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Connecting a Concept2 Rower to Zwift using a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W.

TL;DR It works! It’s called go-row-cycle and you can get it at

Despite there being an appetite for rowing in Zwift the fact is a rowing machine is not a bicycle and you cannot connect a Concept2 rower directly to Zwift. The only way it seems for rowers to be officially accepted in Watopia is for rowing to be implemented proper. Good luck with that!

But people do row in Zwift; how? To get the data from the rowers 'computer' into something Zwift recognises as a bicycle you need a device in the middle, a bridge that sits between the rower and whatever device is running Zwift.

Now there are solutions already available to do this. Some are expensive like the NPE CABLE which you can buy for about £90 in the UK (too steep for me). And some are free (of sorts) like RowedBiker, an iOS or Android app. RowedBiker is probably a good option for most people, but you do need need a spare compatible device (one you are not already using for Zwift). There a variety of other homebrew projects, some with cables or ANT+ dongles but they seemed clumsy and again I’d have to buy more stuff.

I didn't have a spare device that would work with RowedBiker (otherwise go-row-cycle would probably not exist) and I’m too cheap to dredge eBay for one. What I did have was a Raspberry PI Zero W and (with it being spring/summer 2020) some time.

I spent the next few weeks reading and re-reading Bluetooth specifications, learning to program Golang and battling against what felt like a 100 different blockers. And it only bloody works! You can see it in all it’s glory over on github. It looks so straight forward now seeing the finished puzzle. This was going to be a piece about the challenges of its development, the gotchas of Bluetooth specs and the quirks of Golang; but I’ll spare you all that...

I’m off for a row... on Zwift.


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