How did your indoor training begin?

I was just curious as to how people started indoor training because I think some of the reason I am able to give zwift (possibly a little too much) credit and cut them some slack when things aren’t perfect or go wrong is because the first few years of my indoor training was spent sat on a wheel on trainer, no variable resistance just gears to change how hard/easy it was and staring at a wall with only my heart rate and cadence to look at to break the mundane monotony of it all.

When I get frustrated by a feature I want that isn’t there or something that breaks when there is an update I think back to those days and think “Oh yeah, this aint so bad I suppose”

This isnt a reasonfor Zwift not to address the issues and bugs etc just maybe a bit of perspective!

I’m definitely not from a cycling background :slight_smile:

I cycled a little bit as a child, but then spent my 20s and the first half of my 30s doing little to no exercising and getting bigger. I hit 16 stone and decided it was probably time to do something about it.

I picked up a hybrid in 2015/16 and started doing rides along the Leeds/Liverpool canal and bought an exercise bike. So the usual staring at a wall whilst pedaling. I think it was January 2018 when I saw an advert on Facebook for Zwift and asked my cousin what I needed to do to make it happen. Bought a Tacx Vortex and subsequently a Wattbike Atom in July 2019.

45,000km later…

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Got hit by a car June 2015. Broke neck, lots of lacerations. I bought a Kickr v1, subscribed to TR and was checking out Zwift by July or early August.

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I think everyone should have to do a minimum of 1 year on a dumb trainer with just headphones and a bike computer for company before they’re allowed a smart trainer! haha

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Bought an indoor smart trainer to improve cardio performance for another sport. Luckily it was during Black Friday just before pandemic hit :smiley: and the rest is history…

(actually bought a dumb trainer but took that **** back straight away and upgraded XD)

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GT Tachyon c.1992 - a precursor to a “gravel” bike - sort of a touring geo road/hybrid. I put it on a magnetic trainer with a lever attached to the handlebar that adjusted resistance. That thing was loud but I lost a lot of weight doing that.

Fell out of cycling for years, got back into it a few times - including a KHS Westwood folding bike, that also lived on the trainer mentioned above - but it was only in 2021 that indoor training “stuck” for me with Zwift over the winter keeping me engaged. I found “flow state” on “The Esses” recently.

I said it in a reply to another post: we’re the loud minority here on the Zwift forum, kvetching about features we want and bugs that remain unfixed. The silent majority love Zwift and just get on with it. There’s nothing that comes close.

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Used a mag trainer back in my Tri days… bought a Cycleops Fluid 2 in a sale, signed up for TR, found Zwift in 2015, switched to a gen 1 Kickr in the Oct (lost 100W)… Kickr died last year so bought a Neo. Use Zwift… RGT… Vitru-Pro… struggling with long term injuries so just ticking over…

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Mostly as an adjunct to outdoor riding, particularly for doing more controlled intervals without having to worry about potholes and stop signs. I was a fairly early power adopter as I bought a Powertap hub complete with the yellow Flandis computer back in 2007 so I had a bit more to look at than just cadence, HR and a wall:

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My adult cycling life has two distinct parts.

  1. Getting my first road bike and joining a cycling club happened in Japan in the late 90s. In the winters, we had extreme rain for one month solid (‘rainy season’ there was real), and then heavy snowfall for a couple of months, making both cycling and running outdoors practically impossible. I bought the dumbest of wheel-on, magnetic, dumb trainers, because that was all that was available to me and my budget. I have intense memories of spinning away in my unheated, ground-floor apartment, listening to Deep Purple CDs on repeat for a couple of hours at a time and having a blast after being stuck indoors with no exercise during my first Ishikawa winter. No bike computer to speak of, no fan, no screens. Lots of sweat puddles.

I shipped that heavily-used bike and the dumb trainer when I moved to CH, and tried using them here. Sadly, the rumble it produced was too noisy for the wood-framed, fourth-floor apartment I moved to, and I guess I also lost motivation for a while. Life happened.

  1. Fast forward to 2019, when I decided to finally get my overweight carcass back on a bike. Discovered that the much-needed replacement parts for the worn groupset on my steel-framed 1999 road bike would be hard to find and extremely expensive. Swapped stories with a wonderful bike mechanic in a store here, who told me about Zwift and the much quieter smart trainers that were now available. Went a little crazy buying new kit in April 2019 (bike and KICKR 2018), but certainly don’t regret any of it now. Joined Zwift without looking at alternatives. Was particularly glad to have it all set up permanently when forced to work from home when the pandemic hit.

Like @Chris_Holton, my memories of dumb training with no screen mean that the Zwift experience will always feel like heaven in comparison to the old ways. Perhaps one positive outcome of having been used to dumb training is that I never seem to get bored in Zwift rides, no matter how long they are.

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I did the dumb trainer back in the late 90s. Twice a week on weeknights, I would typically ride outside for about 2hrs, then finish inside for another 1hr while watching Seinfeld reruns.

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This is a fun Topic.

I started Racing in the early 2000’s and due to the dangerous conditions I did all my training on a spinning bike in a spinning class as things changes I got a dumb trainer and started watching the TdF and Tdf reruns on the trainer.

In 2011 I bought a used Elite Realxiom USB “Smart” trainer it could simulate inclines and measure power, the elite software was ok real world videos with data overlay (a lot Like Rouvy just older).

As time gone by I tested every type of software that would work with the Eilte trainer, I was beta tester for at least 3 different apps before Zwift came to the scene.

At first Zwift did not support the USB trainer but after a bit asking nicely Jon Mayfield got hold of a Eilte USB trainer and made it work.

I later bought a Powertap wheel to get more accurate power, sold that and bought Assioma due pedals and later a Saris H3 trainer.

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I started with Kino Map & Sufferfest videos on a dumb trainer in the shed - then moved to Trainerroad & Zwift when in Beta I think, from that to wheel on trainer, direct drive & then a Atom. Started using it as got into cycling and always enjoyed technical geeky things (as it was back then)

The reason why Zwift gets a hard time over its amateur hour once a month\week\day is because they bill themselves as Unicorn software company (private, billion dollar value) yet their output is one of a 2 dollar company for the vast majority of the time.

Edit - If I remember correctly there was a Skuger add into Strava that let you ride segments or previous rides in Kinomap. I think that was the first technology based indoor riding I did, previous to that was sufferfest videos.

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Other than riding around the neighborhood bmx track and to the local comic book store as a kid, I didn’t really start cycling until 2013. Bought a cheap road bike, did a 30 mile charity ride and was hooked. 2014 did my first gravel race (Barry Roubaix) on my old Specialized Hardrock from 1998, came in dead last in my age group. A year later upgraded to a proper road bike and in the winter went to spin class.

My wife had to go on a business trip for a week and I couldn’t go to spin class (young kids at home) so I convinced her that I needed a trainer. Got a Cyclops Fluid 2 off amazon and rode in the basement while reading books, it came with a “race day” video that was a POV of a guy doing a crit race, I watched it a total of one time. I used that trainer off an on for a few years, but hardly at all.

As the years go by I got more and more serious about cycling, going to the local group rides, long rides on the weekends, etc. I got more into mountain biking while living in Utah and realized how much of a climber I am not, but started to learn to love the long grind up the mountain side. I started to see some of my friends on strava posting Zwift rides, I thought it looked strange but was curious.

2018 we moved back to Michigan, no more mountains to climb :unamused: and not nearly as much sun shine. That winter I decided to look more into Zwift so I didn’t need to join a fitness center, what did I need to use my current trainer, did some research and pulled the trigger. I was hooked almost immediately. I had never trained with power so that was eye opening. I used that dumb trainer for a full year while I saved up to buy a smart trainer.

3 and a half years later and I’m still riding at least 3 times a week on Zwift and it has certainly helped my fitness and preparedness for races. In 2019 I got my first podium in a local gravel race, 3rd place in my age group and in 2021 came in 1st in my age group at the Barry Roubaix, where a few years earlier I was DFL. It has been a fun journey, and it ain’t over yet!

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Got a road bike in 2007, rollers shortly after. My technology suite included a bike computer (HR only - power was expensive and I was broke) and TdF videos - there wasn’t much else back then. I usually couldn’t go more than 45 minutes without getting fed up with it, and I think my longest indoor ride was 90 minutes.

Got a power meter crank for Christmas in 2020 and realized I could finally try out that Zwift thing. Even on rollers, it was great. That led to a direct drive trainer, incline simulator, 6+ hour Zwift rides, rarely riding outdoors anymore, and… grumbling about UI elements on the Zwift forums :joy:.

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i don’t like feeling cold. i don’t particularly like cycling either, but it’s what i do for sport nowadays. i like anaerobic efforts and zwift is good for training those. i also want to live for as long as possible

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I started riding as a kid in the 60s as a mode of transportation. I am from an era where parents did not drive their kids everywhere. Rode my bike everywhere until I could drive. Gave it up for years until the late 80’s as my weight had gone up and running caused shin splints, etc… Did some duathlons in the early 90s and realized that I suck at racing…no lung capacity and very low VO2max (asthmatic). Picked up a magnetic trainer with the lever along the way…switched to Fluid when they came out. Tried the Blackburn centrifugal/bearing/spring POS…Rather ride outside, particularly when we moved to the country outside Austin. Did spin classes for a few years. Over the years my country living has become city living due to growth. Picked up a Kickr Snap when it came out…Cool! I think I did Zwift then for a couple of years and mixed it up with outdoor. Eventually quit Zwift and went BKool, Rouvy, Fulgaz for awhile. Traffic too much so fully indoor riding about 3-4 years ago. Switched back to Zwift about 2 years ago and relatively happy with it but occasionally bored. Sucks that Strava killed all the segments. The Snap became an H3 about 2 years ago. Ok trainer. I think new ones coming out in the fall so if the H3 burns up…which is possible…time to upgrade.

Sorry so long…long life…

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I took up running because I didn’t want to be unfit when we started a family. Ran for fitness for several years before developing shin splints. Around the time there was a charity endurance event coming up at work that included a day of mountain biking so I got the rusty old bike out (a good six or seven years after it had been last used) and starting getting some saddle time in so I wouldn’t be in agony during the event. This was all road riding.

After the charity event I carried on riding and decided that I preferred it to running as a form of fitness (and it didn’t wreck my bones), so I bought a road bike as it was obviously far more suitable and lighter etc.

I’d been reading DCR’s blog for while - I think because I bought a Garmin Forerunner and was really impressed by his reviews - and one Mr Miller was mentioned in some way. I don’t quite recall the exact path I took but between these two sources I became aware of Zwift and realised it would allow me to ride later in the evenings and when the weather was crap etc. I found out a ‘proper’ cyclist on the charity event was already on Zwift too, and we talked about it. I joined in June 2018 and have had a subscription ever since. Smart trainer from day one.

When I was running I had a treadmill in the garage, so I used to use a tablet for music and videos. Even though that was fairly tedious, I’m someone who’s never really experienced the whole ‘stare at the garage wall’ thing, which I suppose is fortunate for me. However it also means I’ve never particularly had the sort of goodwill for Zwift the company/entity that I believe they have often relied upon. It was and is a service that I simply joined and I don’t know of any worse, which probably explains why I moan so much. For example I wouldn’t hold back moaning at a service like Netflix just because TV used to be in black and white - my expectations are because the service was already there in its entirety when I came along and started paying to use it.

Which is suppose is unfortunate for them. :rofl:

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When I was a teenager with the old wheel on dumb trainers, my coach gave me winter workouts and I just have to suffer through them. As an adult living in Phoenix, AZ I got my first smart trainer and rode Zwift during the 120 degree summers so I had enough fitness to do a riding vacation with my wife in the alps. Now I’m back to racing and even just got second at the Wahoo/Zwift live race before the real fun began before the infamous Athens Twilight criterium. Funny enough L39gion of LA refused to do the live Zwift race, even though they have Zwift paying for prime placement on their jerseys.


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I live in the Netherlands at the Belgian border. In my rural street, the cyclists keep passing by. Alone or In groups of up to dozens of people, especially in the weekends. So, watching Zwift feels pretty much like home :blush:

Cycling has always been a main means of transportation and not so much a sport, except in the winter when I use a very old hometrainer that cannot be connected to Zwift. I never really enjoyed using it and as a result have been much less active in the cold months.

I have been a runner for most of my life, and last month finally decided to purchase a treadmill, so I can keep running all year. That got me into Zwift and I’m really enjoying it.

Now I’m planning to buy a racing bike and smart trainer next year so I will be able to zwitch between riding and running. Can’t wait for that.

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I’ve “always” been a cyclist. Played out on my bike almost every day as a kid, from the age of around 4 onwards. Cycled to school. Cycled to my paper round. As a teenager in 6th form I took the cycling option for games. We’d go out and ride in the local countryside. Cycled to work. Cycled for fun. Cycled to the shops.

Even did a few time trials.

In the early 90s I had an “exercise bike”. One of those really rubbish things with a simple flywheel and a tensioning strap. No gears, plastic pedals.

It was terrible, and I seldom used it.

Fast forward to 2004 and I bought a Concept 2 rowing machine. It was great. I used it a lot, and I still have it.

But I have always been a cyclist, so a few years later, 2006 or so, I bought a wheel-on tension-based trainer. Lever on the handlebars to alter the resistance.

Turned out riding indoors was terrible. Boooooring. I bought some Sufferfest videos. They didn’t make it much better.

Fast forward to 2014 and I hear of Zwift. It’s a game! I’m a gamer! It’s about cycling! I’m a cyclist!

This is my thing!

Eventually, bought a Tacx Vortex in Sept 2015 and dived in. \o/

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