Biking for beginners

Hey guys!

I have been using Zwift for a little over 2 years for running but I just recently started biking as well. Is is normal for the group D recovery pace to be hard? It’s usually around 1.2 - 1.5 w/kg and im pouring sweat and barely hanging on to the recovery group.

I can’t tell if my bike isn’t calibrated right or if my fitness in running doesn’t translate to biking. How long does it normally take to adjust to riding at a recovery pace?

It could is reasonable for that pace to be hard depending on your background, and your experience. Could you provide more details about your equipment?


I just got the elite trainer and hooked it up to my specialized bike. It’s a 7 speed road model. ( sorry I’m new to bikes). It’s certainly not a good racing bike but it should be middle of the road.


Welcome to the Forums, Laura.
As Oliver wrote, it is possible that everything is working well and that you, as someone relatively new to cycling, are still developing your physical ‘engine’ for cycling, despite being an established runner.

I had a look at some of your cycling activities in Companion and there’s nothing there to suggest a technical issue. The good news is that you’ll probably make substantial gains in the short-to-medium term, if you ride regularly and continue to push yourself a little.
In case it’s useful and you haven’t tried it yet, there’s also a new Pace Partner that rides in Watopia at 1.1 W/kg (Dorothy Duster), if you wanted a steady ride that’s slightly less demanding. It’s less social than doing group rides, but a handy means of practising riding with others. Perfecting your drafting abilities in Zwift will also mean that you’ll be able to ride faster at lower wattages.

But just to make sure that everything’s in order with your set-up, have you done a spindown on your Elite Suito? I don’t know that trainer personally, but the Elite site does mention that calibration is done via a spindown.
Also, you mention that your bike is a 7-speed. Did you install the bike’s cassette on the Suito’s freehub using a dedicated spacer? (I can’t make out on the photo the number of sprockets.) The Suito is supplied with an 11-speed cassette according to Elite’s info, so I’m guessing you weren’t able to use that one.

Ride On :ride_on:

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If it feels that hard, then it simply is not recovery pace for you. There are group rides below 1.2w/kg, though they can be a bit hard to find. Here’s an attempt at searching for some of them:

Not sure if this applies to you, but recovery rides are usually on flatter routes where total watts is more important than watts per kilogram in determining your speed. A big rider putting out 1.2w/kg may be creating more total watts than a smaller rider doing 1.5w/kg. The smaller rider will have to work harder and draft carefully to keep up.

Another consideration is your 7 speed cassette has large differences between the gears, which will make it harder to pedal your preferred cadence whenever you’re forced to shift gears. Extended periods of too-low cadence will tire your legs more quickly, and extended periods of too-high cadence may raise your heart rate. If your saddle is too low, that will also tend to tire your legs more quickly.


You’re getting good advice here. Cycling efficiently takes time even if you are in pretty good condition. Getting expert advice on how to set up your bike for your body can make a big difference. If you can and haven’t already done so, visit a local bike shop and ask if they can fit you to your bike. You might need to spend a few bucks but it will make cycling much more enjoyable, accelerate your cycling fitness and help you avoid any injuries. Ride on!


You also generate lots of heat when cycling indoors so getting a large fan is also a good idea, as dehydration can also lead to the perception of effort being harder.


there’s always like 3-4 weeks or so of physical conditioning where nothing feels good that you have to go through first whenever you switch from one sport to another in my experience

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Thank you guys for this great advice! I will look into the elite calibration and if my new cassette is spaced right as well, but it may just also take more time than I originally thought.

Thank you for all the wonderful advice! :heart:

How do you access the pace partners? Is it a selection under training?!?

Thank you for this great advice! :heart:

Thank you for this great advice!!!

It depends on which version of the home screen UI you have.
On the old version, you select at the top of the screen which world you want to ride in. Currently, if you select Watopia (always available) or Makuri Islands (only available certain days), the Pace Partners (PP) block appears towards the lower section of the screen. You click on that, select the PP that you’d like to ride with, and then (from my memory) click on ‘Ride’. The world loads and you’re transported to the group that’s riding with the PP, aided by pedal assist for about ten seconds.

In the new home screen UI, the PP tile is always available around the top row. Clicking on that, you get all the options. (At the moment, Makuri Islands PP are also permanently available, even if Makuri isn’t a current guest world.) The process is relatively similar. You might find that there are more people riding with Watopia PP than the Makuri ones, giving a greater chance of getting a good drafting opportunity. The great thing with the PP is that you can pick a faster/more powerful one on days that you’re feeling stronger, and slowly be able to ride for longer at the more demanding pace.

Edit: check out these comprehensive articles on Zwift Insider that tells you absolutely everything:

Things are currently evolving rapidly with the PP, thanks in great part to the work of @JamesBailey, so what’s in the article might no longer be completely accurate within a week or two.

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You probably just need to build up strength and fitness for the bike. Have a good fan too so you don’t overheat and sweat too much.

I was extremely fit before my accident but now I’m in your situation. Try to go at a comfortable pace some days, then other days you can push a little bit more. But allow enough rest in between so you don’t end up sore.

Hey Laura!

Seconding once piece of advice mentioned above: bike fit. Specifically saddle height. If you’re sitting too low, you won’t come close to being able to develop full power on a pedal revolution. Too high is almost as bad, and can lead to other issues (hip and knee issues).

For what it’s worth: I’ve been hitting the gym for years, walk & hike a tonne, paddleboard, do a bit of running. I’d generally call myself “fit.” My first season of Zwift, I struggled to keep up with D.Diesel’s 1.5W/kg - like, at all. 5419km of Zwifting later, I can keep up with Diesel, and about every second ride I’ll take on Denise Drops at 2.0W/kg. It takes time and effort - you’ll get there.

Crazy question: what bike do you have selected in game? (it’s not a time-trial bike by any chance…?)