My first Rouvy ride … 😃

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am evaluating different indoor training apps. I’m down to two – FulGaz and Rouvy. I have already dismissed Swift, Sufferfest , TrainerRoad, and a host of others because my primary selection criteria is to make training indoors like cycling outdoors with real video footage of epic rides.

Today I had my first Rouvy ride, and must admit, I was pleasantly surprised.

First, it was quick and easy to download, install, and setup the app. It immediately recognized, and connected all of my sensors – Wahoo KickR Core and Heart Rate Strap – and the user interface is friendly, intuitive, and feature rich. I had all of the numbers I would ever need – speed, power, cadence, grade – and the ride profile showed where I, and other riders, were positioned on the ride. The app introduces augmented reality, graphic avatars superimposed on top of the high quality video of the ride. I didn’t think I would like this feature, but as it turned out, it more than anything made the ride real. There were other cyclists on the road. Other cyclists to chase down, and race, just as I would do on the road.

I have a lot of other features to check out, but I give Rouvy a 👍 for this first ride.

If you have experience with the app, I’d like to hear from you.

This is how I do it … 🤷‍♂️

This is how I do it.

This is how I make decisions. I talk with as many knowledgeable, experienced people as possible, and I watch a lot of YouTube videos 😂

The above video did it for me.

There is no doubt in my mind that Swift is not for me. Putting Swift up beside FulGaz tells the tale. Kudos to DC Rainmaker 👍 It’s a brilliant idea to match the apps this way. It answered all of my questions.

Swift is not realistic at all. Not the scenes, and certainly not the cyclists. On the other hand, FulGaz is the real thing in every way.

My single most important criteria in selecting a smart trainer app, is to bring my rides inside. I want them to look and feel like what I experience on the road.

This morning, I rode one of my favourite local rides on FulGaz. I know this ride well. It is an iconic Vancouver road ride that I have trained on for 30 years.

Yikes. I hate to admit it has been that long ☹️

FulGaz did it right. The effort, and speed were bang on. And the video reminded me of my early morning summer rides!

If the rest of FulGaz’s rides are similar, I’m won’t be disappointed training with it.

My indoor setup … 🚴🏻

I have setup a “pain cave” as an indoor cycling studio.

I don’t like riding in the cold or wet weather. And, I don’t want to return to the gym anytime soon. As long as it was sunny and dry, I welcomed riding outside, and training in the local parks. Now that the weather is changing, and we are experiencing an uptick in Covid cases, I’m happy to stay home.

But I need more equipment. I have some dumb bells, an exercise ball, and a mat. This is enough for strength training. But what about indoor cycling?

I decided to purchase a smart trainer. You know, one of those direct drive ones where you remove the back wheel, and connect your drive train directly. I have an extra carbon road bike I can dedicate to the cause, and space in my den – a converted walk-in closet – to set it up.

Which trainer?

There are so many to choose from. I began asking around, and calling the local shops. In the end, I chose the Wahoo KICKR CORE. I’m a big Wahoo fan 😃 It gets excellent reviews for reliability, features, and noise. And, it was available locally for a good price. I had it setup in a day.

Now, what software to run on this smart baby?

Until I started researching, I didn’t realize there are so many apps to choose from.

I was familiar with Swift. Everyone seems to be using it. But I don’t like the virtual reality aspect. It’s not real enough. It’s like a video game. And, I never liked video games 😂 I know the social features are popular, but that’s not the type of cycling I enjoy.

That’s where I had to start. What kind of cyclist am I, and what do I expect from an indoor trainer?

I’m not a racer. I enjoy century events and Gran Fondos, but I do them for the experience, never expecting to win, or even compete, except maybe with myself. I prefer solo rides to group rides, and I like to train with structure. Despite my age, I still think I can improve, become more efficient, and get stronger. I want my indoor experience to be like my outdoor road rides.

This helps.

Given that, Swift is out. Sufferfest is more for racers. The videos actually put you in races. That’s not for me. TrainerRoad gives you all the stats you need, but is visually uninteresting.

I want a more realistic experience.

Two apps come strongly recommended. FulGaz and Rouvy. Over the next 1-2 weeks I’m planning to test them out – they both come with a 14 day free trial – and select one for the winter.

Stay tuned 😂

PS – If you have experience with either, let me know your thoughts.

Christmas gift ideas …

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I have read several posts recently with gift suggestions for cyclists. They have been interesting, even helpful, but I do something a little different.

I love getting cycling stuff for Christmas. Unfortunately, most of my family have no idea what I may need, or like. And, I don’t want them spending a lot of money. Cycling stuff is expensive, if you haven’t figured that out already.

I have some preferences. The Louis Garneau apparel fits me really well, better than other brands, and it’s a Canadian company. Eh!  And ProBikeKit (a candy store for roadies) sells all of the consumables I need – chains, cassettes, brake pads, tires, wheels, cranks … Every year, at the start of December, both of these retailers have an on-line sale. A real sale. Selected items are discounted 50-60%. Really! Some may be last year’s stock, but who cares. So, I go shopping, and purchase items I need (or want).

This year, I bought a pair of bibs that match the Team Europcar jersey I purchased last year at this time, an Ultegra 6700 chain and cassette for the Roberts, Vittoria 28mm training tires for my winter wheels, neoprene booties, another road helmet (I try to turn them over every few years as recommended), and waterproof gloves. Then I put these items in a big plastic bag, unopened of course,  and tell my family if they (or Santa)  needs a present for me, all they have to do is rummage through the bag in my cupboard. I never look in the bag again until after Christmas, so I still have a modicum of surprise. If there are items left, I gift them to myself for the New Year.

I get what I need, still have surprises, and save everyone money. In case you are worried, I do get other presents.

Happy shopping 🙂

 

New fenders …

It’s that time of year again. The rainy season. It is clear and cold right now, but that won’t last for long.

My commuter has a set of full length fenders, and I don’t mind riding her (Thatch) in the rain. As I have said many times, I enjoy it and view it as more of an adventure than anything else. The key is to stay dry and warm. Once I figured that out, my life changed. I generally don’t ride the road bikes, particularly the Garneau (Lou), in the rain. But I do go out when the roads are still wet after a rainfall, usually taking the Roberts (Chas). When the roads are dry, all of the bikes get a turn, but I digress.

I need fenders for the weekend club rides. When you are tight on someones’ wheel, you don’t want to wear wheel splatter on your face. And, you don’t want the dirt and wet to spray up your back. Do you?

I wanted a pair of fenders that were easy to install without bolts and wrenches that I could, when necessary, quickly switch between the Roberts and the Garneau, between Chas and Lou. I came across the SpeedEZ Road fenders from Planet Bike in my local bike shop. They mount on any bike with 700C tires up to 25 mm in just minutes. No bolts. No wrenches. Just a little patience. More than I had initially 🙂

I have them on the Roberts right now. It took a ride or two to get them properly centred over the tires without rubbing. There is a trick. There always is a trick. But once I understood symmetry, and put my glasses on, it was easy 🙂