When You Weren't Looking: Rouvy Revisited

About a year ago, we spent some time with Rouvy, looking at some of the major features of this compelling indoor training platform. You can revisit those articles here:

Gettin' Groovy with Rouvy - Part 1: Getting Started
Goodbye Rouvy Tuesday
Rouvy! (You'll Like the Movie)

We even did some informal racing in Rouvy earlier this year, taking advantage of Rouvy’s relatively easy means to allow anybody to set up races or similar events. Rouvy has a little bit of everything - structured training, entertainment, and a variety of means to motivate you to ride, regardless of the type of riding you do. Overall, Rouvy brings a lot to the table for a relatively low monthly subscription rate, and is definitely worth consideration.

Of course, the folks at Rouvy haven’t been resting on their laurels - as we wrap up the holidays and start to think about next year’s race schedule, this is a good opportunity to take a look at what has happened in the Rouvy camp over the last year or so and get caught up. Let’s dive in.

Routes, routes, and more routes!

A really enjoyable aspect of Rouvy is being able to enjoy virtual rides in real places around the world, with thousands of video routes available, and with new routes being added all the time. The route library is now well over 3,000 routes and available to view without having a subscription (click here to view the route catalog).

To contribute to that growth, Rouvy acquired CycleRecon earlier this year, with the intent to leverage CycleRecon’s cycling video recording and production processes and equipment to provide additional high-quality content. Much of Rouvy’s content is user-submitted amateur video and the Rouvy team will continue to gather additional footage in order to provide riders with more professionally-filmed high definition routes.

CycleRecon’s influence is already being featured in the growing library of AR (Augmented Reality) routes in Rouvy. The AR routes add a fun visual effect to the routes, rendering you or other riders as game-like avatars, along with signs and banners to enhance your video route experience. When we looked at the AR routes about a year ago, they were still in beta, and there were only about 15 routes available. There are now 49 routes listed under the AR Routes category, but if you dig through the catalog a bit more, you’ll find there are quite a few more than that. By my count, there are currently 96 AR routes available.

Of those 96 routes, there are 8 different countries represented. With CycleRecon having been based in the UK, it makes sense that a big chunk of these routes are in Great Britain (51, to be exact), with routes from Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Czech Republic, France, Australia, and Spain also available. These AR routes range from .4 to 34.4 miles in length, with average grades from 1 to 10%, so there is a wide level of challenges available for you. All of these routes are uploaded in High Definition (1920x1080), with about a fourth of them uploaded at even higher quality 2K (2560x1440). The Rouvy team is working to add 2 new AR routes every week, so we can expect this list to double by this time next year.

Finally, the AR routes have also been refined even further in terms of the elevation mapping. Rouvy will emulate road slopes to .1 degree, and in an effort to improve the realism, the Rouvy team have updated the AR routes to follow their real world counterparts even more closely in regards to elevation changes. So, if you ride a hilly road with a lot of elevation change, be prepared to shift because you’ll feel the changes in elevation often and quickly!

Apple TV and Mac support

Another big change in the Rouvy world is the introduction of Rouvy for Apple TV and Mac. Previously, Rouvy was available only to Windows PC, Android, and iOS users. Adding new technology platforms is a big task, but the new support for Apple TV and Mac users will help expose Rouvy to a wider audience. Available for under $200, Apple TV is one of the most affordable means to indoor training. For the rider on a tight budget, Rouvy and Apple TV is a great option. Although still in beta, Apple TV and Mac users get just about all of the features found on the other platforms, including the AR routes. The one piece that isn’t supported is ANT+ - you will need to be using Bluetooth equipment if you want to use Rouvy on either of these platforms.

Challenges with real prizes

Rouvy offers several nice carrots to motivate you as a rider and keep you knocking down miles and achieving goals. Aside from the fun of exploring our world and getting fit doing it, one other fun thing about riding in Rouvy is their challenges. While this is not a new feature since we last looked at Rouvy, it is an ongoing opportunity to win virtual or real prizes. At any given time, there is usually at least one challenge going on, with real prizes. Rouvy has given away smart trainers and other prizes to Rouvy riders who complete the challenges.

For example, right now you can join the Holiday Tour #6 Challenge: ride 5 video routes, ranging from just under 6 miles to 34.5 miles and you will earn a badge to add to your Rouvy career. If that’s not enough for you, there are still a few days left to join the Kinetic Challenge: you just have to ride one 30km route to be entered for a chance to win a new Kinetic R1 smart trainer. Pretty cool!

Let’s ride… with real people!

Some might find Rouvy compelling because it’s a bit more “real world” than the indoor training games like Zwift, RGT, and others. In a sense, the use of video routes provides a bit more natural bridge between riding outdoors and indoor riding that some of the other apps. The Rouvy Team has embraced that transition of outdoor to indoor riding by incorporating several means to interact with others beyond the virtual interface - y’know, like real, analog people.

Rouvy continues to work on multiple partnerships, including teams from the local to global level. As a Rouvy user with a Strava account, you can join the Rouvy Strava club to keep on top of the latest events and group rides. Rouvy has teamed up with the 2020 Tour de Suisse, and you will soon be able to ride all of the tour routes virtually. There will be events leading up to and during the 2020 TdS in June, including group rides and races on the course. You can keep track of different online Rouvy events on their event page here.

Another way of interacting with others is by attending one of the Rouvy Cycling Camps. For 2020, Rouvy is offering two camps in Italy, which you can check out here.

The Spring Cycling Camp will run from March 15 to March 22 in Tuscany. It’s limited to 20 riders, and you better be ready to rip your legs off - you’ll be training with the Rouvy Specialized Cycling Team. The day’s riding will be organized into three groups - the Race Group will cover 90-150km, the Hobby Group will ride 70-100km per day, with some coffee breaks, and the Adventure group will manage 40-60km a day, enjoying some sightseeing and breaks. You can pick and choose which group you ride with on any given day. Pricing including accommodations is just a hair under 900 Euros, and bikes are available for rent.

The Summer Cycling Camp runs from July 18 to July 25 in Livigno. Also limited to 20 riders, this one is not for the faint of heart. Like the Spring Cycling Camp, it is broken into 3 groups but with different focuses - Road Group 1 is going to be tackling the Italian Alps for 3-5 hours per day, with the sightseeing limited to looking at your stem, hoping your heart doesn’t explode (OK, so I made that last part up). Group 2 will be putting in 2-3 hours per day, with a bit of sightseeing and coffee stops mixed in. The third group is the MTB group - as the name implies, this group will be enjoying the off-road scenery around Livigno on MTB trails. Regardless of which group you choose to ride with (and you can change it up however you like), there is something for everybody. In the meantime, you can train on many of the routes used during the Camps indoor on Rouvy. To top it off, look for an upcoming Rouvy Challenge where you could win a trip to one of the Rouvy Camps!

Keep watching this space

We’ll be working on some races in Rouvy in the near future - probably in the late February/early March timeframe, so keep an eye on the Slowtwitch.com front page and in the Slowtwitch forums for a chance to connect and have some fun to test your legs soon. In the meantime, check out how much work the folks at Rouvy have been up to - Rouvy offers a 14 day free trial, so give it a spin!