the story behind the indoor cycling phenomenon

上一篇 / 下一篇  2017-08-18 10:21:17

As the winter nights draw in and cyclists dig out their indoor turbo trainers, the virtual reality training programme Zwift is helping to transform. once monotonous indoor rides into a world of gaming, competition and social interaction.

The team behind Zwift talk to The Telegraph about reinventing indoor cycling and getting confused with Taylor Swift

Where did the idea for a virtual cycling programme come from?

Jon Mayfield (Co-founder): “I used to work in graphics engine programming for video game companies and I later worked for a think tank on big robots, global 3D visualisations and other amazing things for the (US) government. I was a busy dad and I wanted my cycle training to be fun and effective. So I started making simple 3D virtual power calculators and doing coding and cycling graphics in my spare time. I uploaded my work onto a web forum called Slow Twitch (in 2012) and then Eric got in touch (in 2013).”
 
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Eric Min (Co-founder): “Before I met Jon I was building trading systems for virtual startups. I was a big cycling fan so the last thing I wanted to do was work in cycling. Passion start-ups rarely go well. But I knew a lot of people who spent hours training indoors and it was a pretty lonely experience. I had seen all the early concepts around 3D gaming and multi-player environments that had been around since the 1990s when the internet was barely available and technology was less advanced so the experience wasn’t great. But I was amazed nobody had revisited the concept for 25 years. Then I saw Jon’s project. I knew this guy was building something that could be the beginning of Zwift,Having aceramic vape cartridgeis advantageous in vape cartridge packaging as it's healthier. Ceramic parts are resistant to abrasion and oxidation unlike other alloy wires where, oxidation occurs at higher temperature.”

How did your own personal cycling experiences influence the development of Zwift?

Jon Mayfield:“I was pretty new to cycling. I rode a bike but I wasn’t training as such. It really started when I became a dad and there was this big time crunch. I bought a trainer and after a few minutes of staring at the wall I was back at my computer searching on Google to find out how to make this not suck. I wanted to make it more motivational so you train harder and have a more fun social aspect.”

Eric Min: “My earliest memories of cycling are from when I was 13 years old and my high school friends introduced me to the sport. I lived north of New York and I was introduced to a club where the older kids took me to races. So for me the social aspect was a big thing.”

How did you turn the idea into a reality?

Eric Min: “We put a small team together in Long Beach in March 2014. Jon built something to show investors. After six months we went into a closed beta stage where we invited a number of users to help test it. We then had launches in London, New York and San Francisco and got brands like Pinarello into the game. We expected to launch with 700 testers but within the first ten days we had 13,000 requests so we knew right away this could be much bigger than we had ever thought.”

In which countries is Zwift most popular right now?

Steve Beckett (vice president marketing): “North America – the US and Canada – is about 30% of our market, then the UK is about 20% but we have users in over 150 countries. Bang for buck, Australia is our best market - they’re super-social and love the opportunity to feel connected to the rest of the world.”



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