Indoor Cycling. Photo by Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror

Zwift or Swift?

Is indoor cycling worth the hype?

Before I get too far into this, let’s remember that I don’t care what you ride, how you ride, or where you ride. If you’re pedalling on two wheels, or one wheel for that matter, and it makes you smile, then we’re all the same.

Riding a bike is amazing and as you may have read last week, I like riding in any and all conditions.

Being on the West Coast, we’re lucky to have year round riding (almost). Where many cyclists around the world are forced indoors for months during the winter, we’re usually able to ride for 11 plus months a year.

I have ridden on an indoor trainer for years and the first couple of years I did it, I hated it, but forced myself to endure the boredom in the hopes of better fitness.

Now is the point where I tell you how I eventually learned to love it and not only did I gain fitness, but pedalled more than ever and improved my life because of it. NOPE, NOT THE CASE AT ALL!

I grew to hate it more and more and despite the extra fitness, it just made me wonder why I wasn’t outside riding my bike more. I wasn’t snowed in, I wasn’t short on rain gear, or insulating layers, and I don’t have arthritis that is affected by cold or wet weather. I’m perfectly capable of riding outside.

Then Zwift, Peleton, and a plethora of other programs came along and turned indoor training rides into a social event. With multiple riders interacting, true resistance on climbs, and all sorts of computer graphics to enhance your ride, this turned your hot, sweaty, and boring trainer rides into really fun outings on your bike. (Or would that be innings???) Amazing right?

Meh …

I tried it, and yes, I hated it less than the old trainer rides, but I quickly learned chasing a graphic designed version of my buddies on a screen, or riding through the Swiss alps on video, doesn’t feel the same as riding my bike.

I was doing a virtual workout and counting the seconds until it ended, where when I ride my bike in nature (which, by the way, surrounds us and is free) I never want it to end.

I like wind, rain, snow, sun, heat, cold, real hill climbs, and fast descents.

I enjoy the risk of falling off, and the confidence I gain when I don’t. Chasing a friend feels way better when I’m hanging out with friends, and post ride socials are way more fun when they’re not virtual, or solo.

Two weeks back, five buddies and I hung out in my cold garage and BS’d about our amazing, snowy, night ride. And despite us all being cold and wet, we were smiling bigger than I ever have after a trainer ride in my basement.

Again, to each his own, do what makes you smile, I’m not here to judge, but me? I’m choosing Swift over Zwift every chance I get and I’ll endure the wind, rain, and what ever else Mother Nature sends my way, because a huge part of riding for me, is moving, flowing, and enjoying nature.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’

Sports

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