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Winner takes all award: Indoor cycling

Do you even Zwift, bro?

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Do you Zwift?

By that, of course, we mean to ask, do you ride indoors while using a program that provides a virtual environment? There are plenty of options here, but Zwift has become the virtual riding platform that’s metonymic with indoor riding. (Yes, it’s okay to go to the dictionary on that one.)

So dominant is Zwift’s presence in the space that it may not even have any direct competitors. There are other virtual riding platforms — Rouvy, TrainerRoad, Sufferfest, FulGaz, and Bkool, to name a few — but none of them combine all the elements that make Zwift so successful.

Zwift’s dominance comes down to a combination of course variety, racing capabilities, and other bits and bobs, but most importantly, Zwift effectively incorporates an element of socialization to an otherwise solitary activity.

While watching your avatar zip around other riders is more engaging than staring at the washing machine, being able to chat with them and even engage in team tactics with them is far more valuable and engaging.

In this sense, Zwift nails virtual riding by making it an exercise in commiseration that turns into a realization that — gasp! — this isn’t miserable at all. It’s fun, and we’re all in it together.