Rouvy is an indoor cycling app which combines GPS videos with animated 3D cyclists to recreate the outdoor environment - and it's all set to host a virtual version of the Tour de Suisse between April 22 and 26.
The defining feature of Rouvy is its use of 'augmented reality' - this effectively takes real world routes, and projects 3D images of riders on to them. It's a bit like riding through Google street view.
Ride real roads, or upload your own
Rouvy already has 7,000 kilometres of certified routes and 3,000 route films for riders to choose from - including some iconic climbs like the Stelvio Pass and Alpe d'Huez. It also has a partnership with the Tour de Suisse, allowing riders to complete stages of the race from home - so of course it was the logical choice for organisers planning to recreate a virtual version of the UCI stage race.
UK riders will be pleased to hear that there's plenty of home roads to explore, with stages 1 and 2 of the 2014 Tour de France, in Yorkshire, plus an array of classic sportives like the Fred Witton Challenge available.
If that's not enough, since it's an open platform riders are able to download an additional 'Virtual Training Route Editor' app. You can then ride or drive your own route with an action cam, such as a Go Pro, on the handlebars/dash - and upload it to Rouvy so that you and others can access the footage alongside real life elevation changes at home.
As per other industry leading apps, Rouvy offers group rides, eRaces and time trials as well as saved 'personal bests' and thus the chance to train and improve on them.
Rouvy also offers you the opportunity to work through the 'Career' ranks. All riders begin as a 'Starter', with the final rung on the ladder being a 'Rouvy Legend'.
You gain 'points' - based upon Training Stress Score (TSS) for time spent training, and there are tasks that must be performed to reach the higher levels such as ascending 15,000 feet or completing five online races. Much like the British Cycling road racing points system, these reset once a year and there are prizes to win along the way.
There are also 'Challenges' on offer, some of which are sponsored by brands, with more prizes available.
For those using the app to complete structured intervals, there are 4,000 saved workouts plus a custom workout builder, FTP and ramp tests as well as compatibility with Training Peaks, Strava and social media platforms.
If you ever find yourself unsure of what session to do, the app can provide you with the 'Training Peaks Workout of the Day', which will lay out set intervals for you without any pre planning on your part.
What do you need to use Rouvy?
Anyone can use Rouvy to add entertainment to their indoor training.
The app pairs with iOS, Mac, Windows, Android and Apple TV devices.
In order to immerse yourself in the Rouvy world, you'll need either a smart trainer or smart bike, or you can opt for a standard turbo with a speed/cadence sensor, though this won't allow for resistance changes to match elevation in the virtual world.
Is Rouvy free?
Rouvy costs $10 a month - this is just over £8. This price is based upon a one year subscription, which can be used by an entire household as well as training partners.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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