For tonight’s birthday ride I decided – at the very last minute – to switch out from my scheduled Zwift FTP Builder active recovery ride to instead, cycle into Amsterdam through the Tacx Software.
An easy ride that Starts with the local cyclist’s favourite countryside polder based lap called the Ronde Hoep and finishing with a meander around the riverside streets and alleyways of Amsterdam.Tacx Software – Amsterdam City Trip
I went into this ride with the intention of doing roughly what I’d have done in Zwift – stick to around 140w and aim for ~95rpm.
At 35km I figured I’d be done in just over an hour.
Activating my new 30 day premium voucher, I got into the app and selected Amsterdam – a route I’ve done before, but not with much success.
However, since then I’ve used the Tacx Software a few times and had better luck. Tonight I wasn’t expecting any problems.
Unfortunately, I did have some.
Before I get to the issue I faced, I should cover the gist of this route.
It’s predominantly very flat, more so than anything I’ve ridden on Zwift. About the only comparable ride on Zwift is Fuego Flats, but even that has some small inclines every 10km or so. This was flat for very long stretches at a time, and with only 40m of climb in 35km, felt unusual to me.
One really nice thing about some of the Tacx Software rides is they make use of one of the coolest features of the Tacx Neo 2 – the real feel road feel.
In other words, when you see cobbles on screen, you feel cobble wobbles in your pedals. When you see gravel, you feel the crunch under your feet with each revolution. It’s a very cool and immersive feature.
You can see on the right side of the screen – those little circles – those are the Pedal Stroke Analysis feature. This is really cool, and when you go over different surface types, you can see how much that distorts your pedal stroke.
About 10km into the ride I noticed that my heart rate was not being tracked.
Unlike in Zwift where you can quickly scan for any unconnected devices, in Tacx Software it doesn’t appear that simple.
I decided I’d have a quick play around and try to find the menu option.
Unfortunately – somehow – I managed to kill the app entirely.
This was really frustrating.
It should be possible to access menus and so on mid-ride without the whole thing crashing to desktop.
Now, fortunately, one saving grace is that the software does remember the point where your ride ended. Sort of.
It took me about 4 attempts to get it so that I could resume – roughly – where I’d left off. But in the end I managed it. During this time I completely lost my rythym, and by the time I’d got back into my workout I felt like I was starting again. My legs had stiffened up, and even the sweat had started to dry up. Bit of a fail.
From this point on, I made sure not to touch anything further.
Somewhat frustratingly, my heart rate monitor still wouldn’t sync up. Not sure what went wrong here. I gave up worrying about it.
During this second half of the ride I definitely found myself pushing a bit harder.
The truth is, the ride was taking a bit longer than I had planned, and I really wanted to get out of the country side bit and into the city.
It was really cool to head into Amsterdam.
I’ve been a number of times to Amsterdam, and have found myself lost on numerous occasions. For once, getting a guided tour meant there was zero stress on that front. Also the weather was glorious. I’m fairly sure every time I’ve been it has either been raining or snowing.
There really was a lot to see on screen at any one point.
Aside from the various landmarks that the on-screen prompt would occasionally call out, there was also tons of people and fellow cyclists to see. Cars were everywhere – and earlier on in the ride I’d noticed a little black car nearly knocking over the video cyclist as he rode along. Bloody motorists.
The 40m of climb on this ride came in the form of numerous little hump bridges crossing over canals. If you’ve ever been to the Netherlands then likely you have encountered these iconic paths and road ways.
It really made me want to hit the route for real.
About the final 10km of this ride was through the city. There was a lot to see, and I started to recognise more and more of it as I pedaled deeper into the heart of the city.
This was cool as it really helped take my mind of the work. As mentioned I’d started to go perhaps a little too hard for a recovery ride, going closer to 150w rather than the expected 140w.
Along the way we visited parts of the infamous Red Light District – I noticed one thing here: it was filthy. Litter everywhere. Sad times.
And really rather quickly we came to Amsterdam Central Station.
Now, in real life, when coming out of the station I’ve always thought that the city seemed massive. But on a bike, we were zipping along at a fine old pace. It really made me reassess just how small the heart of the city really is.
With only a few kilometers left we took a tour of some parts of the city I was less familiar with. I’ve definitely walked down those streets, but not frequently.
I was trying to do a bit of cool down by this point. Tea was nearly ready, and I still needed my shower.
Perhaps I’d let myself get a little carried away on this one.
With the unscheduled break thrown in, I’d spent about 1.5 hours on the bike, and done about 600 calories of work.
Some recovery ride :/
Fortunately the video recording facility worked much better on this ride.
Interestingly I streamed this ride. On Sunday, during the climb of Col des Glieres I’d used the downloaded 720p video. In that instance I got a lot of stuttering on the playback. I’m wondering if somehow streaming makes for a better experience when it comes to recording. It certainly didn’t look quite as clear to me whilst riding.
OK, so that’s the ride done and dusted. And that’s me off the bike tomorrow, for sure.
I’m fairly pleased that I got to complete this ride, and am getting close to being ready to write a proper full review of the Tacx Software at this point.
Until then, ride on!