What is Zwift? Who are Zwifter’s? Where the hell is Watopia?


Some of the questions I had when I decided to look into the world of virtual cycling. I became interested in this indoor world of cycling for a number of reasons. It seemed it would be a good option for my interval training from my coach Julie. I had always struggled on the road to find a flat section or a hill at the right length, without traffic or other obstacles to do some of the intervals properly, so this seemed like a good option. Cycling in my garage also would be safer than out with the traffic every day, even though I will still and indeed need to ride on the roads to keep my confidence and road skills up. Lastly, I had already got a large screen and projector in the garage, that I used with a launch monitor to practice my golf and now could easily be used for cycling.

So, after some research down a “virtual cycling” rabbit hole, I bought myself a wahoo trainer and hooked up Irma. I signed up to Zwift and purchased a large number of fans for cooling.

For anyone who has no idea what this is, I will try to explain briefly. Zwift have managed to build a world that has mapped roads. Some are real and accurately mapped like London, Harrogate, Paris and New York, others are fictional places like Watopia. The real winner for me is that there are hills and mountains mapped accurately and therefore I can actually train for climbing, which I can’t really do here in flat Florida. When you start a climb, the trainer makes it harder and therefore feel like the real thing, very clever. Other things you can do, ride in groups (without knocking anyone else over), race against others, chat to others and many more cool gaming/cycling type things.

So, Zwift and Zwifting soon became my go to training. Julie would send me my weeks workouts and I then began the long road back to fitness and some sort of cycling ability. I find it fun and have definitely become an avid indoor cyclist for training purposes, its not the same as being out on the road but I do think it compliments “real riding” for someone like myself, who is also training specifically on fitness and improvement.

One other thing I would add even if it doesn’t often apply to me, it is a great way to train/ride when the weather is bad, late at night or any other time when being on the roads isn’t the best place to be.