In the beginning of December I began to ride bicycles indoors once more. The temperatures dropped below 5°C for a handful of days and that was the official end to my outdoor cycling season. It always takes some time for me to get used to riding indoors, however a few weeks later I’m absolutely and a 100% focused on riding on Zwift in my second season.

The workout always runs like the same pattern. I always start with stretching for a few minutes as a short warmup, legs and back mainly. When I’m done with stretching cycling starts.

This year I’m basically using the same setup as last year. The Fuji roadbike spends the winter inside, installed on a Wahoo Kickr Snap. As I explained in the last post, there’s just one thing I changed about the setup. The smartphone, which is the Zwift device of my choice, is now mounted to the bicycle rack in front of the roadbike. This improves looking at the screen while riding a lot and it makes riding on Zwift way more fun than last year, when I had the smartphone mounted on the bars.

I guess my average riding session on Zwift lasts about an hour, depending on how much time I got left pre or post work, but it definitely lasts longer than 30min or all the preparation just wasn’t worth it. Besides, warming uo on a bike always takes about 15 to 20 min until I feel like being ready for a bit more intense ride.

Do you like climbing on Zwift? I definitely don’t like climbing more than 7%-roads. Everything above is just pure agony in my opinion. The rear tire slips with every pedal stroke and pedaling just feels so mechanic. I’ll never forget the one ride I did up to Alpes d’Zwift …

Since I don’t like climbing too much, I prefer Zwift routes that are rather flat. I think, my average route is about 20km’s long, with not more than a hundred meter altitude. Add up to three or four sprints, but no KoM, and I’m happy. I also like to choose a short lap with up to 10km and then do a few laps on it. This improves my knowledge of the track and I’m able to raise my time in the sprints, simply because I know where the sprint starts and finishes!
On the other hand, time goes by a lot faster, when I’m riding a longer route and just one lap.
I guess the choice depends on how hard I like to push myself on every specific day.

When a Zwift session ends, preparation for the next ride begins. And this means cleaning the bicycle after every single session. This makes a huge difference on the status of your bicycle in spring and of course, a clean bike is a fast bike!

That’s pretty much it about how I workout and ride bicycles on Zwift in 2022. Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments!

-Dennis

For most people in Europe and Northern America January means one thing: Winter has come! And although there are many cyclists, who just don’t care whether it’s 20°C or 2°C outside, many cyclists, myself included, are struggling to keep on cycling outdoors.
However, if you don’t want to lose all the progress you’ve made over the last year, indoor cycling on a smart trainer is a great way to keep on cycling and stay fit and strong, in times when it’s impossible for you to ride outside.

This is my second winter on an indoor trainer and there are a lot of things I’ve learned and changed compared to my rookie indoor season. You’ll probably discover most of these things for yourself in time, just like I did. However, the following advices may still help you getting started on an indoor trainer even better:

#1. A fan is a must have, it’ll keep your sweat output under control and prevents you from overheating. Don’t forget about getting some fresh oxygen though and open your window!


#2. However, you’re going to sweat … a lot!
Sweat bands on wrists and head will help you stop dripping sweat all over the place! It’s hard to hold on to your bars with sweaty hands, plus the smell is going to stick in your room forever. Just put on some sweat bands and you’ll get the 80’s fitness workout look on top … for free!


#3. Don’t forget to clean your bike after every session or the sweat will eat up your bike! Sweat is full of salt and this salt is going to destroy your bike’s painting, bottom bracket, chain and possibly everything. Just clean your bike after every ride to make it last longer and have a nice looking fresh bicycle to start the season in spring!


#4. Put a cover on the ground and under your smart trainer.
It will protect the ground below and may even reduce the noise of the trainer a bit. When your neighbors start asking, why you keep washing your clothes every single day … in your living room, it’s time to use a noise reducing cover on your floor. I’m using the thickest pvc carpet I’ve found on the floor and it worked out great. However, I’m also thinking about a nice turf carpet to create an outside feeling for the next indoor session.


#5. Make sure your Zwift device is not mounted on your bars!
This advice is for everyone, who can’t afford a brand new laptop, screen or whatever to run Zwift on. I’m using Zwift on my smartphone and it works just fine. However, when I started to train indoor last January, I used to mount the smartphone on top of my bars, because it was the first and easiest idea that I’ve got. Zwift may run just fine on a smartphone that is mounted like this, some things will start annoying you in time for sure though:
First thing you’ll recognize is, that the screen will start rotating, everytime you sprint and shift, due to the vibrations, that are transmitted through the bike’s frame or the slightest movement of your bars. And before you start asking … a locked up screen, won’t fix this problem…
Next thing you’ll recognize is, that the position of your neck and head is not ideal compared to riding bicycles outside. Usually, you’re looking straight ahead to things that are in front of you. With a Zwift device mounted to your bars, you’ll be looking down to your screen most of the time. This position didn’t cause pain or anything, it just didn’t feel naturally and won’t simulate riding outside in a good way.
This year, I placed the bike stand in front of my roadbike and mounted old MTB bars on it, to put the smartphone on them instead of the bars on my roadbike. Pull the bike stand up high as possible and the smartphone will be placed right in front of your head. Personally I think, this is the best and cheapest solution for that problem and it works just fine.


These are the top 5 things I’ve learned during my time on an indoor trainer and probably the most important one’s and I hope they will help anyone who is just getting started on indoor cycling. Make sure to let me know what you think about it, in the comments below!

-Dennis

Yes, you heard right! After thinking about it almost the whole year, followed by searching for an indoor trainer for weeks and weeks, I finally managed to get one of these items. And let me tell you this, indoor trainers are rare these days, like really really rare.

Luckily for once, I had the right timing, when I found a trainer online back in stock at the manufacturer’s site. Two long days were spend with cleaning the roadbike outside at 3°C (sorry, hands!) and preparing the future “indoor cycling corner” / “the last bit of space I got left at my place”, until the package arrived and I could officially call me an owner of an indoor cycling trainer.

Since then, signing up for Zwift, was one of the best decisions, that I recently made. And of the sweatiest, hahaha! Honestly, I did never sweat this much before! Also, I would’ve never thought, that riding on Zwift could be a real alternative to riding outside … in the winter … and the rain … and freezing cold temperatures, alright … lesson learned. I like it, it really feels like a video game and there are so many people online everytime, it’s awesome, even on the super small screen of my smartphone!

Of course, there are still a lot of things, that I have to figure out. For example, I’m wondering what devices are best for riding on Zwift? The smartphone is doing a good job, but the screen really is a bit too small, I think.

So, if you got any advices for a noob on zwift, which I absolutely am, feel free to tell me in the comments below. If you’d like to connect with me on Zwift, you should be able to find me under “Dennis The Cyclist”! Alright then …Can’t wait to see you in Watopia!

Dennis!