Miss out on a place in RideLondon this weekend? Well now you can take part: virtually.
Zwift, the popular online 3D virtual world and training app, which provides a highly realistic riding experience, without leaving the comfort of your house, has today unveiled a virtual Prudential RideLondon course, featuring roads from London and Surrey and such highlights as Box Hill.
It hasn’t reproduced the full 100-mile route that the actual RideLondon takes, but instead is offering two shorter routes. There’s a 9.2-mile (14.8km) option that condenses key parts of the RideLondon route and connects the urban streets of London to the leafy lanes of Surrey.
Then there is a complete reproduction of the Prudential RideLondon Classique 4.3-mile (5.5km) used for the women’s criterium race. It’s a central London circuit that starts on The Mall in St James’s Park and goes up Constitution Hill, past Big Ben, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Admiralty Arch and back on to The Mall.
The London addition to Zwift is available from today, and to mark the occasion, there are a number of planned rides. We’ve listed them below for you:
Prudential RideLondon Classique Group Ride
Saturday, July 30
9am PDT (California) / 12pm EDT (New York) / 5pm BST (London)
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 Group Ride
Sunday, July 31
8am AEST (Australia) / 8am BST (London)
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 Group Ride
Sunday, July 31
8pm AEST (Australia) and 7pm BST (London)
“UK cycling is going from strength to strength, so it’s fantastic to invite the world’s cyclists to our Prudential RideLondon course to feel part of this scene,” says Eric Min, Zwift co-founder and CEO. “85% of our community are from outside of the UK and I’m looking forward to riding together with them up Box Hill. As a longtime Londoner, I’ve ridden out to Box Hill on many occasions. My time up that climb is about to get some serious competition!”
“Prudential RideLondon is the world’s greatest cycling festival and showcases one of the great cycling cities and one of the most beautiful English counties,” says Prudential Ride London Event Director Hugh Brasher. “These new Zwift courses will give cyclists of all abilities from all around the world the chance to experience this incredible event every day.”
What is Zwift?
It's an online computer game/training tool, with your bike hooked up to Zwift via a smart trainer. You put your bike on a compatible turbo trainer and link it via ANT+ to your computer, and it can use speed/cadence or power, depending on the model of your turbo. Thrash away at the pedals and your avatar on the screen will start pedalling and vital stats like your speed, distance and altitude are displayed onscreen.
It's very realistic, it's as close to riding outside as you can get while riding on the spot in your garage or living room. You can ride on your own or join a group, with dozens of other cyclists spinning around the same course you're constantly overtaking others and being overtaken. There's a leaderboard showing your position and there are timed sections and climbs.
Head to zwift.com for more info and to find out how to get online.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.