Smart Trainer Ride Checklist

author : alicefoeller
comments : 3

Checklist and startup order for smart trainer (Zwift, KICKR SNAP, Garmin & Apple)

If you've taken interest in smart trainers for bikes and the virtual reality rides that go with them, you may have found yourself carting a pile of electronics and gear to your trainer. You also might have become frustrated with the technology bugs and barriers.

Here at BeginnerTriathlete, we'll begin sharing our ride setups, and how we start a smart trainer ride to avoid technology problems and mechanical issues. Even if your gear is slightly different, you're likely to learn something from each member's setup and checklist.

My Indoor Training Setup

Bike: Felt DA, using an extra wheel that has a tire designed for use on a trainer. (This keeps my outdoor wheel from taking a beating, reduces flat tires on road rides, and saves time since changing out the wheel is a lot faster than changing the tire.)

Trainer: KICKR SNAP. This is the wheel-on version of the KICKR smart trainer from Wahoo. If I didn't already have a spare wheel with a trainer tire, I might have spent the extra money for the more accurate KICKR Power Trainer.

Heart Rate, Cadence, Watch: Garmin. Garmin uses ANT+ technology to transmit data, which becomes important in the setup.

Devices: Apple iPhone and MacBook Pro. I use the iPhone to do the spindown calibration test on the Wahoo app, and after that I really only use it to listen to music. I could use the Zwift app to talk to others and choose my turns, but I find I rarely use those functions.

My Gear List for Indoor Riding

These are the items I gather before I head to the basement:

  • Laptop with power cord (Zwift uses a lot of battery)

  • Phone

  • Full water bottles

  • Bag of electronic sensors, USB dongles, etc.

  • Garmin

  • Tire pump

My "Order of Operations" for Setup

Plugging in

  1. Plug in laptop power cord

  2. Plug in ANT+ USB dongle to allow my laptop to receive information from the Garmin cadence sensor and heart rate sensor

  3. Plug in smart trainer to wall outlet

  4. Plug in earbuds (wired) because if I try to use Bluetooth for music, it interferes with the Bluetooth data transmitting from the trainer to the laptop

Bike Setup

  1. Clamp bike in trainer and pump up tire to 120 PSI

  2. Tighten trainer onto wheel

  3. Complete "Calibration Spindown" on Wahoo Utility. This ensures that the variables in tire pressure and tightness of flywheel don't impact my workout on Zwift.

Power Up Order

This order works for me and avoids the problems and bugs I have if I power up in a different order.

  1. Turn on Garmin watch and get to the "Press Start" screen but don't press start. This wakes up the sensors and has them transmit through the ANT+ dongle.

  2. Turn on Zwift application on laptop

  3. Choose course or customize interval workout

  4. Turn on music on iPhone

  5. Press start on Zwift and Garmin



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date: June 30, 2018


Owner at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.


Owner at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.

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