As Zwifters in the northern hemisphere head outdoors to enjoy sunlight, flesh-and-blood riding buddies, and requisite café stops, we want to provide some IRL tips and tricks to boost your IRL performance. Ready? Let’s dive in!
While falling over at the stop sign in a rite of passage for every roadie, it’s not something any of us wants to do. Especially with automobile drivers watching.
You’ve grown used to your bike being held upright (they don’t call it a “trainer for nothing, right?) – but it will fall over if you stop moving in meatspace.
Unclip one foot as you come to a stop. Place that foot on the ground. Leave the trackstands to the pros.
#2: You Have Brakes. Use Them.
Did you know your bike has brakes? Yes, those levers on the handlebars aren’t just for shifting. Pull them inward and your bike will slow down or even stop. It’s like an IRL “hit the ‘A’ key’ hack!
You may have grown accustomed to the idea of flying around hairpin turns at 70kph, but in the real world that’s a bad idea.
#3: Bring Supplies
Depending on where you ride in the vast expanse of the great outdoors (just how big is this map, anyway), supplies may be hard to come by. You can’t simply climb off the trainer and head to the kitchen for a bite to eat or a bidon refill.
Plan your ride, consider your fueling, and carry what you need. Including a spare tube, perhaps! Speaking of tubes…
#4: Air Up
Your front tire slowly dropping to 30psi since October didn’t affect bike handling in Zwift (you can still fly around hairpin turns at 70kph!), but take that floppy rubber out on the road and you’ll get a pinch flat or even crash.
Time to find your pump and give it a go. Bonus: it’s an arm workout! Pace yourself – you’re a cyclist.
#5: Don’t Be An Exhibitionist
Wear a jersey, you disgusting animal! There are children about.
#6: Be Friendly
If you don’t wave or return a Ride On in Zwift, nobody really notices. But if you don’t return a wave in meatspace, you’re just a tool. Don’t be that cyclist. Be friendly! You’re representing all of us.
#7: Grab the KOM
Taking the KOM on Zwift Strava segments is a forgotten dream for all but the very strongest among us – and even those gifted beasts have to contend with zPower flyers and “keep together Meetup” silliness.
But take heart! As you head outdoors, some of those KOMs may actually be attainable. Chase one. Just mind the wind direction. Which leads us to…
#8: Mind the Wind
The only breezes on Zwift are those from your fan, but outside real breezes are blowing. Don’t let a killer headwind destroy your Strava KOM attempt, and be careful that gusts don’t blow you sideways while descending on those deep-dished racing wheels.
#9: Weight Doper? Not out here.
If you’ve been Zwifting with a falsely-low weight, you’re in for a rude awakening. That 10kg you advantageously “lost” over the winter has returned with a vengeance!
It would have slowed your Alpe du Zwift climb by 7.5 minutes, and you’ll find the outdoor effect to be very similar. Yep. It’s about to get real.
#10: Height Doper?
See above. There’s no hiding outside, so you’d better work on that aero position. Tuck the head. Slam that stem!
What About You?
Got more tips for Zwifters turned IRL riders? Share them below!