Zwift execs Eric Min, Mike McCarthy, and Charlie Issendorf grew up bike racing in Central Park, and their love and nostalgia inspired the development of Zwift’s New York City course which launched tonight.

The Now and Not Yet

Zwift’s NYC is not the NYC of today, although it will look familiar to locals.

Set 100 years in the future and 260 years after the “birth” of Central Park (designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1858), the course contains many futuristic elements including elevated transparent roadways, flying cars, and sleek sci-fi buildings in the skyline. Visually, this is absolutely Zwift’s most audacious course launch to date. So it should come as no surprise that Zwift’s artists have been working on this course for over a year. Somehow the art team has managed to walk the fine line between creating a Central Park that is futuristic and fresh while maintaining the present-day elements necessary to keep it feeling like Central Park.

In a press release from Zwift Jon Mayfield said:

“Our creative approach to building New York has been inspired by some of the video games we were playing back in the 90’s. It’s helped us deliver a more challenging, and significantly, a more entertaining environment that I know Zwifters will love.”

Key present-day buildings are visible including The Guggenheim, The Met, and the El Dorado Hotel. We’ve also got the Marriot Essex House (renamed “Ezzex House”), well-known park landmarks, and of course the well-known park paths including the Shuman Running Track (for runners only!) and Outer Park Drive loop. Here are some screenshots for you:

Upcoming Events

Many events are scheduled in-game to celebrate the launch of NYC. It will be the default course for a week (October 19-25) then again October 28-30th. Launch event details are a little sparse at this time, but we do know:

  • Eric Min’s Big Apple Ride and Big Apple Run in NYC will be held in the next few days, allowing Zwifters to join and ride or run with Zwift’s CEO.
  • A 5-stage Tour of NY will begin Oct 23, running through the beginning of November. Finish all five stages to unlock the exclusive in-game kit.
  • Zwift staff will be leading runs all week so you can ask any of your burning NYC questions.

About the New Roads

All of New York’s roads basically fall into two categories: flat or rolling terrain on the ground and twisty, pitchy (16%!) stuff above ground on the suspended glass roads. There is are sprint points in both directions on the perimeter road in Central Park, while the KOM is on the suspended glass roads above Manhattan. This new course offers lots of fun options for race organizers, and plenty of pain for racers brave enough to hit the glass pitches.

Speaking of races and group events, New York is the first world to feature two starting pens: one for runners (in the Reservoir) and another on the main park loop.

The course features 13 routes: 10 for riding and running and 3 for runners only. Zwift Insider verified segments are being created and linked below, along with detailed writeups for each route.

Ride/Run Routes

  • ASTORIA LINE 8 – 11.5km // 142m
    Named for the first NYC subway line, take a figure 8 path around the park
  • EVERYTHING BAGEL – 34.3km // 545m
    Hit the Sprint and KOM in both directions on this long, looping route
  • GRAND CENTRAL CIRCUIT – 6.8km // 144m
    Circuit course that takes the steep route up and down the KOM with a short loop around the Sprint in between
  • KNICKERBOCKER – 22.4km // 365m
    This mostly flat route has some grit in it with one trip up the KOM via the steep route
  • LADY LIBERTY – 12.3km // 206m
    A steep climb up to the KOM before a long lap around the park
  • LAGUARDIA LOOP – 2.7km // 27m
    Quick and fast lap for special events only. Named for famed NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
  • MIGHTY METROPOLITAN – 20.0km // 318m
    Traverse most of the park and elevated roads in a meandering loop
  • PARK PERIMETER LOOP – 9.7km // 126m
    The outermost loop of the park
  • RISING EMPIRE – 20.7km // 376m
    Hit the KOM in both directions on this climbers course
  • THE 6 TRAIN – 6.5km // 69m
    The shortest route around the park is flat and fast
  • THE HIGHLINE – 10.5km // 179m
    Ride the elevated roads in the skies above Central Park

Run Routes

  • FLAT IRONS – 14.8km // 146m
    Run two laps of the Shuman Trail with a long lap of the park in between. Flat Irons is named for the downtown Flatiron district
  • HUDSON ROLL – 9.0 km // 80m
    Take a lap of the reservoir before braving the inner loop on the park roads
  • SHUMAN TRAIL LOOP – 2.5km // 9m
    Runners Only! Explore the sanctuary around the reservoir on this sneaker friendly path. You won’t find cyclists on this section

See you all in New York!

Want to ride New York on an “off schedule” day? Use the world hack: NYC is world 4!