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First Ride With ROUVY: Indoor Training Meets Augmented Reality

We take a ride to dream destinations far afield on the augmented reality ROUVY platform.

Virtual training, smart training, indoor training. Whichever way you describe it, there can be no denying it has completely changed the way a huge percentage of cyclists maintain, retain and improve fitness. 

From entry-level riders, to keen amateurs and even top-level professionals, smart training through online platforms has arguably been the biggest game-changer in cycling over the past decade or so. 

Options abound in the virtual training space, with a variety of different platforms to suit differing personal tastes and riders of all persuasions.

We’ve recently been spending time on one such platform, and that’s ROUVY. Hugely popular in the northern hemisphere and probably not as well known here in the antipodes, there’s a fascinating real-life backstory to this augmented reality training platform.

One of the ROUVY platform’s major points of difference is the fact it’s based upon augmented reality – a hybrid mix of virtual riders overlayed on real life video.

Created by two Czech brothers who were mad-keen summertime cyclists, Petr and Jiri Samek trained indoors during Prague’s bitterly cold winters back in the early 2000s. 

“Everybody knows winter cycling is boring,” says Petr. 

“We thought about how to make things more interesting, how to motivate ourselves to ride everyday indoors to be ready for outdoor riding and races.” Yes, this was back in 2003! 

Jump forward to 2009 and the brothers were working on a central online cycling hub that housed virtual tours and training diaries. From there the platform went from strength to strength, and by 2017 had evolved to be what we now know as Rouvy — an interactive training platform that combines real life video of some of the world’s best-known cycling routes, with the use of Augmented Reality, immersive technology that places your own personal avatar on those dream roads.

With cooler days and less morning and afternoon light in the lead up to winter, we’ve recently been riding ROUVY to A: get a feel for the platform, B: re-ride some dreamy overseas locations, and C: research the top reasons we’d ride ROUVY.

ROUVY riders can tackle iconic real-life climbs such as Alp d’Huez. We found this to be a wonderful way to A: bring back (painful) memories, and B: prepare for future trips.

Structured Training Plans: ROUVY offers a variety of structured training plans designed to improve your cycling performance. These plans typically include a progressive series of workouts targeting different aspects of overall fitness such as endurance, strength, speed, and power. Following a well-designed training plan can help you build a solid foundation, increase your aerobic capacity, and develop specific cycling skills. 

Power-Based Training: ROUVY is compatible with power meters and smart trainers, allowing you to train based on power output. Power-based training is highly effective in optimising performance because it provides accurate and objective data on your effort level. By consistently training at specific power zones, you can improve your muscular endurance, increase your lactate threshold, and enhance overall power output. 

Interval Training: ROUVY enables you to perform structured interval training sessions. Intervals involve alternating periods of high-intensity effort with recovery periods. These workouts are an effective way to improve your anaerobic capacity, increase your VO2 max, and enhance your ability to sustain high-intensity efforts. The virtual routes and resistance adjustments on smart trainers can simulate the terrain and intensity variations needed for effective interval training. 

Indoor training is a wonderful way to break the winter cycling blues and indeed become a stronger rider for spring & summer.

Hill Climbing and Simulating Terrain: ROUVY offers a variety of virtual routes, including those with challenging climbs and descents. Climbing is an excellent way to build leg strength and improve your ability to sustain efforts at high gradients.

By tackling virtual hills on ROUVY, you can simulate the feel of real-world climbs and train your muscles and cardiovascular system to handle the actual challenges.

We are loving the graphic interface and riding epic old haunts such as Alpe d’Huez and the Stelvio … it’s so realistic and brings back fantastic (if painful) memories.

Time Trial and Race Simulation: ROUVY allows you to participate in virtual time trials and races. These events can help you improve your race-specific skills, including pacing, positioning, and tactical decision-making.

By competing against other riders in a virtual environment you can push your limits, experience race-like scenarios, and gain valuable experience in handling competitive pressure.  

Indoor training will never replace outdoor cycling, but it is certainly a great way to improve fitness and prepare for real-world cycling outings and events. Image: Snowy Classic.

Monitoring: ROUVY provides detailed performance data and analytics, allowing you to track your progress over time. You can monitor your training load, track improvements in power output or speed, and analyse your performance metrics.

This feedback helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, and make informed adjustments to your training plan.

Accessibility: These platforms enable individuals to participate in various training programs and workouts regardless of their geographical location. Users can access a wide range of virtual routes and training plans, making it convenient for people living in areas with limited outdoor training options or specific terrain requirements. 

Time Efficiency: Indoor training platforms offer structured workouts that are time-efficient and tailored to specific goals. Users can make the most of their training sessions by focusing on targeted efforts, optimising training time, and maximising results within a shorter duration.

Safety: By training indoors riders can avoid potential hazards associated with outdoor activities, such as traffic and cold mornings. I must say it’s a great feeling to be be warm, cozy and working up a sweat inside, training while watching the morning news or having the stereo blaring. 

Our Thoughts: Overall, we’ve found the platform to be particularly engaging, interesting, and captivating to ride. Looking for an indoor alternative to supplement and help develop your outdoor cycling this winter? We’d highly recommend checking it out.

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