Riding the Classics – Virtually
The Coronavirus lockdown has limited activities somewhat. I am only allowed out to exercise outdoors once a day. I can cycle on my turbo trainer indoors so I tend to have been saving my single outdoor allocation for running or for walks with Anna. At least that way I can maintain some sort of run and bike fitness without exceeding the limitations put in place by the lockdown restrictions. Swimming and Kayaking fitness will no doubt slip somewhat
I do much of my cycle training indoors anyway even when not in lockdown so riding indoors isn’t a problem. I do however miss not being able to get out for easy rides on my bike that aren’t necessarily regimented ‘training’ sessions. I do my regimented indoor training sessions using TrainerRoad which prescribes set intervals and ‘serious’ training sessions. Most people on indoor trainers seem to use Zwift these days which is more fun, definitely more social and in many ways more enjoyable. I did use Zwift for indoor riding a couple of years ago but can’t afford a subscription to both Zwift and TrainerRoad so reverted back to TrainerRoad once I started training again. Zwift replaced outdoor riding over the winter but the training plans weren’t as good as those from TrainerRoad once things became a little more regimented once again. This means that my Zwift account expired and I now can’t use it without paying for it once again. I don’t want to pay for Zwift and TrainerRoad at the same time so decided to try out some other virtual cycling apps instead – Most offer a 2-4 week free trial to start with, and some are completely free during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Rouvy was fun and allows you to cycle along real roads with full HD quality video footage of the roads you are riding along. This is nice as you get to see parts of the world as they actually were when the route was filmed and of course (as with all of these apps) the trainer adjusts the resistance based on the hills and descents that make up the route.
You can compete in races, ride with others or just go for a nice ride on your own. You can do workouts too which is pretty much standard for most of these apps.
My only issue with it was that it was almost too real. Not all of the footage is shot on super-stabilised cameras, some seems to be from GoPro’s mounted on handlebars. This is fine, but not for me as I get travel sick watching such footage which isn’t ideal when trying to ride up a big mountain climb – although I guess if it’s a REALLY big mountain climb you could say that the travel sickness induced by the video is simulating the altitude sickness I’d get from the climb. How’s that for extra realism.
RGT (Road Grand Tours) is completely free during the lockdown and so far I’ve been enjoying this one. I’ve only ridden a few of the ‘Real Roads’ that they offer so far but will soon try uploading a GPX file of my own and riding some routes that I’m more familiar with. The ‘Real Roads’ are simulated Real World rides of a few iconic rides around the world. I rode to Cape Formentor in Mallorca the other day and then up (and down) the Stelvio Pass in Northern Italy yesterday!