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Preparing gym for Zwift Island!

Friday, March 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


If you’re a cyclist, you’re probably well aware of the new indoor training software Zwift.

Zwift is currently in beta, and you must request an invite if you want to participate in the beta program. I received my invitation late last year, but I have been doing all my riding outdoors lately, and never bothered to try it out–until yesterday.

First, if you’re not familiar with Zwift, here’s the gist:

Zwift is an online community of like minded athletes united in the pursuit of a better indoor training experience. Created by cyclists for cyclists, Zwift brings the things we love about outdoor cycling indoors and adds a dose of fun. Yes fun!

How do we do it? We start with the best of massive, multiplayer video game technology – our “Zengine” – add in a little voice communication and a whole lot of math. Zwift works across multiple platforms seamlessly connecting to all your existing devices wirelessly via ANT+ and *Bluetooth Smart protocols.

The result? An engaging indoor cycling experience that motivates and entertains. But don’t take our word for it – request an invite today.

I have everything I need to run Zwift: a compatible trainer (I’m using the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine), an ANT+ USB2 stick, an ANT+ heart rate monitor, an ANT+ speed/cadence sensor, a power meter (I’m using a Stages) and a computer with a good GPU (I’m using the Alienware Alpha, which does a phenomenal job).

Note that Zwift is graphics-intensive, and a good GPU is very important–much more so than the CPU:

Zwift's beautiful graphics and a massive multiplayer engine promise to make indoor training fun and entertaining.

Zwift’s beautiful graphics and a massive multiplayer engine promise to make indoor training fun and entertaining.


I ran a quick test last night, and the Alienware Alpha rendered the environment beautifully. The only issue I experienced was power meter signal dropouts. This can be caused by a number of things, but the likely cause is interference from 2.4 GHz wireless signals, which are very close to the ANT+ broadcast range. While I use the 5 GHz band for all of my wireless devices that allow it, I do have some legacy equipment that requires 2.4 GHz, and so I have no choice but to broadcast 2.4 GHz from my WAP. I should be able to work around this issue by bringing the ANT+ dongle closer to my power meter by way of an inexpensive USB 2.0 extension cable.

I’m also going to be making some changes to my home gym–specifically the indoor cycling training section. This is my current cycling training setup:

My current Bike Torture Chamber setup.

My current Bike Torture Chamber setup.


As you can see, right now my HDTV is mounted high up on the wall. That position made sense when I had the TV on during weight training, or when I was using my laptop as the primary display device for cycling training. Now that I’ll be using the HDTV as the primary display device, it makes more sense to have it at eye level (when seated on the bike). The television will still be high enough for easy viewing throughout the gym, but I won’t have to crane my neck up when I’m on the bike. I’ll probably still use the laptop for ancilary information while I’m training, and I will also use my cell phone combined with Zwift’s Mobile Link app for even more information and control.

Once I have everything setup and dialed in I’ll take some new photos and update my home gym page.

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Preparing gym for Zwift Island!”
  1. Are you going to use a second ANT+ stick? There’s been a lot of chatter about people wanting to ride a TrainerRoad workout on Zwift island. My understanding is that you can’t run both on one USB stick.

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