Tacx-ing issues on the virtual road

Note before the main article – I don’t have a standard laptop so for me the likes of Zwift and RGT are non starters when it comes to virtual cycling.

When the virtual cycling craze started to take off a couple of winters ago I managed to get my regular, non-direct drive trainer to work with the Tacx training app and enjoyed using it.

My rides were top down view on Google maps showing me chugging up the roads (mostly alone) and it certainly helped pass the time in the garage.

Last winter one of their Android updates meant that mobile users had the added bonus of first person perspective videos and the experience became even more immersive. I even spent my hard earned cash on a Premium account which meant I had access to more videos and that I was able to sync my own riding routes from Strava to the app. You will have seen numerous screen prints of this in action in previous posts on here.

I was a happy man.

Then Garmin happened.

Their take over of Tacx left the app alone for a while but between the UK lockdowns there were a number of updates which left users with a basic set up like me feeling a bit let down.

One of the latter updates caused you to have to re-attach and configure all sensors. Suddenly from an FTP in the 260’s the app cut out at 236 watts. Who knew what my performance was or my limits were?

After fiddling with the set up numerous times I came to the conclusion that it was my speed and cadence sensor trainer set up that was the issue. Makes sense I suppose. Garmin will want everyone to trade up to direct drive, for sure.

This was backed up when I started the process back from scratch and followed the set up instructions for my model of turbo. “Inflate the tyre to X psi”, “have the wheel just touch the roller”, “turn the dial 5 times”…

I was putting the same amount of heart rate numbers out but the app was pausing as I had come to a standstill! I changed all the batteries and tried again. It was better but the app was still dropping out over Bluetooth quite regularly.

Reading about all of my friends with different and better hardware and computers racing each other on Zwift annoyed me.

There is little or no racing or interaction on Tacx and it was making me feel lonely having no-one to chase or hunt me down.

To be fair there were a number of occasions where there were other riders on the same course at the same time, but when Bluetooth dropped they vanished.

So I was coming into this winter feeling less than enthused about spending hours on the trainer.

Fortunately Rouvy captured my attention with a free 14 day trial. Fingers crossed this is the future for me as the roads seem a lot busier and the interaction between avatars is there in a way Tacx hadn’t achieved.

Maybe Garmin have big plans to relaunch the app and its going to be marvellous and interactive, but they wont be getting my money until that’s proven.

I will let you know how Rouvy goes…

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