So you may have noticed it’s been some time since I’ve done much posting. It happens to a lot of us part time bloggers – so – no judging, please. Life gets in the way – and – sometimes you find yourself in a bit of a rut.
I’ve been riding through the year like always – just didn’t have a lot to report. As the weather started turning colder, I reluctantly brought the bike inside and hooked it up to my trainer. Ho hum….
From my number of past reviews of videos to use while training indoors (see my ranking of the Spinervals Virtual Rides as a good example) . I also did a few reviews on the great and very fun rides of The Sufferfest. For the past few years, these were some of my “go to” things to make riding indoors bearable. And they worked (and still work) just fine.
It’s just…….me and riding indoors have fallen into that same old dull routine (did you just sing that last line a la “Pina Colada Song” – if not, go back and re-read/sing. Trust me. It’s fun to do….).
Anyway, I’ve been finding it more difficult to get myself to go down into my basement to jump on the bike over the cold months. Even my urge to secretly train with the hopes that I’ll be able to outperform some of my fellow riders in the Spring hasn’t been enough to keep me motivated to ride consistently.
So, this year my urge to find something different started taking over my mind. A few times, I took a peek at Zwift and even tried it with my 1UpUSA trainer. Quite honestly, I didn’t “get it.” It comes with little instruction, and I just didn’t feel connected to the app/game. So, I let it fall by the wayside.
I had purchased and was using the Wahoo Blue SC Speed and Cadence sensor (here is my review of the Blue SC) to connect to Zwift. It registered the ride, and made some type of calculation to put me in the game, but it wasn’t enough to keep my interest.
As the Christmas season came around, I started thinking about one of the smart trainers being offered as my gift. I did some research on the biggest names (or the biggest advertisers), and I compared the following (in alphabetical order):
All of these were priced pretty much the same – in that $599 price point – and I really had a hard time trying to figure out which one to go with. I reached out to all 3 companies through Facebook (sending direct messages). BKOOL was the first to respond with some nice links. Wahoo was second – with some nice links. CycleOps took a few extra days, and their response wasn’t really that helpful.
I received the Snap very quickly – and – set it up (yeah – it’s not yet Christmas…..but I’ll need to ride it Christmas Day and pretend like it’s a surprise). I found it was super easy to connect the physical bike to it and connect to the Wahoo iPhone app. And, since it came with some promotional trials with a few apps (and those apps have their own promotional free trials), I thought I’d connect the trainer to Zwift and the BKOOL simulator (which works with different smart trainers, too).
The Snap connected so easily. It was (get ready to groan) – a snap (insert drum ditty here). In fact, it connected so easily late that evening that I had to just take it for a test ride. How could I resist?!?
Quite honestly, I started out on Zwift. Within 1 minute, there was some type of disconnect and my avatar stopped pedaling – even though I was furiously pedaling to get it to work. I just about gave up on Zwift again at that moment. Instead, I stopped and restarted – and – got a 10 mile ride in with no problems. Since that first ride, I haven’t had any more issues connecting. I’m not really sure what happened.
In the next week, I switched a bit between Zwift and the BKOOL simulator and quickly logged about 80 miles. The change in resistance coupled with the virtual world of cycling rekindled my interest in riding indoors! (To keep this post tied to the Pina Colada song – it was like that time when she walked into the rendezvous and the singer noted that he knew who it was right away).
All of a sudden, I have found new ways to enjoy the same old thing. And, while I’m still learning how to use Zwift and the BKOOL Simulator, I’m really enjoying both. Soon, I’m sure I’ll try out the Sufferfest app and, maybe, a few others.
I’ll post my first impressions on Zwift and the BKOOL Simulator soon.
I’m curious to hear if anyone else just purchased a smart trainer – and – if there are a bunch of others rekindling their relationship with indoor training.