Zwift on Hotel Bikes - character recognition of power

I travel with business and would love to be able to keep my structured training plan going. Many Hotel bikes are rubbish, but most have a watts display (yes it is probably very inaccurate, but it is something).

I had the idea of having my iphone/Ipad on a holder and using the camera to read the watts display and Zwift using this.

Its not a mainstream Zwift thing, but I have seen apps that do this with some simple character recognition, you just have to tell them where the key text is. It would be one way of interfacing with most of these hotel bikes (I could see it working on treadmills as well).

Then all I would need is my phone and a phone holder to use zwift on these bikes.

Some have said that they travel with power meter pedals – PowerTap, Garmin, Favero – and put those on the bike when they’re working out in the hotel workout room.

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Power meter pedals are the best way to go, esp. for specific training.

If you just want to use Zwift, ride for fitness or fun, and are not going for races or sprints, the PowerCal is a heart rate power meter. It is on the lower side of real power. It’s only about 50.00 US for Bluetooth model. It is actually challenging when you need to keep your heart rate up. I have one. It is also a great back-up in case a power meter battery suddenly fails.

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I have replaced hotel pedals with power pedals with some success.  The challenges that I’ve found are:

  • You need a tool to remove them and one to put the power pedals on, which means you have to check luggage

  • I have had more than one instance where the hotel pedals were so “frozen” on the bike, that there was no way I could get them off

  • best luck has been to change out pedals on a traditional spin bikes in a more traditional gym… but, they aren’t always happy about someone doing so

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