Oarbits FAQ

How fast do the folks online row?

People row online at whatever pace suits them.

In a typical 30 minute GenFit session for example with 16 people rowing, there will be a few 'fast boys' out the front at 1:52 or so, then a bunch at 2:00 to 2:05, then more at 2:10, then some around 2:30 to 2:40.

In a typical 10 or 20 minute Gentle session the pace will range from 2:45 to 3:15 depending who's in it.

In a typical 6k Handicap Race the paces range from 1:50 to 2:15 but with the handicapping the finishes are very close regardless of the paces.

There are plenty more examples. The main points to note are:


  • There are always sessions at your pace, and you can also create your own sessions and invite others to join.
  • Most sessions have a range of paces and people tend to row along with others near their own pace.
  • In time sessions, everyone finishes at the same time regardless of their pace.
  • Most sessions are not races, they are people enjoying rowing together online.
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I don't want to hold people up by being too slow

If you're concerned about maybe being too slow, the best tip is to start off by rowing time sessions rather than distance sessions.

That way you always finish at the same time as all the others in the session, even if you rowed at a slower pace.

This is the reason there are so many time rows online - people enjoy finishing together and joining in the post-session chat.

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I don't have any rowing friends to row with online

One of the great things about online rowing is that there are so many others already there for you to row with.

Almost everyone who rows online starts by just rowing with the other people who already row online.

The people already rowing online are very welcoming of new rowers joining them, and it doesn't take long before you'll have a great group of online rowing buddies.

So just join yourself into any of the sessions you see listed in Oarbits.

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How will I fit online rowing into the other rowing I'm doing?

If you're doing a training program with specific workouts, for example intervals, you can do these by joining or creating a session of similar duration and then rowing the pattern you were planning to row within that session.

So for example if you were to do two intervals of 500m with 750m rests and a total of 6k, you can row this pattern by changing your pace and stroke rate at 500, 1250, 1750 and 2250m to fit your planned intervals.

You may not be able to easily do all your training sessions this way but you should be able to do quite a number.

This helps break up your training and gives you the boost of rowing with others while you train.

If you're just rowing a set pattern of pieces each week, you can either join sessions already scheduled that are near what you want, or you can create session yourself that others can join.

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What if there's no suitable session there for me?

If you don't see a session of the right duration at a time that suits you, just create the session you want in Oarbits, and anyone else that is interested will see it and join it.

If you're new to online rowing, it's a good idea to join other sessions first and get a bit of experience there before you create your own sessions.

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What if I can't make it to a session I'm in?

Just withdraw. People understand this is part of life and nobody minds.

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How long before a session starts do I need to register for it?

For the more popular sessions like GenFit you might want to register a day or more before the session to make sure you have a place in it. The maximum number of boats in any session is 16.

For special events like someone's birthday row, people typically join as soon as they see it listed in Oarbits, maybe days or weeks away.

Having said that, you are free to join any session that still has spaces available up to the last minute before it starts.

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How long before a session starts do I need to check in?

It's a good idea to check in at least 10 minutes before a session's scheduled start time.

This gives you time to get oriented, do a bit of a warm-up, and chat with the others there.

As a general rule the starter should start the session no later than 5 minutes after the scheduled start time rather than keeping on waiting for someone who has not checked in yet.

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Can other people see my details?

Other people can't see your email address or any other details about you. If they want to contact you they can email you via Oarbits.

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Do I need any special equipment?

Once you have everything you need to row offline with RowPro, then the only additional thing you need is an Internet connection to your RowPro PC.

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Will my Internet connection be good enough?

Almost any Internet connection can be used, including dial-up, DSL, cable, mobile and satellite.

At your location you can use wireless or wired connections from your PC to your Internet access point.

Note: In some cases wireless phones, microwaves and neighbors with wireless Internet can interfere with the good operation of your wireless connection. There are remedies for this in the Troubleshooting section of RowPro Help.

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My RowPro PC isn't connected to the Internet, what can I do?

You do of course need an Internet connection to row online!

Most PCs can do wireless connections, so it's likely you can get your PC connected to the Internet by arranging a wireless connection to your wireless access point.

If you don't already have a wireless access point these are readily available from your nearest computer store.

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What is online rowing?

Online rowing is connecting your RowPro PC to the Internet and rowing with other people anywhere in the world live and in real time.

The sessions are very similar to offline RowPro sessions but there are some extras:

  • There's an online rowing club named Oarbits where you create and join scheduled sessions, view results and contact others.
  • When you click Row in Session Setup you go through to a Check-in area where others gather and you can text chat with each other and warm up until the starter starts the session.
  • When you row there are other boats beside you in the other lanes. Each boat represents someone else in the session. When they take a stroke, the person in the boat beside you also takes a stroke, so their position and actions match in real time.
  • When you finish a finish panel pops up showing the results and enabling you to chat again with the others.

Online Rowing is a very popular and fast-growing activity, with over 30,000 boats crossing the finish line online every year.

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How do I get started?

The best way to get started is to follow the steps in the RowPro Online Rowing Guide, which you can download from www.digitalrowing.com/downloads/documents.

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Can I row quietly by myself first?

Yes! Start by creating a Quick Row as follows:

  • Start RowPro and click Session Setup | Online. Wait a few moments for it to connect.
  • At the bottom of Session Setup, click Create Quick Row, type in a session name (say "MyTest1"), type in a duration (say 500 meters) and click Row.
  • This will take you to Check-In. Get ready to row and click Prepare to Start. Wait a few moments and click Start.
  • Row the session online.
  • You'll see the Results screen at the end of your row. Click Close to finish.
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Is there someone online who can help me get started?

Yes. Look our for Pam at Digital Rowing in RowPro Chat, or email Pam at PamL@digitalrowing.com.

Pam hosts a number of online sessions including GenFit and Beginner sessions and helps people get started.

Pam rows online most days and is there to help you.

The other folks online can also help and most are very happy to do so and very knowledgeable about online rowing.

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What kind of sessions do people row online?

A quick look at the Session List in Oarbits will show you what sort of sessions are the most common.

Middle-distance sessions like 20 and 30 minute sessions are popular along with 5, 6 and 10k.

There are also plenty of shorter ones and even some half and full marathons for the hardy souls!

Most sessions have a purpose behind them, for example they might be for general fitness, beginners, friends and family, handicap races, and so on.

There are also special sessions, for example birthday rows which are very popular where a person turning 54 will have a 5454m row, and events that parallel real-world events like the Boston Marathon.

The sessions are limited only by the imagination. Feel free to add your own and see who joins.

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Are there organized activities I can join?

There are several organized activities you can join, including:

  • General fitness, friends and family, gentle and beginner sessions organized by Pam.
  • Handicap racing series organized by Ernie.
  • Online training series organized by Chad.

There's more information about organized sessions in the Activities section of Oarbits.

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Where do I go to join a session?

In RowPro, open Control Center | Oarbits, wait for it to connect, register if you're asked to, and click Session List, then to join any session you see listed there, click the checkbox for that session.

You can also join an online session via any web browser at Oarbits online.

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Can I row online with the free tryout?

Yes, the RowPro 20-day free tryout is fully enabled for online rowing.

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Why do people row online?

To begin with, the idea of rowing online with other people all over the world is really cool and a lot of fun.

Once people have tried it, they quickly realize there are many people out there just like them who share common interests and rowing goals, whether it be weight control, fitness and health, training or competition.

People also quickly make friends and rowing buddies online, and tend to row more with people who have a similar interest to their own, for example losing a lot of weight, or training together to prepare for the CRASH-B rowing championships.

Over time, the whole online rowing activity becomes very motivating. The added commitment of knowing others are expecting you to turn up and row makes it that much more likely that you'll do the rowing rather than let it slide, so online rowing becomes an important tool for keeping up your rowing.

People also develop great friendships online with others from around the world, and come to know them well through the online chat before and after online sessions.

Overall, online rowing is cool, fun, very motivating and a great boost to your rowing, and it's very easy to do.

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How will online rowing help me?

Online rowing helps your rowing several ways:

  • Commitment - The added commitment of knowing others are expecting you to turn up and row makes it that much more likely that you'll do the rowing rather than let it slide, so online rowing becomes an important tool for keeping up your rowing.
  • Motivation - When you know the boats beside you are real people rowing right now beside you the feeling of rowing is completely different compared to rowing alone or with a pace boat or past row. People find it tremendously motivating to know they're rowing with friends with a common interest from all over the world. It's a truly international experience.
  • Companionship - You'll be pleasantly surprised at the great friendships you form over time with other online rowers as you join in your rowing activity and share your experiences online.
  • Community - Oarbits is an online rowing club, and consists of a great community of people who share a common interest in rowing. The online rowing community will welcome you, help you and row with you any day of the week as you pursue your rowing goals.
  • Organization - The most popular online rowing activities are organized groups that people can just choose, join and row. This helps structure your rowing and makes it easy to do.
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Does it cost anything?

Once you have RowPro in your PC and connected to your Concept2 Indoor Rower and to the Internet, you can row online as much as you want at no extra cost.

Online rowing is provided free of charge by Digital Rowing for users of RowPro worldwide.

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