We’ve all seen the magnificent pain cave setups of the Instagram and Youtube nobility. They are modern, clean, beautiful, sunlight places that have more in common with a display in the Museum of Modern Art than my garage. Certainly, most of us aspire to such pristine setups, but, if you are like me, your pain cave is a cross between a dump and a poorly lit dungeon.
I have avoided riding inside as much as possible. My indoor trainer setup is comparatively basic - a flywheel trainer, a couple of old textbooks for the front wheel, a cracked garage door for ventilation, a hand towel, and a YouTube playlist of old races.
While Zwift and virtual riding platforms might feel unachievable with my setup, it's possible to make it work without spending hundreds of dollars upgrading it.
This is how to use Zwift without a smart trainer:
1. A bicycle
3. A computer/Apple TV/tablet/phone with bluetooth
5. If your sensors or power meter only uses ANT+, you will need an ANT+ dongle
6. If you need to use an ANT+ dongle, go ahead and buy a USB extension cable to minimize dropouts.
Once you’ve got the essentials, you can customize your spot with some fans, music, laptop or tablet stands, and floor mats. Upgrade to a smart trainer for even more fun. Smart trainers mimic the outdoors by adding and reducing resistance based on your character in the simulation.
And when you’re ready, check out our Top 10 Indoor Cycling Upgrades to take your virtual training to another level.