Cycling together in a virtual reality with Rotary

Cycling together in a virtual reality with Rotary

Using cutting edge technology, a Lancashire Rotary club was able to hold a fundraising bike ride that anyone could take part in from the comfort of their own home.

The Rotary Club of North Fylde organised a virtual bike ride that was able to raise hundreds of pounds for Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign.

Using the Zwift training set up, cyclists from as far as Germany were able to take part in cycling through a virtual world for a good cause, with the club looking to use the set up for future fundraising events.

Zwift is a multiplayer cycling and running training programme that works by having users placing the back wheel of their bike on a roller that is connected to Zwift via Bluetooth. The Zwift app then displays your virtual avatar which will be cycling at a speed determined by how fast the roller is turning under the wheel.

A screenshot of North Fylde Foundation Chair John Bamford’s virtual avatar while he was taking part in the event.

In the ride organised by North Fylde Rotary, participants were able to ride alongside each other’s avatars up a volcano in the fantasy land of Watopia.

John Bamford, Rotary Foundation Chair for the Rotary Club of North Fylde, explained further: “What makes it fun is that, courtesy of the internet, the screen displays all other nearby cyclist. This makes it possible for cyclists in different geographical locations to ride together in a virtual world.”

The group ride organised by the club included participants from Poulton le Fylde, London, Bournemouth, Bristol, and Frankfurt, Germany.

Additionally, John had previously invited friends, family and his fellow Rotarians to take on individual rides using his Zwift set up at home.

Overall, the club raised £850 for End Polio now through virtual cycling events and is already planning their next virtual charity bike ride for 4th February 2024.