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Riding Alone Together

Alone together. If one phrase could sum up the past year, that might be it. The idea applies to cycling, too. While big races, group rides, and destination cycling might be on hold for most of us, the camaraderie of a cycling community is certainly not. If anything, we’ve gotten more creative in connecting with our communities of fellow cyclists. We’re going on socially distanced rides with our pods and pedaling on app-supported indoor training setups that let us feel like we’re right on the tail of another cyclist on a bucket list mountain pass. 

Read on to see how the Competitive Cyclist team is keeping the wheels spinning straight through winter, and continuing to tap into a community of riders in unexpected ways.

Riding Inside & Connected 

Just because we’re pedaling inside four walls, doesn’t mean we’re not inviting the outside world in. When we’re not out skiing, a lot of us are riding Wahoo KICKR trainers and staying connected to our fellow living room riders through Zwift.

“I’m supplementing skiing with riding my road bike on a Wahoo KICKR and a Zwift account. Goal for the winter is to maintain my fitness from the end of the season last year and pick up from there come spring. I’ll add in some minor threshold work towards the end of winter into early spring and as the “off season” progresses, the frequency on the bike will increase.” —Brad Drennan, brand manager 

“I ride an older version of a Merlin Telluride (titanium!) in a Wahoo KICKR SNAP. I prefer to ride outside on singletrack, but winter, injuries, inversion, pandemics, and more make me shift onto the trainer. I have it set up next to a window to make me feel a little more connected to outside. My primary goals for using the trainer are cross-training and stress relief.” —Jani Holder, writer 

“Smart trainer riding has been an incredible tool to keep my winter fitness at a good baseline. I’ve been doing the Tour de Zwift for the past two years and it’s been an incredible motivator. I’m sure like a lot of riders in 2020, the lack of group riding and events made it a challenge to stay motivated, but I’m looking at the Tour de Zwift to help ignite that competitive fire again (unless it starts snowing here in UT and then I’ll probably be at the ski mountain!).” —Matt Hoppe, marketing manager 

“I use Wahoo’s smart trainer, fan, and desk. Being able to ride inside helps my motivation survive in winter. And I’ll hop on Zwift whenever I need an escape from the cold or a precise workout. My training plan is a ‘no days off’ program. I credit myself an active day after doing 20 minutes of cardio (can even be walking), stretching, or a strength session. Not every day is intense, but each is dedicated in some way to helping my body and spirit out.” —Max Polin, writer  

“I rely on other sports and activities during the winter to build fitness. Indoor training looks like strength training a few times a week, these are largely bodyweight and a few small props to keep things interesting (resistance band, backpack filled with books for added weight, that kind of thing). I run or XC ski a couple times a week as well, and use the weekends for longer rides, when there’s the time to get out during the warmest part of the day.” —Hannah Dhonau, content producer 

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Finding Cycling Communities From a Distance

Some of us are still pedaling alongside others—socially distanced—while others are finding their sense of cycling community online. 

“My favorite thing to do in the winter is join the organized Zwift group rides with the local cycling club in Park City. They have scheduled rides on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. We use the Discord app that allows us to chitchat (or listen to each other breathe haha) while we are riding. It’s a bit easier than typing out messages in Zwift.” —Brad Drennan, marketing manager 

“I was never one for spin classes, but now I’ll put on spin videos on YouTube for both the guided workout and because it feels like I have a community to ride with. I’ve joined challenges like Run for RBG, where I had a virtual team doing an 87-mile ‘race’ that supported a cause I care about. I’ve signed on for some group rides/classes over Zoom, and if I’m really bored, I’ll let my dog in the room—she likes to chase pedaling feet.” —Jani Holder, writer

“Zwift has been a really great way to stay connected to my cycling friends all over the country. We can all ride the stage on a given day and then compare our stage results and it’s as if we are all still riding together. Of course, our sport tends to embrace solo rides, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that I like riding in a group. I miss the chit chat and camaraderie of riding in a group.” —Matt Hoppe, marketing manager 

Zwift is great for checking in to see if cyclists are still out there and riding their bikes. I don’t interact socially on Zwift, but just riding with all those like-minded avatars reminds me that the cycling community is healthy and motivated to make it to spring. Pockets stuffed with virtual thumb-ups make every ride fun.” —Max Polin, writer 

“I have one consistent riding partner who helps me stay motivated to ride even when the forecast calls for brisk temperatures. My race team, WTF BX Gravel, is also an important motivator and feeling of community this year. We keep in touch with video chats twice a month, and keep tabs on one another’s goals with Ride with GPS. Our slack channel is half team news and logistics and half cutie ride selfies to share the joy.” —Hannah Dhonau, content producer 

Find Your Cycling Community 

Here are a few ways you might tap into a cycling community during your indoor training or riding this season: