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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 https://github.com/mrverrall/go-row-cycle/



A rowing machine is not a bicycle and despite there being an appetite for rowing in Zwift that fact does not change. The only way it seems for rowers to be officially accepted in Watopia is for rowing to be implemented proper. Good luck!

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 middle device, a bridge that sits between the rower and whatever device you're cycling on, an ipad, phone or PC.

There are solutions already available to do this. NPE CABLE is a pod you can buy for about £90 in the UK (too steep for me). And there is RowedBiker, a free iOS or Android app.
RowedBiker is in fact probably the best option for most people. You just need a compatible device (one you are not using for Zwift) then you are good to go. There are other 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 nad the quirks of Golang; but I’ll spare you all that.

I’m off for a row, on Zwift.

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