ONELAP: INDOOR CYCLING FOR FREE?
As the weather gets colder and the dark nights draw on, the time has arrived to start thinking about training indoors. The dreaded indoors; bike clamped onto the turbo trainer, staring at a brick wall and sweating through another workout.
It doesn't have to be like that anymore though, there are more options these days, with the advent of interactive trainers like the Tacx Neo, Wahoo Kickr and Cyclops Hammer. Paired with great apps such as Zwift, Trainerroad, Rouvy and The Sufferfest - indoor training is a lot more bearable than it once was. Some might even say it’s become enjoyable.
But what if you don't want to pay a monthly subscription for your winter training? Well this is cycling-bargains.co.uk, looking for a good deal is why you visit this website. And there are free options out there, one in particular that this post will focus on: Onelap.
Created by the makers of the Gravat indoor trainer, Onelap is a free virtual reality cycling app. It has a fictional map with 161km of roads, separated into ten selectable routes, where you can free ride or complete workouts. There is also a velodrome option, with the ability to create and enter races. It's available on Windows, Android and iOS (although the iOS version seems to be region locked).
Just like the majority of other training apps, Onelap supports ANT+ smart trainers for the full controllable experience, there is also the option to pair a power meter and you can even just use speed & cadence sensors for virtual power. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an option to choose or edit the power curve when using virtual power, so the power estimate should definitely be seen as just a rough estimate.
The Android app has all the same features as the Windows version, the only difference being that is supports Bluetooth connections instead of ANT+.
As well as the option to free ride any of the ten routes, Onelap also offers a multitude of structured training plans. These plans include a 6 Week FTP Builder, an 8 Week 200KM Endurance Plan and assortment of Aerobic and Time Trial specific plans. All of the workouts can be completed on the map and support the use of erg mode when using a Smart Trainer. Unfortunately, Virtual Power isn’t supported in workout mode, so you’ll need either a Smart Trainer or a Power Meter. The option to create your own workouts is also included, Onelap has its own workout creator on their website, which is usable but not the best. Another option is to create or download a workout from the brilliant ergdb.org and upload the workout via the Onelap website, just remember to use the .mrc file format and use steps instead of ramps when creating workouts. As Onelap doesn’t appear to support ramped workouts.
Another feature, hidden away under the peculiar heading of ‘Field Game’, is the Velodrome. In this mode, there is the ability to create or join two types of races with up to 12 riders per race. It’s a bit basic at the moment, but there is definitely potential for this mode to be expanded to support more race types.
OTHER FEATURES & ODDITIES
Since Onelap is completely free, its to be expected that its not yet perfect, but it certainly is stable and usable. The English translation isn’t the best, and certain parts of the game aren’t translated at all, such as the workout descriptions and the Events page. But with the help of the Google Translate app and a bit of guessing, it’s not too difficult to get to grips with the way the app works and how to access most of its features. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way though:
When you’ve finished a ride or workout, you’ll more than likely want the .fit file to upload to Strava or Garmin Connect to analyse and keep track of your training. Unlike Zwift and other apps, Onelap doesn’t have the option to export .fit files to your chosen service. Instead, you’ll need to head on over to http://u.onelap.cn/analysis and download the .fit file from there.
When you’ve finished riding and find yourself back at the main menu screen, you may struggle to quit the app at first. The best way to do it, is to go to the Settings symbol in the bottom left corner and then choose ‘Exit to the’ option. Exit to the where? To the desktop is what I assume it is meant to say.
To upload your own workouts, you’ll need to navigate to http://u.onelap.cn/calendar and click on the ‘Upload’ option in the top left, upload your .mrc file (.erg files don’t seem to work once uploaded in my experience) and then head back into the Onelap app. You’ll find your uploaded workout in the ‘Training’ tab and then under the ‘My Training’ option in the top left.
When following a training plan, the app doesn’t keep track of your progress, so you will have to navigate and select the next workout manually and make sure to keep track of where you are up to in the plan to avoid missing workouts or even accidentally completing the same workout more than once.
Most of the above issues should be pretty easy to resolve, whether or not they will be is another matter, but none of them are more than minor annoyances.
While Onelap is not ready to be a complete replacement for Zwift or any other paid training apps, it is certainly worth trying for the low price of nothing a month.
To try it out, head on over to http://www.onelap.cn/login.html?url= to sign up and download the app. I’d recommend using Google Chrome to sign up, so you can use the built-in translator to translate the website and make signing up easier.