Why pay for Zwift when you can ride on MyWhoosh for free?

With group rides, races, multiple worlds, training plans and workouts, this ad-supported start-up has most bases covered

Image shows a person riding on MyWhoosh
(Image credit: Future)

Let’s cut straight to the chase: MyWhoosh is a free-to-use, ad-supported alternative to Zwift which boasts many similar features.

It might not be a brand you’ve heard of, but the chances are you will have seen its branding – even if only subliminally. As official partner to UAE Team Emirates, the MyWhoosh logo has been emblazoned across Tadej Pogacar’s jersey – and shorts.

There’s a lot to the platform and this is just a first look at the headline features that make it a viable option for building fitness and staying motivated while cycling indoors

In this cost of cycling crisis, we consider whether this free-to-use option is one of best indoor training platforms for cycling. But you'll have to hang on for a more in-depth review of the platform. 

MyWhoosh virtual worlds

Image shows the routes on MyWhoosh.

(Image credit: Future)

With the MyWhoosh headquarters being based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, it should perhaps come as no surprise that desert landscapes feature heavily in the virtual world mix here. 

The first is set around the ancient desert city of AlUla – one of the oldest cities on the Arabian Peninsula and home to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. 12 routes are offered in total, including a meaty one called ‘Heritage Climb’ which manages to pack 580m of climbing into 13.7km.

Then there’s a second Middle Eastern Map - Arabia - which, alongside a mix of hilly and flat routes, includes a loop around downtown Dubai. Australia gets a look in, albeit with only three routes, but to save perhaps the best till last, there are six routes set in Colombia, including a lap around Bogota City - the capital - and a 946m climb up the Paso Alto.

Image shows Stefan's avatar riding around MyWhoosh.

(Image credit: Future)

So there certainly are plenty of different routes to go through and tick off, although on first impressions, there doesn’t seem to be the same network and variation of topology as you get just within Zwift’s Watopia.

But then MyWhoosh is in its early days and it’s free to use - which is a refrain that you could repeat after every observation!

And to hang on that point of monetisation for just a moment, I have to say that I did really quite enjoy how the ads are integrated into the world as little flags on the street, not any banners or pop-ups flashing across the screen. I think it’s really quite nice and unobtrusive - the visual experience even has a certain similarity to being at a sportive or race.

But to address something of an elephant in the room, although I did have the graphics set to high, the world and avatars still looked quite basic. There might have been something I was missing, so I won’t dwell on this point until I’ve spent a bit more time troubleshooting.

MyWhoosh Group rides

Image shows the start of a MyWhoosh group ride.

(Image credit: Future)

The group rides and races aren’t as frequent as they are on Zwift but you still don’t have to wait too long for one to come round - there’s something on about every 15 minutes or so.

Jumping in on the first event that rolled around, there were about 50 people there on the start line, which made a good size group for getting an initial feel for how the drafting works on the platform.

Obviously, there’s only so much you can gleam from just riding around, but there did feel a significant difference between the amount of power I needed to put out when riding in the wheels compared to riding on the front. Whether it’s quite as strong as Zwift’s double draft, I wouldn’t be able to say, though.

Image shows Stefan's avatar cycling on MyWhoosh's virtual roads.

(Image credit: Future)

MyWhoosh took quite an interesting approach with this group ride. Everyone starts together regardless of ability, and within the bunch there was a total of nine bots that would ride around at an average speed of between 25kph and 40kph (going up in 2kph increments).

Given the ratio of riders to bots was a little over 5:1, it wasn’t really a surprise that the group ended up becoming fairly strung out over the course of the ride - although with clusters around the middling speeds.

The rolling hills will have exacerbated matters as well - with the realism set to 100 per cent, the gradients did really make themselves felt, both when riding a Tacx Flux 2 and an Elite Zumo trainer (I switched when switching between worlds).

MyWhoosh Races

Image shows a birds eye view of MyWhoosh's virtual roads.

(Image credit: Future)

Given the current user base of the platform, there are only four races per day, which is far less than the amount of Zwift races available. This might make jumping on midweek a little difficult if you’ve got a narrow window between work finishing and other responsibilities - but on the other hand, more races would dilute the field and make each less interesting, so this is probably the best compromise for now.

Likewise, there are only two race categories: Fast Pace and Easy Pace. So expect quite a divergence in ability level in the races as well.

But the main event on MyWhoosh is the Sunday Race Club, held each week at 10:00 UTC for the men and 12:00 UTC for the women. 

MyWhoosh says that the terrain is quite eclectic, sometimes being pan flat, sometimes packing in 1,000m of climbing and - of course - everything in between as well. Although the winner is the first across the line, there are short sprints, moderate length segments and KOMs to compete in too.

If you want the detail on how MyWhoosh verifies performances, you’re probably best off reading it on their website than me repeating it here. But suffice to say, for the top-level racers, dual power recording, weigh-ins and heart rate date are all par for the course.

But I’m yet to take part in any of that - the group ride was the first event I found and I was jumping around exploring the worlds afterwards, so hang tight for firsthand details on the racing.

MyWhoosh training plans

Image shows one of the training plans available on MyWhoosh.

(Image credit: Future)

This is arguably one of the most interesting aspects to MyWhoosh. When I dropped by the MyWhoosh stand at Eurobike, one of the first things they told me was that Kevin Poulton - Zwift’s former leading coach and previous head coach of Katusha Alpecin - was the man behind these training plans.

And the plans don’t shy away from the geeky details - the notes for the road racing plan take you through the different phases of periodization and the bodily adaptations that are being targeted for development. 

Image shows the calendar view of the MyWhoosh platform.

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re anything like me, you’ll very much appreciate the depth on the ‘why’ rather than simply the ‘what’. But if you just want to get on with your training and don’t care about the mechanisms - there’s no problem with just cracking on.

Another nice touch that’s particularly useful is how you can drop into the training plan at the point of your choosing. Less relevant at the time of writing, but if you’re coming to this in the spring and already have your base training ticked off - it’s great that you can jump straight in with what you’re ready for.

MyWhoosh workouts

Image shows MyWhoosh's catalogue of training sessions.

(Image credit: Future)

Supporting the catalogue of cycling training plans is a bank of workouts that you can pick and choose from and plug straight into your training as it is. You can also see the same strands of detail running through these as you can in the training plans.

Image shows the MyWhoosh workout builder.

(Image credit: Future)

There’s also a handy workout builder for creating your own indoor cycling sessions for turbo training. It’s a very useful functionality to have, especially as it can be a bit of a pain to find an easy-to-use workout creator which is also free-to-use - but as with everything on the MyWhoosh platform, there’s no payment or subscription necessary.

The verdict on MyWhoosh

Let’s get the first things out of the way: MyWhoosh doesn’t look as polished as Zwift and it doesn’t have that gravity which comes from constantly having thousands of people on the platform. Essentially, I don’t think this platform is going to be a Zwift killer. 

But with that said, for someone who only rides indoors occasionally and doesn’t want to fork out for a monthly subscription, I think MyWhoosh is a completely viable option. Even for a regular indoor user, if you are seriously looking to cut down on costs, there may well be enough on MyWhoosh to keep you entertained and motivated all year round. 

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