RBC members are permitted to post virtual rides. Unlike our traditional outdoor rides, virtual rides require special equipment and third-party software subscriptions to participate in. Here is some information about how to participate in virtual rides. At a minimum, you will require a smart trainer and a device capable of running training software in order to participate in virtual rides.
Smart trainers take many forms. Some smart trainers are devices you mount your bike on/in, while others are complete stationary bikes. Costs vary based on the type of trainer and the number of features offered. The one thing all smart trainers share in common is that they utilize a power meter that translates your pedaling into data that can be used in a virtual software environment. The best experience is provided by trainers that are interactive, which means that resistance is variable and changes in response to what is happening in the virtual software environment. Some popular manufacturers of smart trainers include Wahoo, Garmin, and Zwift (this is by no means an exhaustive list). This video is a great place to start when deciding on a trainer setup. Since most RBC virtual group rides will take place on Zwift, it is important to confirm that the trainer you plan on using is compatible with Zwift.
Training software is a program or app that facilitates indoor training. There are numerous options available—Zwift, Wahoo SYSTM/RGT, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, Bkool, FulGaz, and MyWhoosh—just to name a few. The most popular training software for virtual group rides is Zwift. Zwift is where most RBC virtual rides will be hosted and you will need a Zwift subscription to participate in these virtual rides. Zwift offers a trial to new users, so you will be able to try the platform before paying for it. RBC has an official Zwift Club that you can join to connect with other RBC Zwift subscribers and to see upcoming Zwift virtual rides. Most RBC virtual rides will also be posted to Meetup.
A device that can run the desired training software is required. Zwift is compatible with most smart phones and tablets, and is also compatible with many PCs, Macs, and the Apple TV (Apple TV 4K 1st generation or higher, Apple TV HD 4th generation or higher). What device you use to run Zwift is entirely up to you, but the best experience is usually provided by devices with larger screens. Many people opt to use their computer connected to a TV, casting from their phone/tablet to a TV, or an Apple TV natively running Zwift.
In order to make RBC virtual rides as social as possible, we have set up a Discord server which allows participants of RBC virtual rides to chat with each-other. Discord is a free service and has an app you can install on your phone to make voice chatting as easy as possible. If you want to participate in voice chats during virtual rides, you must register for a free Discord account. Also, you must join the RBC Discord server using this link. Voice chat channels are accessible from the Discord menu after joining the RBC Discord server. The specific channel being used for each virtual ride is typically posted in the description of the event. If there is only one virtual ride that day, it's safe to assume the correct channel is "riding-voice-1". Participation in voice chat is optional.