During the winter lockdown, a number of club members have been relying on indoor turbo trainers to keep cycle-fit and (relatively) sane. Using the Zwift app (which involves a £12.99 monthly subscription) we have been organising regular virtual rides with other club members, and we have found a way to enable chatting whilst riding. If anyone would like to learn more about this, or to join the WSCC Zwift WhatsApp group, let me know.
There are several alternatives to the Zwift app, one of which is RGT. As a newer service, RGT has made a special promotional offer to cycle clubs and groups during the lockdown whereby they offer one or two free subscription services per club, and I am the holder of this subscription (normal price currently £6.99 per month) on behalf of WSCC. (I must thank Debbie Richards for drawing this to our attention a few weeks back).
To participate on a Zwift ride, everyone has to be a current paid-up subscriber, but with RGT it is different. It’s possible to sign up to RGT as a non-premium member free of charge – you have to download one app for your phone and another for your iPad/computer/TV screen, and RGT works only on a turbo trainer that has a power sensor (e.g. so-called “smart” trainers such as the Wahoo Core or Kickr). Non-premium members can access only a limited range of routes and features, but importantly they can participate in any group ride or event that is initiated by a premium subscriber. So it takes just one RGT premium subscriber to unlock benefits for all.
This means I can use the club RGT subscription to create group ride events and invite anyone with a free non-premium RGT subscription to join. We have recently done group RGT virtual rides to Formentor, the Stelvio pass (!) and Piensa, and I plan to continue to create and advertise these to those on the WhatsApp group. (They also do a complete simulation of the Ventoux climb, if you’re interested!) It all works fairly well, and there are some aspects (notably the graphics and some of the on-screen info) that are superior to Zwift, though we have not yet found a way to replicate the ride-together feature that works so well on Zwift. (RGT does however allow us to include robots on the ride who can be set to ride at preset power output, so everyone can have an imaginary friend or two to ride with).
I’ve just discovered that I can set up a group ride without having to participate myself. This means that I can easily set up an RGT ride for any club member who has installed the free apps – I just need a day or so notice to do this. Details of routes etc can be found on RGT’s web site
This option has already been communicated to all the regular Zwifters on the WSCC WhatsApp group, but if anyone else is curious and would like to give it a try, feel free to ask. As usual, there are many helpful club members who can lend a hand to get you started if you have any questions or concerns on getting the tech to work. Whilst many of us are looking forward to packing the turbo trainer away when the weather improves, this really is a good, and sociable, option in the late winter/early spring period, and perhaps beyond.