LIKE countless others, members of the Echuca Moama Cycling Club have been forced to change their weekly routine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Participants can no longer meet early in the morning for a ride followed by a coffee.
But online training platform Zwift has come to the rescue.
The system allows users to ride across the world on some of the most famous roads, including those used in the Tour de France.
“It’s an amazing piece of equipment which a few guys have been using,” EMCC president Ray Hamilton said.
“Having something like this available to us is great, especially heading into the winter months.
“It is a great way to keep fit while staying within the restrictions which are in place.”
Cycling Australia announced last month that riders would have several online races and rides to choose from, including rare opportunities to ride alongside Olympic, Paralympic and world champion athletes.
“Riding alongside the national team isn’t something that you get to do every day,” Hamilton said.
“But it’s also a great way to ride against your mates. The system allows you to ride in a group, like we would out on the road.
“We’ve completed a couple of rides together because it’s allowed us to still be social.”
Hamilton said he was enjoying the online experience, but it did not beat riding with a group of mates.
“There is nothing better than doing the real thing,” he said.
“A lot of guys are still riding on the road during everything that is happening, but some are doing it alone.
“When you are able to ride in a big group there is an opportunity to have a chat, but that’s hard to do now.
“We’re all looking forward to everything getting back to normal as soon as possible.”
Hamilton has been using Zwift for several months, after he purchased the system before travelling to Europe last year.
“We did a ride from Milan to Venice in August,” he said.
“Zwift allowed me to prepare for the hills we would face in places including the Italian Alps. I brought it during the winter because if I wanted to train, I would have to go to Bright.
“And that’s far too cold in the middle of winter.
“Having the system certainly helped me prepare for what turned out to be an amazing trip.”
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