Posted in Cycle

What is virtual training?

Turbo training can be a monotonous activity; hours of spinning away on a stationary bike can leave you wishing for something to keep you interested and engaged. Interest and engagement certainly isn’t a problem when you’re flying down a scenic road; so, why not bring the road to you?

That’s the idea of Virtual Training - you can train in the comfort of your own home, whilst watching film footage of the road which you are attacking in your training session. Your trainer and your TV/Laptop are linked, so all you need to do is train hard and watch the virtual miles fly by.

What do you need for virtual training?

Turbo Trainer: The most important thing is clearly a good quality Virtual Reality (VR) capable trainer. CycleOps do a great range of VR compatible trainers. At the top of the range are the PowerSync and PowerBeam models, which allow you to pre-programme custom workouts and control the resistance of your unit from your VR programme. Other trainers can also be used for VR programmes, but you will have to manually adjust the resistance throughout the workout, to reflect the “terrain” that the programme is showing.

A CycleOps Fluide 2 VR compatible with bike attached

Virtual Training App: The Virtual Training App from CycleOps is one of the most comprehensive on the market. You simply download it from an Apple, Android or PC device. If your device has suitable connectivity or you have wireless dongles, you can then sync the sensors on your bike with the App via Bluetooth or ANT+.

Desktop: The desktop version offers streaming video and auto-sync training data—plus the ability to create and share your own virtual routes.

Mobile: When you use the mobile app on your mobile device you can ride streaming routes while using a phone mount on your handlebars. This app can help you track your speed and power by pairing to your favorite Power Meter, then saving your data to the community for reporting and analysis later on.

Tablet: No need to download huge videos—all VirtualTraining routes are streamed online. While you ride, your training data is automatically synced within the app so you can compete “live” against other riders and previous best times.

A Tablet showing a Virtual Training route

How does virtual training work?

Speed based: Many CycleOps magnetic, fluid or air resistance trainers can be used with VR technology through speed and cadence sensors (with either ANT+ or Bluetooth connectivity). Once you’ve synced the sensor with your computer, tablet or phone (a USB dongle may be required), then your speed on the trainer will be reflected in the CycleOps VR App as you train. The faster you turn your wheel, the faster you’ll climb that virtual mountain.

Power based: Many CycleOps trainers can also be used with VR technology through Power sensor readings. Either a PowerTap or other ANT+ (or Bluetooth) equipped power meter can transmit readings to the CycleOps App, and these can be reflected in your training programme.

Controlled resistance units: If you use a PowerBeam Pro or PowerSync trainer, then you can control the resistance of the trainer using the VR programme. These trainers tie in perfectly with the Virtual Training technology, and allow a two-way communication between the trainer and the programme.

A Virtual Training aerial route screenshot

What more do you need to get started?

You’ve got all the information, so there really is no excuse not to have a fun and productive indoor training session now. Check the compatibility between CycleOps VR trainers and sensors here and get yourself all the right kit to have a productive winter of virtual riding - have a look at this fantastic turbo training video made in association with CycleOps to get started!