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  • Monday, November 21, 2022 12:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EVCC Zwift Virtual Rides

    Contributions by Heather Opseth, Bob Westlake, Mike Haden, Darren Bender

    Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or would like to help co-ordinate virtual rides.

    This article covers the following:

    What is Zwift?

    With winter at our doorstep, it’s time to consider options for staying active over the winter. We don’t need to put our bikes away, we just need to bring them inside and train on them over the winter. In recent years, several new virtual cycling applications have become quite popular, helping to keep cyclists motivated in their training – far better than hours of watching old reruns or catching up on your Twitter feed while cycling indoors.

    Zwift is just one of several virtual cycling applications to choose from, turning your basement workouts into an interactive web-based experience with thousands of other riders from around the world. It features a multitude of gamified elements that encourage you to ride longer and harder, with the goal of increasing your fitness. The benefits are many, including

    • Cycling fitness maintenance
    • Endurance or power improvements
    • Working on pedal stroke efficiency in a stable, consistent environment
    • Structured workouts

    Other than Zwift, several of the applications display real roads and real venues as you cycle, at the pace at which you’re riding. The first-person view is lifelike and the applications enable you to “ride” many classic climbs and tours in the world that we likely haven’t visited. Applications like Fulgaz, Rouvy, Tacx Training App, and Kinomap fall into this category.

    Zwift is more like a computer game, with avatars of real people around the world, all cycling in a virtual world at the same time. It’s all about community, with races, group rides, group workouts, free rides, several virtual worlds, plenty of challenges, and it’s quite engaging as a result. It is the EVCC’s platform of choice due to its great community, group riding features, and number of users.

    Using Zwift as our platform, the EVCC is pleased to offer to its members group rides on this virtual cycling application during the winter season. These group rides are posted in our regular event schedule during the winter season, are hosted by trip coordinators from the club, and provide an opportunity for club members on Zwift or new to Zwift to join in on group rides to stay connected and motivated through the winter months.

    Helpful Resources:

    What is required to ride on Zwift?

    You’ll need:

    ·         A “smart” cycle trainer OR a “dumb” trainer with a power meter and/or speed sensor on your wheel

    ·         A desktop computer, tablet, or mobile device

    ·         The Zwift application installed

    A “smart” cycle trainer can be controlled by the Zwift application to provide resistance in line with the terrain on which you're “riding”. It also accurately senses and responds to your power wattage output. A “dumb” trainer can’t be controlled by the application but can, with the use of a speed sensor and/or power meter, provide speed and/or power feedback to the application.

    Which devices can you run Zwift on? Just about everything – your PC, Mac, tablet, or phone. For best results, you’ll want a relatively modern (but not necessarily the absolute latest) model of one of these. Obviously, the larger the screen, the better (more immersive) the experience. Most Zwift users use either their tablet or their desktop computer to run the application.

    Some of us use a desktop computer and then mount our tablet or phone on our bikes so that we can use other apps at the same time (see our notes on the Zwift Companion app and the Discord app below). Others mount the tablet on or in front of their bike so that it’s accessible and use that for Zwift and other apps at the same time.

    Either way, don’t forget to have ready access to water bottles (hydration obviously), a fan (to cool you down), a towel (to keep you dry), and maybe headphones.

    Helpful Resources:

    How will the club use Zwift over the winter?

    In the winter of 2021/2022, our only option on Zwift was to use a ‘meetup’ feature in which an EVCC ride coordinator invited other riders for a ‘meetup’ on Zwift. In order for you to receive an invite from the ride coordinator, you need to ‘follow’ the ride coordinator in Zwift. For more on this, see ‘How do I follow someone in Zwift?’ below.

    During 2022, Zwift released a new feature - Zwift Clubs. Much like real-world cycling clubs, they let Zwifters organize themselves into groups, then take part in group rides together. There is now a Zwift Club for the real-life Elbow Valley Cycle Club that you can join to be notified of Zwift group rides specific to EVCC. For these rides, it is not necessary to ‘follow’ a ride coordinator, but you should join the ‘Elbow Valley Cycle Club’ within ‘Clubs’ in Zwift and then join the posted rides within the Zwift club.

    Whether it’s a meetup or a group ride in the Zwift club, we will continue to send out email notifications from the EVCC calendar, and you should still register for the event as you would a summer-time ride which helps us track the level of interest in winter Zwift rides. For “meetup” rides, we’ll be sending an invitation for the event to all of the Zwift accounts we have on record for EVCC members so keep your eye on your Zwift account for invites. Ahead of any group rides, we’ll also be putting notifications up on the EVCC Zwift club and the EVCC Strava club.

    HELPFUL RESOURCES

    OK, so how do I join an EVCC group ride?

    If you are brand new to Zwift, please test your equipment and software and complete some solo rides before joining a group ride, well before the scheduled group ride. Please contact the ride coordinator several days in advance if you need help – we d love to help, but it s really hard for us to provide significant tech support at the time of the group ride.

    First, register for an event in the EVCC calendar as per a usual EVCC event.

    The trip coordinator may announce that the scheduled group ride is a Zwift “meetup” ride. In that case, the trip coordinator will ask you to “follow” them in Zwift and they will provide their name in Zwift. If you don’t “follow” them, they can’t invite you to the meetup ride. ( That’s just a requirement of Zwift presently - it’s a personal meetup so it’s by invitation only. See How do I follow someone in Zwift?below for more details. ) When that s done, the trip coordinator will add you to the Zwift group ride and Zwift will notify you with a “meetup” invitation in-game.

    Alternately, the trip coordinator will announce that the scheduled group ride is an EVCC Zwift Club ride. In that case, you don’t have to “follow” the trip coordinator in Zwift. However, you do have to join the “Elbow Valley Cycle Club” Zwift Club, and then join the group ride from there by reviewing the list of ‘Club Events’. Select the relevant group ride and hit the ‘+’ symbol to join the ride.

    Before the group ride starts, launch Zwift and test out your bike setup to make sure that the setup between your trainer, bike and the Zwift application is working well.

    Before the ride begins in Zwift, everyone on the group ride will be brought to the start point automatically by Zwift. The trip coordinator will have picked out a route in Zwift (which will be listed in the event details) and the group will start from the beginning of that route.

    At the pre-determined start time, we ll be off! (You have 30 minutes grace to join the group if you happen to be late. Often it s a technical issue with the device/trainer connection that can foul you up just when you re rushing to join the event.)

    HELPFUL RESOURCES:

        How to Join a Zwift Club

    How do I follow someone in Zwift?

    To follow a trip coordinator in Zwift, you can use either the Zwift Companion app or your account on Zwift.com. We could spell it all out here, but we think that Zwift has done a pretty good job of it on their support page for “Managing Followers”.

    What is the Zwift Companion app?

    The Zwift Companion app is a mobile app available for Apple iOS or Google Android mobile devices. The app gives you access to on-the-go features such as signing up for events and interacting with Clubs. When using the Zwift Companion app alongside Zwift, the app makes it easy to chat, control some of your actions in-game, and follow your route with the built-in map—plus a whole lot more! 

    HELPFUL RESOURCES

    What is Discord?

    Discord is a voice, video, and text chat app that's used by tens of millions of people to talk and hang out with their communities and friends.

    In some of our group rides, members choose to use Discord so that they can chat to other members on the ride instead of simply texting each other in-game on Zwift.

    It’s optional, but to do this, you need to have the Discord app installed on your mobile device prior to the ride. ( Figure out the installation and the app setup well in advance of any EVCC group ride on Zwift, please. )

    Then, join the EVCC Discord channel within the app. The link to the EVCC channel is https://discord.gg/ZPxHS982y3 but you can also search for EVCC in the Discord application.

    HELPFUL RESOURCES

        What is Discord

        Discord Basics

    Wrapping Up

    We hope that this provides a good starting point if you’re interested in joining EVCC group rides on Zwift this winter season. The application and the virtual community that it has generated in the past several years has made a big difference to a lot of cyclists in their off-season training routine. The reaction of seasoned veterans, when they have begun to cycle in-game, has been quite positive - many of them are surprised by the reality of the in-game “feel” of pushing hard up hills, rolling over the tops and dropping into long downhill grades, or perhaps even having a little “small-c competition” with a fellow Zwifter in another country. For some of us in the club, it’s a great way to continue to ride together through the off season, and we hope that you’ll consider joining us on more virtual group rides this winter.


  • Monday, October 31, 2022 8:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How to adapt a ‘dumb’ trainer for virtual riding

    Contributed by Claude Paré

    As the outdoor season comes to an end many riders are looking at extending their season with indoor cycling. The popularity of online cycling software has made it fun and easy to join others or to train by yourself in an interactive cycling environment. This article focuses on how to use your old indoor trainer to connect to the world of online cycling.

    There are two types of trainers that can be used with online cycling software: the classic “dumb” trainer and the more technologically advanced “smart trainer”.

    What is a smart trainer? A smart trainer is any trainer where the resistance can be controlled by software. A dumb trainer can be described as one where the resistance is controlled manually.

    Having a dumb trainer doesn’t mean you can’t use online cycling software to ride with your friends. What it does mean is that you won’t feel a change in resistance as the terrain changes. Online cycling software uses power output to calculate your speed based on the virtual terrain. A dumb trainer can only estimate your power using your speed as an input while a smart trainer can directly measure your power output and modify the resistance. Since the software cannot change the resistance on a dumb trainer, it modifies the speed calculated by the software to simulate the change in speed you encounter while riding on a changing terrain and allows you to be in sync with other riders.

    Making your dumb trainer smarter

    So how can you use an old-style dumb trainer on an online cycling platform? In order to register power and calculate speed, the software needs to receive data wirelessly from sensors on your bike via either ANT+ or Bluetooth protocols so you need an ANT+ or Bluetooth enabled speed sensor. Adding an ANT+ or Bluetooth cadence sensor and heart rate monitor will display more information but is not essential. Most newer sensors support both Bluetooth and ANT+ while older ones might only support ANT+. Finally, some are proprietary and will only connect with the head unit, often called the “bike computer”, and therefore will not work for online cycling. If you have a Garmin or similar sensors that transmit data via ANT+ or Bluetooth as well as a dumb trainer, you are pretty much good to go. Sensors for speed or optional cadence are readily available at any local bike store for around $60 for either speed or cadence sensors. There are many manufacturers of sensors but the most common locally available and reputable brands are Wahooand Garmin. You bike store can help you with selection.


    A final option to connect online is to use a power meter whose output measured in watts can be used directly used by the software and therefore provides the greatest accuracy. The caveat is that unless you already own one or desperately want one, the price range for power meters is similar to that of smart trainers ($600-$1,800) and you won’t get the benefits of a smart trainer. Similar to other sensors, power meters support either Bluetooth or ANT+ protocols or both.

    Since the connection between your bicycle’s sensors and your computer or mobile device is established using either ANT+ or Bluetooth protocols, you will need your device, whether it is your laptop, desktop, tablet, cell phone or the newest version of Apple TV, to support either protocol. Fortunately, most new computers as well as all mobile devices have built-in Bluetooth. If you have an older computer, you can purchase an adapter called an ANT dongle to connect your ANT+ sensors to your computer’s USB port. ANT donglesare available in local bike store for around $60. All brands of dongles are similar in functions and interchangeable.

    The last step is to preset your trainer’s resistance based on the online platform requirements. This only needs to be done once. If your old trainer is not in the supported trainers list of your favourite online platform, do not despair as this also can be estimated but you will once again lose accuracy.

    So, if you have a bike and an old trainer, all you should need is a supported speed sensor or power meter and a computer or mobile device and you can join your friends online and enjoy year-round cycling.

    Helpful resources:

    If you are thinking of joining club rides on Zwift or simply want to know more about setting up for online cycling, these links to ZwiftInsider have tons of great info to get you started.


    Happy roads and living rooms!


  • Wednesday, June 15, 2022 3:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thinking of cycling in an around Banff this weekend?  Please read the following:

    SUNDAY, JUNE 19, 2022 8:00am – 3:30pm FULL ROAD/TRAIL CLOSURES ➢ Bow Valley Parkway from Trans-Canada Highway (easterly access) to Johnston Canyon Campground ➢ Vermilion Lakes Road and Legacy Trail (west) from Lynx Street west to the Bow Valley Parkway The Banff Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K will take place on Sunday, June 19th and include runners of all abilities. The focus of the event is on community, Park stewardship and sustainability. The Banff Marathon is partnering with the YWCA Banff, where all fundraising efforts will be put towards valuable services in the community. We invite everyone to visit the free Health and Fitness Expo on Bear Street on Friday and Saturday and the free Kid’s Run on Saturday at the Banff Community High School. In order to allow for emergency vehicles, and keep the runners and volunteers safe, the Legacy Trail (west of Banff), Vermilion Lakes Road and eastern section of the Bow Valley Parkway will be closed from 8:00am to 3:30pm (please note that the Bow Valley Parkway is also closed before 8:00am for the seasonal wildlife closure). This closure occurs each year for the event (there are no changes from previous years). The following trails / roads are not affected and available as alternative routes: - Legacy Trail (from Canmore to Banff) - Bow Valley Parkway from Johnston Canyon westbound to Lake Louise (via Castle Junction) - Lake Minnewanka Drive / Scenic Loop - All routes available starting at 3:30pm Thank you in advance for working with us to make this a safe and enjoyable experience for locals and visitors alike, and for helping to protect the wildlife in Banff National Park. Your understanding and cooperation is greatly appreciated.

    FOR MORE INFO: www.BanffMarathon.com

  • Monday, January 31, 2022 10:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EVCC is selling surplus equipment used for hosting multi-day* events.  The prices are per item or best offer.  We will to make this equipment available for pickup before the end of February.  See .pdf file in this posting

    Please contact Tony (tonylamb386@gmail.com) or Don (donhol@nucleus.com) if interested.

    *We are still running multi-day events, but we have too much equipment.

    See attached for listing of items and prices.

    Surplus Equipment for sale.pdf


  • Tuesday, January 25, 2022 1:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wanted: Graphic designer for brand and marketing project

    January 2022

    We are the Elbow Valley Cycle Club (EVCC), the largest recreational bike club in Western Canada. We offer good exercise, friendship and fun for hundreds of members with approximately 250 events each year.  

    After almost 40 years of operation, we think it’s time to update our brand and logo to better reflect the vibrant club we are today. A strong brand will strengthen our marketing efforts to attract new members and enhance the sense of community with our existing members.

    Our new look will be implemented on all our club communications, social media and club gear such as bike jerseys.  

    The opportunity:

    • We’re looking for a creative and talented graphic designer with strong artistic skills.
    • You’ll help us develop a new logo with visual appeal, and other brand elements such as a consistent colour palette and fonts.
    • We’d also like guidance for implementing and sustaining the brand effectively.

    Skills required:

    • Knowledge of branding and marketing strategies
    • Graphic design and illustration skills
    • Digital communications expertise, e.g., social media
    • Collaborative approach to work with our branding committee effectively

    Certification or education required:

    • Education related to graphic design, arts, marketing and/or communication is preferred

    Time commitment:

    • 3-4 months part-time project
    • Expected to be few hours a week on average, depending on how much time you need to develop design concepts (more work up front for initial designs)
    • A small number of evening meetings with our committee

    Why get involved with this project?

    • Work with our branding committee – an experienced group of communications, marketing, strategy and design professionals
    • Share our passion for fun, fitness and the great outdoors
    • Earn a $500 honorarium as thanks for your contributions to our club
    • We will also promote your name/business on our website, social media channels and other club communications

    Interested?

    Please contact us to express your interest and ask any questions you have about the project.

    If you’d like us to consider you for our team, we will ask for:

    • Resume or bio outlining your skills and experience
    • Cover letter letting us know why you’re interested in working with us
    • Work samples that showcase your talents and skills

    Contact information:

    Deadline: We will accept expressions of interest until February 15, 2022.

    Thanks for your interest in the EVCC.

    Please share this opportunity with others in your network!


  • Sunday, October 10, 2021 10:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    President’s Fall Message

    As we celebrate Thanksgiving weekend, the leaves are falling and the days have turned crisper, giving a special energy to our cycling adventures.     It is a great time to reflect on another successful summer even in the face of unprecedented heat, smoke and more Covid.   I am very thankful for all the great volunteers in this club and the members who just love to get out on their bikes and enjoy such a healthy activity with others.  

    Thanks to all the coordinators who posted a great variety of rides and a special thanks to Tanya Colwell, who steered the ship with the coordinators, always looking for ways to provide excellent programming for the members.   Heather Opseth and Tanya developed some great themes to keep things interesting all through the season, starting with the Spring Fling in April and culminating with the “In case you missed it” (ICYMI) and Fall Colours in September.   They also encouraged second waves of popular rides to allow more participants.   

    We were finally able to hold a multi-day ride in September, with all participants being double vaccinated.  Thanks to Don Hollingshead for coordinating and organizing this great event at the Cowichan Valley/Gulf Islands.

    A big thank-you also goes to all the executive committee members who keep things going behind he scenes to provide a great experience for everyone.    

    Let’s keep riding as long as weather permits, then get ready for winter activities just around the corner!  We will be looking for coordinators to lead snowshoeing, x-country skiing, winter hiking and winter biking.   If you have not coordinated before, here is your chance!   Just contact Tanya Colwell for more information. 

    Stay safe and healthy,

    Maria


  • Friday, August 13, 2021 9:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Do you love riding the 1A highway from BANFF to Castle Junction without cars?  Here is your opportunity to provide feedback to Parks Canada.  

    Parks Canada is asking for public feedback on making that slightly shorter closure a regular occurrence, but limited to the spring and fall.

    Two options are being looked at:

    • Closing the section of highway for seven days a week in May, June, September and October for a total of 122 days.
    • Closing it only two days a week (weekends only) in May, June, September and October for a total of 36 days.

    Feedback can be submitted by email to opinion@canada.ca or by regular mail to:

    Banff Superintendent
    Box 900 Banff, AB
    T1L 1K2

    The public review period is open until Sept. 9.

    Here is the whole story on cbc website: 

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/cyclists-bow-valley-parkway-feedback-1.6127928

  • Thursday, July 01, 2021 2:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Alberta will be going into Stage 3 of their Summer reopening plan on July 1st, which calls for removing most Covid restrictions.   EVCC will also be removing most restrictions, but we encourage members to proceed with caution.

    Here are the key points regarding EVCC Covid policies, as of July 1st.

    Single day trips without shuttles will have no Covid restrictions, except that riders are asked not to come if they are feeling any illness or covid-like symptoms, or should be quarantining.  If a ride includes a shuttle, all participants should be fully vaccinated. (2 doses) 

    Event participants will respect those who still may wish to practice social distancing.  

    Coordinators will continue to have the discretion to determine the size of their groups. 

    Riders can carpool at their own discretion but we recommend that people are fully vaccinated (2 doses). 

    If you are entering buildings within the City of Calgary, please note that the mask bylaw will still be in place until at least July 5th.  

    Multi-day trips will be permitted but we ask that participants are fully vaccinated.  (2 doses)   BC is planning to open their border to Canada wide travel on July 1st, but they may still have some other Covid measures in place, so please respect their rules.   Coordinators of multi-day trips may still want to have contingency plans in case Covid flares up again. 

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. 

    Let's enjoy the summer!

    EVCC Executive


  • Friday, June 11, 2021 2:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Good News!  Alberta has entered Stage 2 of the reopening plan and as of today, there are new rules that will apply for outdoor activities and gatherings. (as taken from AHS website)   Stronger public health measures | Alberta.ca

    Please note that there are some points in their list that may seem contradictory, but these are the points we will follow.

    • Outdoor social gatherings – up to 20 people with distancing (indoor social gatherings still not permitted)
    • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect

    EVCC will now allow ride postings of up to 20 people, including the coordinator. Two metre distance is still required at all times.  Please note that most coordinators will likely opt to keep their rides to a smaller size and EVCC fully supports this. We will continue to look for waitlists that are growing and then recruit a second coordinator so we can run two smaller rides instead of one large one.  

    In the parking lot, tailgates and conversations are permitted as long as there are no more than 20 people and they are all at least 2 metres apart.  Twenty people may be a challenge in many parking areas so please do not overcrowd them.  Please continue to carry a mask. gloves and sanitizer in case you are working with someone to fix a bike.  

    Multiday rides may be held only if there are no more than 20 people and there is no occasion when people will be gathering together indoors without masks and distancing.  Since rules will likely change again by early July, we will keep you posted on this. 

    Let's look forward to a great summer!


  • Thursday, May 27, 2021 8:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Good News!  Alberta Health Services has announced Stage 1 of summer opening will start on June 1st!  This means that outdoor groups of 10 people will once again be permitted, as long as there is social distancing.     

    As a result, EVCC will start posting rides up to 10 people for June 1st or later. Thanks to all the coordinators who have been waiting to start posting again!

    We will keep you informed when we are able to increase the size of rides beyond 10 people.   AHS is currently predicting that will happen later in June, depending on vaccination and hospital rates.

    See you out there!


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