Missing group trail rides and training? Why not ask to join a Zwift Meetup with Anna Beck?
With social distancing requiring we don't ride with more than one other person outside of our household, it is easy to feel... socially distant. If you're like any of us here at AMB, part of the reason you ride is about the people you meet and share the experience with. Railing new trails and cleaning lines on sight is awesome, but it's way better with a bunch of mates who are all there to support each other out on the trails.
So while that might not be possible, and dialling down the risks you take on the trails at the moment makes a lot of sense, it is easy to miss out on some socialising while riding.
No doubt you have heard of Zwift, an online training platform with a number of programmed worlds to ride in. There are countless training rides to do with other riders as they log on around the world, and even races! You can even create private Meetups, where you and your friends can ride without the fuss of other avatars buzzing yours, and undertake a set training ride.
Anna Beck has been writing most of our Fitness features for the past year, and as a level 2 mountain bike coach she has taken to using the Zwift meetups to catch up with some of her athletes. And she's happy for you to join in - bear in mind the meetups have a limit of 50 riders.
So how do you take part?
You'll need to sign up for Zwift. There are free trials, but you do go through that pretty quick. It costs more the Netflix but if you use your subscription you will get a lot fitter!
You also need to have an indoor trainer of some kind. A smart trainer is optimal, as it will change the resistance for you to suit the session.
You can use a wheel on 'dumb' trainer with a speed and cadence sensor that connects via Bluetooth to your laptop or device. or you can use a wheel off dumb trainer with a crank or pedal based power meter.
So while you don't need a road bike or anything, you will need a trainer of some kind, a bike that it is compatible with, and some way for the Zwift app to connect to what you're doing.
Download the Zwift Companion App to your phone, as it lets you message other people in the group and is how you'll get invited to the Meetup.
Make sure you set up a fan, have some fluid, and a towel. Even if you're not going to do a really hard session on your trainer, you don't have the benefit of wind in your hair, and you'll find you do sweat quite a bit.
Next up, you can follow riders you know. To take part with a Meetup with Anna Beck, you will need to follow her first. Just search 'Anna Beck' in athletes. She's the Australian one.
Now, put time aside to take part! Anna is doing Meetups at 6:15am on Tuesday mornings, for AEST.
Once you have signed up for Zwift and have your trainer set up with your bike, you can do as much or as little as you want! Try some of the set rides, training sessions or even the races. You'll be surprised how easy it is to get engaged with online cycling. But remember, time in the virtual world is pretty efficient so you don't need to go and put hours aside!
Search out your friends, create a Meetup and chat over the Companion App - or maybe a Zoom meeting at the same time? We might be a bit isolated at the moment, but it doesn't mean we can't share our riding.