Outdoor Riding and Zwift

I live in Australia and during the summer it is way to hot to ride in my shed using Zwift. I much prefer to ride outdoors when the weather is fine.
Is there a way where the Zwift app on my smartphone could be utilised to record my outdorr rides which are then recorded/uploaded within Zwift.
I am asking this as it would enable me to keep obtaining XP points and other items within Zwift.
A recent experience in November 2019 I did not participate in was the Zwift cancer fund raiser. I would have loved to participate but as I have mentioned it is way to hot in the shed. If my outdoor rides could have been recorded within Zwift then I could have participated in this event.
Just wondering what Zwift and others feel about this.

Not possible. XP are only for rides in Zwift; after all, they want to encourage you to use their platform, not reward you for doing something else.

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Zwift will smash your phone battery in no time but assuming you can pair with a speed and/or power sensor, there is no reason that you couldn’t ride IRL with you phone and zwift in your back pocket to earn drops. If you try this please do NOT ride to zwift while on public (or private) roads/paths.

Think was pre-drops but I went on a riding vacation to the alps with my wife and my mates wanted me to Zwift up Alpe d’Huez while I was riding Alpe d’Zwift. I didn’t because of the battery and data it required.

It is a good point that you COULD ride outside while running Zwift on your phone, effectively doing a Zwift ride and IRL ride simultaneously. This wouldn’t be the same as uploading your outdoor ride to Zwift, but would allow you to earn XP while riding outside. Depending on how long the phone battery lasts, that is.

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I actually did this yesterday… It was only for a 22 minute ride and I knew it would be flat, so I chose a flat course on Zwift… The next question is to figure out which manual trainer setting would closest approximate my Irl data… It was a faster ride according to Zwift by about 15% (because I did have some hilliness IRL which was translated to greater effort on a flat Zwift course)… The avg wattage was actually pretty close on a very easy pace (115 on IRL and 110 with Zwift using Mag trainer setting)…:The big difference, and I don’t really care about it, is with calories burned… Zwift had me at 120 while IRL had me at 160… Must be because of the hills, but I was wearing a heart rate monitor, so I figured it should be closer. Also, the mileage was considerably different with swift showing just over 5 miles versus the accurate GPS-based IRL of 4.5 miles… In all, more successful than I figured… Got my drops and virtual miles. I could see doing this with a battery pack attached to the phone for a longer ride.


Hi Jack,
Thanks for the information and good to see you got it to work.
Just wondering though how did you set it up. Did you carry a laptop with you in a back pack so that you could select the ride and type of trainer?

What I would like to see Zwift do is provide a function for outdoor riding directly in the smartphone app.
Then the smartphone with it’s GPS can then record the route data and distance traveled. The mobile network connection allows this data to be uploaded into zwift, hence counting towards the XP points.

For me, I dont care so much about altitude, wattage, heart rate as I have a Garmin unit that does all of this for me.

All iPhone… Upon opening Zwift, just chose Speed Sensor option and hooked up to my Wahoo sensors (cadence, HR, and speed)…which allowed me to then choose a manual trainer option. I have an unlimited data plan, so was not concerned with that… did a 2nd ride of about 50 minutes yesterday and worked well… Though I had an external charger pack attached to the phone, battery life on phone really was not an issue with screen brightness turned down… just put phone and charger in my little saddle bag and off I went… I’m pretty sure Zwift won’t add the things you mentioned though… after all, they are in the indoor trainer business as well and obviously you are not going to do the social side of the app while riding IRL… so they are probably like… just use Strava or something!

I guess the only other thing I’d say is that my experience after the two rides is that it overestimates distance (12.2 IRL and about 14.7 on Zwift yesterday… again, probably in part because my IRL ride had greater elevation (450 feet vs 215 feet) and the usual IRL slow downs where you probably keep coasting on Zwift for a while… but in the end, a successful job of getting “Zwift” miles for an IRL ride. I’m guessing if I choose Zwift rides that mirror my actual IRL rides for elevation and pick IRL rides without so much slowing or stopping, they would be closer in the final data.

This must be done with zPower? So Zwift thinks you are on an old dumb trainer that does not transmit power data. Zwift just uses your speed sensor and the power curve they have developed for whatever trainer you selected then.

I dont know if you will ever get accurate results in game that match outdoor rides. Naturally you will get more in game miles. Selecting a course with similar elevation will help a lot. Other factors just cannot be accounted for. Here is a good read…

I have done a lot of Zwift runs this way and it works fine. Battery consumption is not bad either on an iPhone Xs for me.

Regarding data, I turn data off during the run but for the run to be recorded you have to start and save the activity while connected. So, I start normal and then pull down the phone menu and turn flight mode on. The only tricky thing is that if you forget to turn flight mode back off before you save the activity it will be lost.

Hi Jack, I’m still bamboozled. Are you referring to the Zwift app?
For the life of me I cannot find a setting for speed sensor option in the Zwift App?

Hope you figured it out Robert, but today you can basically log your miles in zwift with the following:

  • Phone with a data plan and zwift installed
  • Power meter on your bike that can connect to your phone via bluetooth (mine are Garmin Vector pedal power meters)

Just open zwift before you ride, make sure your power meter is registering in Zwift, start a ride in the app, and start riding in real life! No need for a laptop at all.

If you want to see a video of me doing so: youtube (dot) com