Tips for Finding the Best Virtual Cycling Apps


In the past few years, Virtual cycling has gained a lot of popularity. Virtual cycling apps have come onto the market because many people are unable to get out on the roads because of weather, unsafe infrastructure, and a lack of time.

The initial step towards virtual cycling is finding the best app that makes one feel like they are actually cycling in the real world. However, there are so many alternatives that it is challenging to decide which app may be more suitable for you. To help make your decision easier, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Evaluate your goals.

Think before downloading any application for virtual cycling. What do you want to achieve? Need detailed analytics for race training? Maybe it is that you want to experience casual riding on your favorite real-world courses. List a few of the most important things, and let them be your compass for the search. To get the best experience, use personalized and customizable apps that are based on your fitness goals.

  • Consider Compatibility

On the next level, you should think about compatibility, which refers to devices and third-party sensors. Be sure that the app either comes on your trainer already or can be downloaded onto the devices you are intending to use. The app will be more useful if it can directly connect to third-party sensors like heart rate monitors and cadence sensors that will provide more performance parameters. For instance, having your heart rate on live display while doing intense interval sessions takes your training to a different level.

  • Compare Key Features

In your quest to find the perfect virtual cycling app, you’ll also want to compare the key features between the top contenders. Consider factors like route variety, training programs, social interaction capabilities, gaming options, and more. The best apps give you diverse landscapes to explore, built-in workouts to follow, multiplayer modes to ride with others, and engaging gaming elements to stay motivated. Think about which features align best with the type of experience you want.

  • Take advantage of free trials.

Before committing to a paid subscription to any virtual cycling app, first take advantage of any free trials or demo options offered. Most apps will give you limited access for a few days or a couple weeks, so you can test everything out. This gives you a risk-free way to get a feel for the user interface, route quality, workout options, and how much you enjoy using the app over an extended period of time. Downloading 2-3 of your top picks to compare across free trials is extremely useful before deciding.

  • Read plenty of reviews.

Of course, no review beats trying an app for yourself on your personal equipment. But reading through reviews from other users also provides valuable insight. Look across multiple review websites and forums to see the common pros and cons raised by existing users. This helps give you reasonable expectations for each app you’re considering. Pay extra attention to any recurring complaints about bugs, lags, or hardware connectivity issues that could hamper enjoyment.

  • Prioritize a supportive community.

In addition to reviews, also research the community around each virtual cycling app option. The best apps have an engaged community of users sharing route recommendations, training tips, and encouragement during events and challenges. A supportive online community enhances enjoyment and keeps you motivated over the long run, even when riding solo. Before choosing an app, browse online groups to get a sense of the community culture.

  • Consider ongoing costs.

While many virtual cycling apps offer free, limited trial periods, most require a paid subscription for full, ongoing access. These subscriptions span a wide range of price points, from a few dollars per month up to $20 or more, depending on features. Assess what budget works for you, but recognize that paying more gives you greater route options, a bigger library of training plans, and more customization. Think about what price aligns with how often you anticipate riding virtually to maximize value.

  • Weigh a Variety of Viewing Options

To get the most realistic and immersive experience, you want clear graphics and smooth video. When researching apps, look into viewing options like first-person perspective, live video footage, or computer-generated landscapes. Consider the required internet speed for live streaming video and augmented reality features, if offered. Faster internet and the latest app updates give the best quality, but even basic apps work well for casual riding with a static picture.

  • Assess data tracking and sharing capabilities.

Lastly, determine how in-depth you want app tracking and sharing capabilities for your virtual cycling workouts. The best apps give you options to automatically sync data with fitness devices, share maps and distances across social channels, and export extensive performance analytics. If competition drives you, consider an app’s leaderboard functions or ability to organize group challenges. Identifying these technical preferences helps match you with the ideal app.

  • Evaluate multi-sport capabilities.

If you enjoy cycling but also want to mix in other sports like running or swimming, consider a virtual training app with multi-sport capabilities. Some apps only focus on cycling, while others allow you to choose from a range of activities. The best multi-sport apps will connect to compatible smart trainers, treadmills, and other devices to simulate an outdoor experience across disciplines. They’ll also give you the flexibility to program intervals and brick workouts that transition between different sports. For athletes training for duathlons or triathlons, for example, using one app for both cycling and running makes training more streamlined. Before deciding on a cycling-specific app, research if any multi-sport options could better support your cross-training needs overall.


With virtual cycling continuing to grow in popularity, more apps promise an immersive riding experience right from home. Finding one that is perfect for you takes some upfront research across key considerations like costs, route variety, training options, viewing quality, and community engagement. Prioritizing your goals and personal preferences and then taking full advantage of free trials gives you the best shot at long-term enjoyment as you embrace virtual riding. Don’t settle on the first app you try; evaluate multiple options to find the top virtual cycling apps, against these tips until you find your best fit.