That resonates for me. I started indoor riding three years ago because I was getting back onto the bike after a long time, and my work schedule and living situation made any outdoors “after-work ride” an adrenaline-filled night-time excursion in a city full of steep inclines, narrow winding roads, and crazy motorists. The friendly people at my local bike store told me all about Zwift and smart trainers, and I jumped right in. No regrets so far.
But I am also surprised by how the gamification aspects of Zwift have acted as motivators for me. I’ve never been into video games at all, or other games, really, for that matter. Cycling was always about commuting or long, solo endurance rides rather than racing. The psychology behind gamification is powerful, I guess.
I’ve done all of the route badges (apart from those released this month) and all of the standard cycling achievement badges. Ticking off the badges for things like the PRL Full or the 100 Mile badge, etc., worked as a perfect carrot for me, both in wanting to get to higher levels in Zwift, and just wanting to bag the prize. If there were a 200-mile badge, I’d certainly go for it, just because it’s a difficult badge to attain. But I don’t have any plans to do 200 miles indoors in one go right now, as it’s just a number. (I recognize the contradictions in that!)
Now that there are no major incentives on the horizon (apart from the workouts, like Mike pointed out) and I’m due to hit level 50 in the next few weeks, I’m wondering what effect the drop in gamification motivation will have on me. So far, I haven’t been bitten by the racing bug and I’m probably less motivated by the social aspect of Zwift than most.
Directly because of the #FreeLuciano debacle of the last few days, I finally set up accounts in RGT and FulGaz yesterday morning, before Eric Min had broken his silence. Neither of those platforms have anything like as much gamification as Zwift. It will be interesting to see how the “draw” to ride and re-ride on them will be, compared to Zwift.
In the end, indoor cycling has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on my health these past three years, thanks to me being able to spend far more time turning the pedals than I could if limited to riding outdoors. Whatever keeps that going is what I’ll stick with.