It’s sort of bringing P&R here, but I thought this was an interesting article on how sexist cycling is at the top levels, at least in Europe. Kind of odd since I always thought of it as being fairly gender-neutral.
Here’s a brief write-up of Zwift.
Zwift is an online community / mmo game where you ride your bike with other people in a virtual world.
It feeds you a constant stream of statistics, speed, and your past performances on the route / hill / segment that you are riding. This helps motivate you to try harder, and it works for me. Personally I don’t like ‘spinning’, but Zwift on the other hand, is almost to the level of an actual bike ride, so I could say I look forward to it.
Zwift also has group rides, races, a friend system, and in-game chat. You can join your friend and ride with him for awhile, or try to keep up with each other.
It is ‘real’ cycling. You put in your weight, and the watts you pump out translates into your avatar’s speed on screen. How fast you ride in Zwift will loosely translate to how fast you ride a road bike (no wind though).
Because of the cost of a setup, typically a road bike and an electronic trainer, it tends to be used by more hardcore cyclists. Joining a race, and many of the people are very fast. However, costs are coming down and they are trying to gain a more casual audience. It’s probably cheaper over a couple of years than spinning classes or a gym membership.
An electronic trainer, which is what I have and about 70% of zwift users have, varies the resistance for you. When you hit a hill, it gets harder to pedal and you have to shift gears, and pull your butt up the hill. Some of the hills are tough climbs. Pretty cool.
People can get started with a cheaper ‘dumb’ trainer, as long as it has a power curve.
If you’re interested, let me know, I can answer questions. Anyway, here are a couple of pics of me:
Great and timely info! I’ve just been going through assessing what I’m going to do in fall - spring once road biking has to fall off. I’ve lost 27 lbs road biking and need to keep a lot more active than in the past or I’ll gain it back hibernation style.
I have one of my road bikes set up on a trainer already but it’s not electronic. I was seriously considering Pelaton. It’s costly but does seem to be top of class - $1995 for the bike plus $39 month subscription. Thing is though - I’m a person who would use the heck out of it year round, when I don’t ride outside the other days of the week I ride inside.
But penny pincher that I am, I found a local state of the art spin studio that I’m doing the free first session on Sunday and I’ll probably end up doing that until next spring. It ain’t cheap to spin at these places ($200/m unlimited) but it’s not 2k plus either.
Yeah, spinning classes can be fun, but you should consider Zwift :). I think it’s much better personally. Let me put it this way:
Spinning at home, or in the gym without an instructor… I can’t wait to hit my 30-minute mark and get the hell off, often I find an excuse to stop sooner. Thinking back, I’ll never do it again. I hate it.
Spinning in a cycling class with a good instructor trying hard, a full group, good music, videos on a big screen, yeah that’s pretty fun. When the class ends I stop like everyone else. Plus with two kids and a busy life, it’s hard to go on schedule.
But when I put on Zwift, my music playlist on Spotify, and start riding towards the Zwift Alps? I just keep going. I should stop, eh, I’ll just climb this hill. Eh, now I’ll ride down the back. Man, if I keep going I’ll make it to the sprint section. Hey, that guy passed me, I’m going to try to keep up for awhile. He gives me a thumbs up!
I’d say it’s cheaper too. Plus there are other good apps too, Sufferfest and TrainerRoads are popular if you want to google them, though Zwift is the biggest and seems to be taking over.
I bike to work most days, but it’s only maybe a mile and a half each way, so it doesn’t amount to much.
My wife and I used to go on rides down the Ballona Creek bike path in Los Angeles. You can get all the way down to Hermosa Beach, was usually over 30 miles round trip. That was fun. Pre-kid, though.
There was a gap of, I think, over 20 years when I didn’t ride a bike. I was pleased to learn that the old ‘it’s just like riding a bike!’ adage was actually true.
I’m moving to Oregon soon and am seriously considering getting a bike. What’s the best solution for rain so you don’t end up with a giant racing stripe up your back?
You can buy a bike fender, which can be attached. If your bike has a back-rack that’s solid you won’t need the fender, as both block water flying up from the back tire…
Maybe not the answer you’re looking for, but in most of the world, riding a bike works because getting wet, cold and dirty isn’t that big of a deal. You dry off, warm up, and clean up.
That said it sounds like you’re considering it as a first bike, and to that I’d say to just be a fair weather cyclist for awhile at least, otherwise the hassle of the above will turn you off sooner or later.
Edit: I’m not a cycling snob, mostly fair weather over here too :).
@Nixxter Hey I’ve given you a few days for research :). Figured you’d be swayed for sure. Any questions about zwift?
I’ll check it out I promise :). Found a local spin place that I like and went a couple times. But I’d like to jazz up my inside riding at home too and zwift sounds like the way to do it.
Ok, I looked and it’s pretty neat! I’d have to get rid of my current trainer though? I have the rear wheel on type they show on the site (different make), but they also show the cycle ops direct drive option that’s more pricey.
I’m a little intimidated on getting the technology aspect running …
Dumb question - it plays on your big screen TV in front of you ? I have trainer set up now in front of Sony Bravia 52 " HD, but it’s a fair way away from it. I watch TV. I can’t really get it any closer in the room, without moving furniture. It’s about 9 ’ away now. Does that sound do-able ?
Ok. You’re ahead of the game already with your trainer set up in front of your TV. I’ll try and keep it simple.
Zwift needs power (watts). Your ‘dumb’ trainer might already be supported, there’s a list here. If supported, you need a speed sensor - preferably bluetooth but ANT+ could work.
That’s it. Zwift runs on IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV) or on a Windows PC.
A smart trainer is one where it electronically controls the resistance and outputs power. Smart trainers are available either wheel-on (cheaper, like yours, annoying due to messiness, tire changes, but they work), or direct drive (cleaner, better, more expensive).
Smart trainers are awesome, because the difficulty in pedaling, climbing etc is the same as actually climbing the hill in real life. It constantly varies its resistance, and you constantly change gears. Therefore it is more virtual cycling, less ‘spinning’. Direct drive smart trainers are the gold standard, and prices have been coming down fast with the surge in popularity. Two years ago, they were close to $2K, now there are models with sales on around $900 USD. Among users only 50% were on smart trainers last year, but it’s now at 70%.
People run it on laptops in front of their bike, on ipads, or on their phone airplayed to a TV. I run it on my gaming PC and streamed wirelessly to a chromecast at my TV - this introduces less than a second of delay which I currently put up with. Obviously running an HDMI cable would be better. Keep looking!
I got hit by a car for the first time yesterday while cycling.
That really sucked, especially the moment of raw terror just before impact when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to avoid it.
I walked away without a scratch, luckily. Rear wheel’s trashed, though.
I haven’t done my bike-commute in a couple weeks now and I am really feeling it in my legs… in that they feel like semi-soft yogurt.
I’m a big guy (6’6" and about 280 pounds) and I’m pretty hard on my rear wheels – if I hit any significant pothole or even a small driveway lip at a significant speed, there’s a good chance I’ll bend the rim out of true. Last time I took the wheel in for a professional “truing” (a couple weeks back), the mechanic pretty much recommended that I get a new wheel as he handed the “fixed” one back to me.
The next day, I managed to hit a small screw on the road that was perfectly upright and it went through my “gatorskin” tire and punctured the tube. I got off quickly (because riding on the flat will absolutely cause the wheel to bend, and changed the flat on the side of the road. No biggie – these things happen; it’s why you carry a spare. I was about halfway through my 10 mile commute.
I used the CO2 cartridge to inflate the tube and resumed my ride back. I guess I must have over-inflated it (or maybe there was a spur in the tire I didn’t catch), because a couple miles further down the road it simply blew out. I thought it was a car backfiring or something.
With no secondary spare and no way to patch the huge rent, I had the joy of walking the next three miles home in my clip-shoes.
I’ll try and fix the flat tonight and hopefully ride in tomorrow.
Yikes, what were the details? Typical right turning car travelling parallel scenario?
No, 4 way stop. I arrived before her, went to make a left turn, and she went forward thinking I was going straight. Luckily it was very low-speed.
I’m glad you’re in good fettle afterwards!
I always get so mad after getting hit (way back I had a similar episode car v bike, and I’ve had other cyclists run into me (on my side of the path, from the other direction)). Mad to my own detriment (refusing help like a trip to emergency ward or a ride home when the bike was trashed the time a car hit me).
It sounds like you dealt with it better and talked to the lady afterwards. Did she accept she was at fault? (in my view, car v bike, the car driver is always at fault) Is she helping repair your bike?
I’m asking because I am sure there is a more mature way to deal with this than the profanities that erupt from my mouth when these things happen and I am planning on dealing with it differently next time!
She apologized, and so far has seemed willing to pay for damages. Still have to get a repair estimate.
I actually ride a lot on the sidewalk. Cars make me nervous. I have bigger tires too, though, so they ride the bumps better.
I am so excited. I get to join this thread now!
About a year ago I decided I wanted to do a bit of biking. So I went and purchased a GMC Denali from Walmart. I rode it a bit but it was too difficult to use for even medium-length rides. I am too old and large to be hunched over drop bars. I could not get to the brakes easily enough and the whole thing simply did not fit very well. It was also largely inefficient.
Fast forward to about three weeks ago. Living in SW FL this is the time of year you want to be outside. So in an effort to continue to get some exercise in I decided to purchase a new bike. Something better than the lousy Walmart bike. So I went to the local bike shop and got a Trek FX 3. It is a nice little fitness bike. The upright ride is far more comfortable and the bike is considerably easier to peddle.
I have ridden it increasing distances over the last couple of weeks. I could ride the Denali about 3 miles before getting really winded and the most I ever rode it was 8 miles. I did 17 yesterday in the beautiful fall weather. Now for many of you that is probably no great accomplishment but I have not ridden that far since I got a Driver’s License more than 30 years ago.I only wrapped up my ride yesterday when my butt started to hurt.