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    Michael L. Aaronson, MD
    Kidney Doctor and High Blood Pressure Specialist
    7401 O Street Lincoln, NE 68510
    Phone: 402-484-5600

    Saturday, May 4, 2019

    Bike Quietly and Save Space on Zwift with Power Pedals. Use Biofeedback to Workout

    Dr. Aaronson biking up a mountain in Zwift. Notice how he is generating 113 watts of power (upper left) but only biking at 4 miles per hour. Why? It takes power to ride up a mountain. Zwift correctly interprets the power you generate to interact with the program and respond accordingly. Notice at 12 o'clock: Dr. Aaronson is biking at an elevation of 212 feet.
    After successfully setting up running on Zwift on Android, I decided to invest more in the program and set up biking. After extensive research and time, I learned there are several ways to set up Zwift with biking, given the compatibility options available to the consumer.

    [Read More: Connect to Zwift on Android Using the Runpod]

    I will now disclose my setup that you might consider if you want to bike quietly, save space, and use biofeedback to workout and get / stay healthy:

    • A stationary bicycle recliner. I have a DeskCycle, but any bike will work. 
      • If you prefer a spin bike, you can get one of those on Amazon.
    • Favero Assioma Duo Power pedals (single or duo work). 
      • This is the way power is measured in watts that tells the Zwift program how much energy you are generating and moves you forward in the interactive program.
      • Why the pedals? You can put them on any bicycle, including outdoor bikes. If Zwift doesn't work out you can use them in the future to measure your output.
    • A device to connect to Zwift. I like the Google Pixel device to connect to Zwift using Android. I also use the Zwift companion app for Android to follow real time, up to the minute data.
    Sidebar: There are "better," more expensive setups for Zwift. For example, if you are willing to spend thousands of dollars, VIP options become available. For example, during riding, you can feel cobblestone road when you bike over it. Resistance is controlled for you. I considered the investment, and may go forward in the future. But at this time, I like my current set up. I like to control my power output by manually changing the resistance on my DeskCycle or increasing/decreasing my cadence (defined as the number of revolutions you crank your bike per minute of time).

    [Shop: Zwift recommended setups: from $500-$1400 (excluding the bike).]

    There are also less expensive setup options for Zwift. My choice was based on the constraint of exercising during off hours (the kids need to sleep, so it must be quiet), I need to be mobile and have limited space (this setup works great for those who live in an apartment or don't have the room for a Zwift recommended setup), and who want an accurate measurement of their generated power (the Assioma UNO or DUO Pedals are state of the art).

    Dr. Aaronson riding in the rain in Zwift. We will share a secret. It also snows in Zwift! Also, notice that without elevation, on a flat road, 75 watts of power equates to a speed of 20 miles per hour. Also notice how the program currently wants me to exert 68 watts of power for 3 minutes. I'm biking at 75 watts of power. So I need to slow down. That to me is impressive biofeedback shown in the setting of an interesting interface! The experience is enjoyable. In my opinion, biofeedback can help prevent injury because the program tells you when you are over-exerting yourself. I also think it helps you with your endurance because it tells you when you aren't exerting yourself enough. Your goal is to enjoy your workout, exercise to achieve your goals, and allow you to get stronger and fitter over time.
    I have more pearls of wisdom for you:
    • I use a fitness desk to hold my phones so I can focus on my ride. Based on your setup, you can pick the desk you like.
    • I still use my Wahoo heart rate monitor while I ride to make sure I don't over exert myself. I suggest you do as well.
    • You will need to purchase riding shoes if you choose the Favero Assioma pedals.
    For non-exercise enthusiasts who want to be healthy, even with Netflix or Hulu, or Morrissey (or add your favorite artist here), maintaining lifelong exercise can be mundane and boring. Zwift was initially designed as a biking program. The running part is phenomenal, but at this time is not as developed as the biking portion. There are more biking trails than running trails. Over time, that may change. That said, they are constantly developing and improving the program, so stay tuned. Also, combined, Zwift has so many kilometers / miles of road to keep your interest piqued, there is tons of stuff to see for those who want to exercise sans boredom. 

    Here is a pic of Dr. Michael Aaronson biking in London: Notice how he is working too hard and needs to reduce his power generation. He can do this by decreasing the cadence or decreasing the resistance on the bike. Full disclosure: The more expensive (but louder and more space occupying setups) will adjust the resistance for you.

    Dr. Aaronson exercises in London. Notice he has a choice of which way to go. Notice the other bikers on the trail. You can talk to them if you like. Notice the biofeedback that Zwift gives you, recommending that you need to reduce your power during this part of the training program. Don't panic! Zwift will guide you.
    Panic on the streets of London. Panic on the streets of Birmingham. I wonder to myself. Could life ever be sane again? -- Morrissey on Twitter
    In conclusion, there are many setups to bike on Zwift. I have shared mine, which is Zwift on Android with a companion app that connects to power pedals connected to a stationary reclining bike. It works great for most people who are interested in fitness. I would suggest you try the walking / running portion first. If you like the program then consider what I have shared. Enjoy your workout and be healthy.

    Dr. Aaronson doing a great job "Zwifting" on Zwift.