Virtual trainer Zwift sees popularity almost double over last year

Zwift, the global online fitness platform that was the friend of many athletes during COVID-19 lock downs, has announced the return of the Tour of Watopia for 2021, which started on March 29, a five stage virtual event .

Zwift is essentially fitness e-sports, be it cycling or running, where users pay a monthly fee and get to participate in virtual events with other participants around the world and features multiple courses, group rides and races. Zwift tells me Kiwis have embraced the platform over the past year, seeing year on year popularity almost double as fitness enthusiasts kept fit during lock down last year.

It’s not just weekend warriors that Zwift is proving popular with, either: Professional cyclists like Ella Harris, from Dunedin, used the platform during lock down to keep themselves in shape.

Zwift utilises an app that connects to exercise equipment like smart bike trainers and treadmills and uses massively multiplayer online gaming technology to create 3D worlds for riders and runners to explore. Circuits include London, New York and Paris and riders earn XP that they can use to “level up”, buy virtual clothing, accessories and bikes like the Specialized S-Works Venge so they can customise their avatar.

Zwift’s Tour of Watopia (ToW) allows riders and runners to fast forward the rewards with double XP and for those new to the training platform, there are rookie rides and runs led by some of the most knowledgeable Zwifters and participants can learn the how-to’s of a group event while earning Double XP. The rides are kept at a pace that encourages riders to stay together.

The Tour of Watopia runs between March 29 and April 29 and you can find out more at

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