Riding Outside vs. Zwift

After many years of cycling I had fallen into a very bad pattern.  I would lose weight in the summer when I was riding a lot and gain weight in the winter.  Not just a little bit of weight either but more like ten to fifteen pounds. I would gain weight and be out of shape.

Summer would come and I would lose the weight and get back in shape by the end of August just in time for the cycling season to end.  Then the cycle (pun intended) would start all over again losing and gaining weight, being fit and losing my fitness.

I had been riding a trainer every winter but as I am sure anyone that has tried it can relate, that is kind of like watching the ocean on TV instead of walking on the beach.  It just did not work and usually after thirty minutes on the trainer I just could not stand it anymore.  I underwent this self-inflicted torture three to four times per week.

I had heard about Zwift and had been considering it for many months.  The thing that pushed me over the edge was when doing a group ride conversing with one of the guys.  He told me about Zwift and then promptly left me in the dust as we were riding up a long climb.  That was it for me.  That was my breaking point.

Fast forward to this year and another revelation has hit me regarding cycling and Zwifting or maybe I should say many revelations.  Here are some reasons people Zwift most if not all of the year. 

Here we go:

1) Zwifting is not weather dependent.  You can ride your trainer year around never bothered by wind or rain or snow or dead of night.  You will be the envy of every mail carrier out there.  The temperature is just about always between 65 and 75 degrees in my house.  Air conditioning in the summer and furnace in the winter makes it always the right temperature to ride.

Winter in November. A great reason to Zwift.

2) Zwifting is better exercise than riding a bike outside in real life.  Riding outside we tend to coast a lot and take a lot of breaks.  When Zwifting your little legs will almost never stop churning for the entire time you are on your trainer often for one to two hours at a time.  You will feel the burn and if you are like most people you will be perspiring heavily the entire time.  Get used to doing a lot of laundry.

3) Zwifting is safer.  It is often spoken of among cyclists that we are all just in between accidents.  Cars are not respectful of cyclists often with good reason.  Motorist often do not know the rules of the road regarding cyclists even though they are the same.  They also do not realize how fast cyclist are going pulling out in front of them, making right hand turns in front of them and not giving them enough room.  And that is if we assume that motorists are just oblivious and do not see cyclists.  I will not even talk about all the cars operators that intentionally cut off cyclist and see how close they can get even sometimes running cyclists off the road.

4) Zwifting promotes friendships.  I have been riding with the same group of people for going on fifteen years and can honestly say I have made few if any friends.  That is entirely not the case on Zwift.  It is even more true if you join a group like the Herd.  You will make friends.  It is inevitable.  Riding on the road can be lonely ordeal especially if you are a poor climber like me.

5) Zwifting makes mechanical breakdowns easy to deal with.  If you have a flat on the road it can be changed.  But what about broken chains, shifting cables, spokes and derailleurs? I have been stranded out on the road many times.  The last time was because I had two flats on one ride.  I only carry one spare tube.  Walking down the road in cleats or barefooted really stinks.  I have also rescued other cyclists spotted walking down the road. With Zwift that is never an issue.  If the chain brakes I get off, take a shower and can be watching a movie all within fifteen minutes.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I still like to ride outside but for pure fitness, safety land socialization I prefer Zwift.  I am sure that most motorists prefer me being off the road as well. 

See you all on the next Herd ride!