Zwift Is a Massive Multi-Player Online Game You Play with Your Real-World Bike

Zwift online cycling video game 10 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
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Anyone who's watched the second episode of the first season of Charlie Brooker's "Black Mirror" will shiver at the sight of Zwift. The similarities are uncanny, but there is also one major difference: unlike the TV show, here you pedal for fun, not for 'merits.'
How nobody came up with this sooner is a mystery. Anyone who's ever set foot in a gym knows that two of the most boring things you can do there are pedaling on the stationary bikes and running on the treadmill. But what is it that makes these two activities so tedious? After all, any exercise in the gym is just are repetitive and unimaginative, right?

Yes, only these two are the only ones that have a much less static outdoors equivalent. Unless you load your bench on a flatbed and have somebody drive you around, you can't do bench presses on the move. You can, however, ride a bike through a park or a forest, or run around a lake or something.

By placing a monitor in front of a bicycle, Zwift immediately turns it into a simulator, but that's not what's so great about it: it's the fact it allows you to connect with other and go for a virtual ride together. Yes, that sounds like it kind of defeats the purpose of going out for a ride with your friends, but don't be so quick to judge.

Think about all those people who have to endure long winters, and so they are itching to take out their bikes for months on end. Or simply think about those who are already using stationary and just because they haven't heard of Zwift, they have no idea what they are missing on.

There are actually three ways in which you can use Zwift. One, as we've already said, is to get together with your friends and do the same thing you would have done outdoors, but from the comfort of your home. The second is for the more competitive types who want to go through a training program and reach a certain level. Finally, the third is probably the coolest of them all because it allows Average Joes to take part in cycling tournaments online, with as much as 500 riders being able to sign up.

There's plenty of customization possible, and thanks to a partnership with Strava - a well-known activity tracking app - you can have all these virtual rides recorded and accounted for, calories burned included. There's also a VR mode coming at an unspecified date, plus an extension for jogging for those who like to use the treadmill.

Basically, Zwift means that even though you are alone in the room, you never have to work out again. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection and the right equipment - a treadmill or a bike. You still need to have some real friends, though.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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