and Drop Shop.
38. Zwift Academy
If you see people riding around with a ‘Z’ icon next to their name, they have completed Zwift Academy.
39. Want to boost XP and your Zwift Level?
There is anecdotal evidence that workouts will build you XP more quickly. More XP, means more kit, more routes. Completing rides will also increase XP. The Prudential Ride London route is one of the biggest XP routes on Zwift with over 3,500 points.
Go here, for more on Zwift Levels and the Drop Shop.
40. Accept people will be cheating about their weight
Sadly, it happens. So don’t take Zwift too seriously. And if they lying about your weight, then they are lying to themselves. Ultimately, the truth will come out when they get on the road.
As Epictetus said, don’t worry about what you can’t control.
41. Want to check out more data during a ride?
Want extra data during the ride, just like the roundup you get at the end? Hit menu and exit the ride to get to the data screen. Check out your numbers. Be amazed at how good you are. Then press the escape button and get back to the ride.
25. Switch bikes when racing on gravel
Racing in Watopia. A mountain bike will be faster on gravel. The guys on the Tour change bikes, why don’t you. To get one just hit menu and head to the garage.
Don’t do it when you’re in a group.
42. Use your Powerups
Don’t ignore your powerups – the circular icon at the top left of the screen. The include lightness, drafting, and invisibility. Accessible by hitting the space bar or button on the app.
They are randomly replaced at varying points on the course. So make sure you use them before they are replaced.
43. Use the tuck when heading downhill
Going downhill? Stop pedalling forward and let your avatar go into the tuck. Pedal backwards on the bike to rest the legs. This should be in a section titled: Zwift Tips no one uses.
A key benefit? For one, it’s always fun to sit behind someone who is pedalling and barely going faster than you.
You’ll also keep with the group while they are pedalling – unless someone attacks. Then you’d better produce some watts.
44. Pre-event. Spin the turbo hard before the beginning
Zwift races fit a pattern. Going full-on bananas for the first 5-10 minutes. Get into a solid group. Shake out the cruft. Keep going to the inevitable sprint.
If you don’t get into a good group you’re either staying where you are or going backwards. Drafting is as important on Zwift as it is in real life.
45. Zwift bikes make a difference
Bikes make a difference and the more you ride the better the bike you will be able to get. This is not just about time trial bikes vs road bikes. Some are better on the flat, some better on the Alpe. Get a selection in your garage.
46. FIT files – upload them to other applications
A .fit file is basically a file of your Zwift activity. Download this via my.zwift.com or grab it from the Zwift file under Activities. They can be uploaded to other applications including Trainerroad and Training Peaks. Good if you want to replicate a race or group ride.
47. Use the Zwift Keyboard Shortcuts
Tired of your sweaty fingers pushing two keys at once or confusing the trackpad. Then use the keyboard shortcuts. For example, ESC to quit, or the ‘down’ arrow to u-turn. Here are my top 5:
- Promo Code: P
- Change View: 1-9
- Group Message: M
- Garage: T
- Skip Workout Step: Tab
And here’s the latest proper list.
Most of us are just trying to stay fit and maybe improve a little for that Sunday club ride.
If so, here are some ways to make the most of your indoor cycling training.
48. Get a training plan
There are some great training plans on Zwift, such as the FTP Builder. But if you are looking for something more specific then Trainerroad or The Sufferfest is better. The important thing is to avoid just going on the trainer and pedalling yourself into oblivion. Have a plan. Improvement comes during rest.
49. Remember to warm-up
Warm up properly. About 5 minutes will do. You will perform better at the end of it.
“Trying to push it too hard too early will make the beginning of your ride not feel great, and that will set the tone for the rest of the ride,” says
50. Get a kettlebell or some weights
Don’t just rely on the bike trainer. Think about doing some kettlebell exercises and getting space put to one side in your pain cave. They are great for warm-ups and cooldowns.
51. Eat and drink properly
Stay hydrated. Preferably with a hydration tab. If you want to train well and have the right effect afterwards, your body needs the right fuel and lubrication. Take food if you’re planning on going much beyond an hour.
52. Cooldown don’t just jump off the bike
A cool-down returns the body to normal heart rate and give the lactic a chance to move out of your legs. Moreover, that easy spin is a nice time to reflect on the hard work you’ve done.
53. Turn off ERG occasionally
ERG is great. It holds you accountable to a specific wattage. But there are times it can be a drag. According to The Sufferfest, the problem with ERG in training is it’s based on FTP (a moving target). By riding without it, you can judge your own effort. Sometimes, you will be capable of more than the FTP-based wattage.
53. Do FTP tests regularly and prepped
FTP tests are hard. Make sure you’re fuelled, have not exercised the day before, set yourself a minimum goal, warm up properly, don’t go off too hard, don’t save it all for the end, and cooldown.
I know what you’re thinking because I think it too.
As good as Zwift is, you’d rather be out on the road.
Other times the thought of putting on the gear and setting up is too much.
Recovery is the way forward right?
Well, if you feel you’re doing too much recovery, maybe you need some motivational techniques to get you started.
55. Kaizen – making massive progress through small goals
The principle of Kaizen (Toyota is the most cited example) is the practice of making small, steady, improvements over a long period.
There are times – especially if it’s been a while since you got on the trainer – that you’d rather watch tv than pedal for 90 mins in a cold pain cave. So set a small goal. Even if it’s just to get on the bike for 5 mins.
55. Get accountability. Share goals
Accountability is a great way to get yourself moving. We can all break promises to ourselves. But for others, it’s about reputation. Sportives and targets are a great way to look at this.
57. Keep track of your progress
As the saying goes: “What’s measured is managed”. Keep track of your FTP, weight, or time around a particular route. It doesn’t matter whether you put it in a spreadsheet or write it down.
It’s been proven to create focus like this will help your unconscious lead you to further improvement.
58. Give yourself a reward
We all like buying new kit. Surely, a 10% improvement in your FTP deserves a new Garmin 1030?
59. Add in something new
Maybe switch from Zwift to The Sufferfest, or just use your Garmin and watch TV. If you’re suffering a problem with motivation it maybe you’re just bored. The important thing is to get back on the bike.
60. Read someone else’s story
What would Bernard Hinault do? “Get training you homme inutile paresseux.”
61. Set realistic expectations
Don’t compare other people’s times or performance. Half of them are probably lying about their weight anyway. The main thing is to keep active and consistently stick to a training plan.
62. Tired of looking at a screen all day?
Being in front of screens too long was an issue in the TurboCyclist indoor cycling problem survey. Adults spend up to 11-hours a day in front of screens. Once in a while, ditch it. Just use your Garmin if you have one and set it to alerts to keep you within the required power and cadences.
Sweat was another of the big issues for indoor cyclists in the Indoor Cycling Problems Survey.
The body’s ability to remove heat through sweat is what makes us almost unique (along with horses) as species.
Sadly, it raises our heat, lowering performance as a result. It also potentially damages the bike.
Here are some options to deal with, and reduce, the salty stuff.
63. Clingfilm over anything electrical or with bearings
This handy for anything within sweat radius. You can’t cover everything with your grubby towel.
If you want to wreck your kit, get sweat on it. Sweat can ruin everything from a dongle to a bottom bracket.
Clingfilm works a treat, it’s cheap, and you can steal it from the kitchen. And don’t forget to wipe it down.
64. Directional Fans work best
There’s no need to spend lots of money buying on an indoor cycling fan. A cheap directional fan will do. Actually make that two, one for each side of you.
Don’t worry about the front, unless you want to feel like you’re going through a wind tunnel. A fan on each side will achieve near 100% coverage.
65. Use a polypropylene layer and indoor clothing
Sweat is the body’s way of removing heat. In the absence of wind, a polypropylene layer removes it from your skin. Great as a winter base layer. It is also good in the summer and will keep you sweat-free.
For more, here’s a guide on what indoor cycling clothing you should wear.
66. Drink iced water
While not a total solution, iced water is a good way of cooling your core and reducing sweat. Use a Camelback insulated bottle or something similar to keep the drink cool.
67. Keep cool with a cooling vest
A cooling vest uses an embedded gel, which should stay cool for around 90 mins. They come in varying prices of around $50 to $100.
68. Use an Echo to create remote control fans
You start off cold. Then you too hot. But you are in the middle of a group ride and can’t get off the bike to switch on the fan.
Solution. It is reasonably easy to connect directional fans via a voice-activated device like an Amazon Echo and switch them on and off as required. Some even use them to simulate headwind.
Some of us are happy with a 13” laptop.
If you long for a more immersive experience then this section is for you.
69. Go big screen
If you have been using a laptop or tablet, this can be a gamechanger. And it is pretty easy depending on your hardware. Once you do it you’ll wonder how you managed on a 13” screen. If you have a new machine just use a USB-C to HDMI adapter and plug it in. Easy. Here’s a handy guide on connecting a laptop.
70. Go 4K if you are going big
If you are going for a big screen, bear in mind you are going to be quite close to it. If you are going for a 42-inch or higher, it might be worth considering 4K.
71. TV stand with a tray
If you can’t hang a TV on a wall, consider a TV stand.
If you get one make sure it has a tray. That way you can reach over for drinks and gels.
72. Mobile device to the big screen without wires (Apple-only)
Digital AV Adapter to HDMI: works lovely on an iPhone (see tip no.xxx re. charging before use). One way is to connect to an iPhone/iPad via BlueTooth and on to Apple TV 4K (or 4th generation) via Apple Airplay.
73. Apple TV 4K for wireless connection
Tired of tripping over those pesky wires when getting off the bike? But be aware, it’s difficult to edit prefs.xml on an Apple TV.
Connectivity problems are a serious issue when it comes to Zwift. Removing all the riders around you will inevitably mean you lose contact with the group.
Often, it’s our own kit that’s letting us down.
Here are some tips, from the obvious (next) to the less so.
74. IT Crowd Fix – check the Ant+ dongle is all the way in
We’ve all done it. Just pull the dongle out and push it in again. While we’re at it, check the trainer is on and sending data.
75. No BlueTooth connection
Check there are no other BlueTooth connections. BlueTooth normally only connects to one hardware at a time – so something else may have that slot.
76. No BlueTooth connection no.2
Won’t connect? Unplug trainer, turn on the computer, connect to wifi, connect to Zwift. Turn on the trainer last.
77. ANT+ problems – check other devices are not interfering
Check other devices are not interfering with your ANT+ dongle. Get wifi away from the computer’s electronics – it can interfere with the ANT+ signal.
78. More ANT+ problems – close programs and processes
Close other programs and processes – each one could interfere with the USB port your ANT+ dongle is in. Your computer has a ton of stuff going on that you don’t even know about.
79. Laptop user? ANT+ problems? Get a powered USB hub
USB ports suck on power. Sometimes, for whatever reason, your computer will suck power away from the ANT+ dongle. A powered USB removes this issue.
Go here, you want more information on this and the best ANT+ dongle for Zwift.
80. Switch wifi channel
Think you have wifi connection issues? Moving to 5ghz wifi or moving out of the channel 9 – 12 range if using Ant+ is an easy quick win. This can be done in your wifi settings.
81. Can’t change resistance? Make sure only one device is connected
Make sure only one device is connected in Bluetooth. For example, a Garmin could be competing for connection rather than Zwift.
82. Gradient issues
Check resistance isn’t off in the Zwift settings page.
83. Get a wifi booster plug
Is your wifi modem far away and separated by a few walls. Consider beefing things up with a wifi plug.
84. Go to Zwiftalizer (tech-minded only)
Upload your Zwift logs onto Zwiftalizer. It provides a graphical window into your connection and when dropouts are happening. A word of warning, you still need to know what you are looking at. But it can help uncover issues.
85. Using a mobile? Make sure you have enough battery
Should go in the No Shit Sherlock/ It Crowd section (if there was one). But I’ve lost count (ok, four times) of when someone has connected via mobile and lost power in the last 500 metres of a race or group ride.
Fed up with Zwift, want different training plans, or are just not into the e-gaming element?
Then here are some alternatives that might suit.
86. Trainerroad – minimal UI with complex training plans
Trainerroad is the kind of app the Spartans would have used. Bare and stripped back, it is about your numbers. But the workout programs are extensive and take from you from a starting point all the way through the season. [link on how it has been used]
- Free Trial: No, but you get your money back if not satisfied after 30-days
- Price: $19.95 per month
87. The Sufferfest – in between Zwift and Trainerroad
If Trainerroad and Zwift had a child it might be something like The Sufferfest. If the parents split up it would move in with Trainerroad.
The Sufferfest is about training, but using music and race videos to get you in the mood. The plans are complex and look out for The Sufferfest’s own take on FTP – the test is brutal.
- Free Trial: 14-days
- Price: $14.99 monthly
88. Rouvy – in the real world
Rouvy’s big selling point is it uses Augmented Reality, ie it uses actual footage and lays your avatar over the top of it. You can pick a course, select virtual partners, race, or workout.
- Free Trial: 14-day
- Price: $10 monthly
89. Kinomap – share your own videos
Despite the ‘map’ element to the name, Kinomap seems to target the gym bike crowd in the same way as Peloton. It uses motivational trainers to keep you hitting the watts, rather than Alpe d’Huez.
- Free Trial: Free version provides indefinite access to a limited number of videos
- Price: EUR9.99 monthly
90. Bkool simulator – similar to Zwift
There’s always going to be some crossover as developers spot what works. But Zwift is closer to a game in terms of graphics, Bkool is more closely based on reality and actual places.
You can also ride with others. It has 1000s of routes around the world and even features its own weather systems.
- Free Trial: 1 month
- Price: EUR 9.99 monthly
91. Tacx Premium
Tacx Training features spring classics courses as well as Alpine climbs. You can also ride with others. But, obviously, it is designed for Tacx trainers. The free trial version includes workout creation, data analysis, and follow friends.
- Free Trial: 10-days with limited features
- Price: $9.99 monthly
Fulgaz’s key offering is its high-resolution filmed rides. It is designed to feel as close to riding as the real world. Also, it definitely has the feel of being one of the smaller operations out. Rides are downloadable.
- Free Trial: 14-days
- Price: £9.99 per month
Like many applications listed here, BigRingVR uses video display. It has over 300 routes from Europe and the US, with climbs including Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux. It also offers training plans and downloadable rides.
- Free Trial: 7-days
- Price: $10 per month
94. Elite my e-Training
Runs on a mobile device. It costs 19.99 and features all the usual numbers like power, rpm, heart rate etc. There are also training videos, which are extra to purchase. Or you can use user-generated ones for free. I haven’t tried it but reviews are underwhelming. ITunes rated it 2.6 out of 5.
- Free Trial: Basic level is free
- Price: EUR19.99 annual
Igrupetto’s best attribute is it’s free, so it is great value. It’s video-based, although much of it looks like Google Maps. Like some of the other apps, it simulates the classic climbs and routes. If you just want to train then this will be fine. But, to be honest, it struggles in this age of smooth graphics and ultra-realism.
- Price: Free
96. Road Grand Tours
Similar in look to Zwift. It also uses real routes – no Watopia here. It is also linked to Training Peaks for cycling plans.
- Free Trial: Free version available with limited features. Otherwise, it’s a 14-day trial.
- Price: $14.99 per month
97. One Lap
This is more of a curiosity than anything. In short, China’s answer to Zwift. Specifically, it uses its own graphics and gives you an avatar. The graphics look good but it’s difficult to evaluate much more than that as the English version of its website is in Chinese.
- Price: To be honest we’re not entirely sure. The pictures look nice though.
98. Stay away from Peloton
Strictly speaking, some of the above applications are better than others. However, they are all better than Peloton. Peloton is effectively an overpriced exercise bike and a reminder: don’t get too hooked on the tools. 90% of improving our cycling and our fitness is in our legs. Disagree? Put a comment in below.
Getting the pain cave right can play a huge part in how much you enjoy your indoor cycling.
Whether you’re in the garage, kitchen, or have taken over your children’s playroom.
Here are some tips that are worth a read.
99. Buy a bike desk
A bike desk is perfect if you use a laptop and like to keep other bits of kit to hand.
100. Get a cell phone mount
Use a cellphone mount. Especially if you use a minimalist app like Trainerroad or link to a screen.
101. Separate training kit to reduce setup time
Keep your kit separate and in your training area. Boxed if you don’t have one. In the survey, setup time was one of the most likely things to put people off getting on the trainer.
102. Keep everything within easy reach
Keep everything in easy reach. Like your towel, bottle, and gels. That includes a second bottle if you’re on a long one. You don’t want to get off the bike unless necessary.
One great tip is a wheelie cart, similar to ones your grandparents used to keep spirits on. You can keep all your cycling stuff on there and wheel it out of the way when it’s not needed.
103. Garage floors are concrete and usually level
If you have a garage, use it. Garage floors often have concrete floors, which are great for trainer stability. Just try and give it some more creature comforts like…
104. In the garage? Give it some colour
Using a garage? Stick up your sportive medals. Give it some colour with a coating of masonry paint. Might as well make it look nice, as the car isn’t going in there. Perhaps more importantly, it will reduce the dust.
105. Put some flexible flooring down
Use a yoga mat for flooring or cheap kiddy matting. Gym tiles are also pretty good. You just want something to absorb the (hundreds of) watts you’re pushing through the bike.
106. Keep the area clear around the bike
Simple stuff again. Try and clear as much of the area around the bike as possible, especially the side you get off on. The easier you can make it seem, the more likely you are going to start.
107. Just enjoy
Whether it’s e-sports or just a way of keeping fit when there’s a storm outside, indoor cycling is about fun.
Contrary to the title of this blog, nothing beats getting out on the road with friends. At it’s ultimate, indoor cycling is about helping you do just that.
You might be an indoor cycling Eddy Merckx. Or have just bought your first trainer on eBay.
There should be something for you here.
Now, I have a question for you.
Did I miss anything? Do you use any of the hacks mentioned here.
If so, let me know.
Leave a comment below and I’ll add it into the main article ASAP.