Zwift wheels its virtual bicycle racing platform into open beta

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Journalists and bike geeks gather at the Rapha Store in San Francisco for Zwift’s launch in September 2014.
Journalists and bike geeks gather at the Rapha Store in San Francisco for Zwift’s launch last September.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Zwift, which calls itself an “online fitness entertainment gaming platform,” has finally opened up its virtual roads for anyone with a bicycle on a trainer to ride.

The virtual bicycle racing platform lets riders hook their two-wheelers up to their computers (Mac or PC). Then they receive real-time data about their ride — including speed, cadence and even power — and can match their performance against another rider who is using Zwift at the same time.

The software allows competition against virtual riding partners around the country. At the moment, the program is free to use.

Just recently we noticed on Strava that Zwift’s “island” racetrack had grown from an oddly shaped figure-8 to a more complex riding route, giving us a hint that the platform might be nearing launch.

With the move to an open beta, Zwift also revealed a pack of bicycle industry partners, including Trek, Canyon, Specialized and the Richmond World Championships. This means Zwift riders will, at some point, be able to rage against each other on a virtual version of the Richmond road course.

We wrote about the bicycling app last September when Zwift launched its closed beta for early adopters.

Zwift's virtual racetracks let bicyclists compete against partners around the world in real time.
Zwift’s virtual racetracks let bicyclists compete against partners around the world in real time.
Photo: Zwift