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Professional MTB Rider Review: An Indoor Trainer That Is Finally Fun to Ride

By Adam Marsal

A Czech National MTB team member Sam Jirouš explains what kind of bicycle trainer he uses to get fit for the World Championships in the U23 category.

Right now, 18-year-old Sam Jirouš is enjoying wonderful weather on Mallorca where he undergoes winter training with the rest of the Czech MTB National Team. As in every other period between racing seasons, he focuses on establishing endurance skills that will be needed to get his name on the list of European and World Championships participants in the U23 category this year.

Despite having a good time on beautiful trails with close friends, being a professional mountain biker is a hard profession only other pros would understand. When Sam gets back home to the Czech Republic, his training routine will take place in cold weather most of the time. However, for him, riding in the foulest weather was much preferred to switching to an indoor trainer – until now.

Sam Jirouš hard at work

“I’ve always perceived indoor trainers as horribly boring. With most of them, I was forced to spend two hours a day staring at the wall or watching TV had it been a better case. I always counted every minute left to finish but it’s been quite different since ROUVY entered my home,” Sam explains. With this indoor bicycle platform connected to augmented reality, he now has the advantage of cycling the places he always desired to visit even though they’re hard to reach, such as the mountain roads of Colombia.

ROUVY is an application offering realistic cycling experience indoors with high-quality videos based on GPS route profiles and augmented reality where animated 3D riders can enter 7,000 km of certified routes. Anyone interested can simply choose from over 3,000 interactive route films that fit their likings or training schedules covering 70 iconic dream locations like Passo Dello Stelvio, Alpe d’Huez or Kona. You only need a trainer, a bicycle, and a display, which might be a TV as well as your laptop screen. The platform works perfectly with any bicycle trainer available including a smart-bike, direct-drive or wheel-on trainer.

According to Sam, the best part is that you always make full use of the time reserved for cycling, which makes virtual training great not only for professionals but also for hobby riders. After arriving home from work at 5 PM on those short winter days, there’s no option but to choose a trainer or risk a ride in utter darkness. “And we’re not even talking about the annoying chill, snow or rain,” Sam adds. If you only have 60 minutes to dedicate to your bike, then you will enjoy the whole hour without wasting time by putting warm winter clothing on, stopping at traffic lights, struggling with traffic jams or cleaning the bike once the ride is over. “This is what keeps you fit throughout the winter without getting bored by spinning a dull magnetic flywheel somewhere in the cellar.”

Sam’s favourite feature is the automatic power resistance deployed by the ROUVY app based on how the incline of the route changes in the video you watch on the screen. “That gives me a completely realistic feel,” Sam describes.

“What I like is that you can create custom routes, take part in online competitions and get advanced pedalling analytics out of the app. The indoor trainer is accessible regardless of the weather so there’s never an excuse for skipping a scheduled training scheme. The platform is also easy to sync with most popular training apps like Strava or TrainingPeaks,” Sam says.

The ROUVY application was developed and lovingly designed by brothers Petr and Jiří Samek. They’ve both always loved cycling and enjoyed long rides for the better part of the year. While studying at the Czech Technical University in Prague, they invented a device enabling them to measure exact results for several sports disciplines. After graduating, they founded the Virtual Training company that developed a cycling application that now allows its users to enjoy a ride on the world’s finest roads without leaving their homes.

Why not join too? Check the latest We Love Cycling virtual trainer challenge.