Fence Kick Mode aka "Return to Group" Returns [June 2022]

With this week’s game release 1.26, Kick Mode returns to fenced group ride events.

What’s the Fence?
Event Leaders can choose to enable the Fence (or not) during rides they lead. This visual aid is set X seconds ahead of the leader, and reminds riders from getting too ahead of the rest of the group and blowing apart a non-competitive ride (is there such a thing in Zwift, hmm?)

What’s Kick Mode?
In addition to enabling a fence, event leaders can choose to enable Kick Mode. If fliers ride beyond the fence, they’ll see a gentle reminder to “Return to Group.” If you stay beyond the fence for too long? You’re removed from the event.

Want to avoid getting zapped? Zwift Insider has a useful story for ways you can ride with the fence and avoid getting zapped by Kick Mode.

And here’s a handy guide on our Support Hub for event leaders and event participants alike

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Hi Zwift Forum

This is a comment on the new ‘kick’ feature for ride leaders.

I feel so passionate about the inclusion of this that I am writing this post.

This is the first feature included in Zwift deliberately designed to create a negative Zwifter experience. While I am not going to debate weither fliers pose a problem for Group Rides, the solution could have been handled much better.

Nobody wants to be dropped from a ride, especially if they find themself on the wrong side of the fence inadvertently when descending or the ride leader stops or drops. Zooming fliers back to the beacon, or increasing their resistance in relation to their distance in front of the fence, would have been a better solution to the issue.

Wider use feature in group rides will have a negative long-term impacts to the Zwift Experience than fliers ever posed.

Peter

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The only negative of the Zap Fence is to flyers, whereas flyers negatively affect everyone in the ride.

Given the choice, I’d much rather upset flyers who show no respect for those who volunteer their time and effort into organising and leading (and sweeping) a ride.

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As above,

Flyers usually get fair warning from ride leaders to return to the group. If there’s no communication and/or they don’t return to group then kick them.
It will only affect the flyers negatively, and the rest of the group positively.

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Don’t be a flyer then

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Thanks for the renewed fence. This is a great improvement for my workout in groups. Very important for me, because now there are again many possibilities for the leader. For example, in terms of variation of speed.

So, the use of time as above is problematic. Strong leaders coming up a hill can be literally squeezing me with 5 meters if I’m on the fence, but if I hang back with them their inadvertent (let’s say) mini-surge can drop us. For those of us who 100% are riding with group and not wanting to be flyers, but perhaps know some subtleties of momentum and flow that I know aren’t well understood, a minimum distance (say 20m) for the fence would be useful (fine if longer if we’re all going fast). Since, if I’m trying to ride with group efficiently, … and you don’t like what I’m saying, consider that I’m not saying this out of ego but I see a lot of “just don’t be a flyer” and “drafting is easy” but I’ve found there’s a lot to be learned over time that’s different than IRL and even IRL these aren’t well executed or perhaps known things to many riders/racers.

That’s a fault of the ride leader, not the fence.

Every organiser can set three different time gaps for the fence, e.g., 5/10/15 seconds, which can then be used during the ride. They can also, of course, easily switch it off as necessary.

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The actual negative experience about the fence was when it would do its thing even though one’s avatar was well behind the visual indication, and that was also the reason why the kick mode was on hold for quite a while. I expect those kinks have been ironed out now that it is back.

As a ride leader, I have been using the fence in gentle mode pretty consistently (as a visual indication it is much better than the beacon), varying the distance as appropriate, and haven’t had any real issues with flyers, maybe the odd one once every few rides but nothing that disrupts the group. As such, I don’t expect to be using the kick mode myself, but I am definitely happy it is back as an option.

Finally, the fly-er zapper is a great addition. Yes I can see that at some instances the feature could have negative outcomes but that will be super rare. For the most part this is hugely positive and will give the ride leaders the the power to enhance the positive experience of group rides. On steady rides, flyers only serve to drag the group apart and can make the life of a ride leader (who is unpaid and gives their time to do these rides for the fun of it) hell. Now we can take our rides on more adventurous routes without the worry that the minority will ruin it for the majority.

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Im not arguing the problem, Im arguing the solution.

Kicking riders out is a poor solution. Increasing resistance, zooming riders back to the beacon or simply making the fence solid is better solution that doesn’t create the horrible experience of being kicked.

Peter

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Again, horrible for whom? Flyers.

Good.

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Thank you, been a long time coming since the removal.

You still get 60 second countdown before you get kicked?

Im not sure anyone can argue their or the leaders riding style got them kicked - You have to be a fair old way ahead to not be able to slow down and be back behind the fence for 60 seconds to pass.

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I’ve listened to both sides of the argument about flyers. First of all let me say thanks to all those who are ride leaders. You spend the time to help and usually don’t receive the credit / thanks that you deserve. I’ve done many, many group rides in Zwift. The good ride leaders don’t have trouble with flyers because well, they are good ride leaders. Other ride leaders seem to spend a lot of time complaining about flyers. That said the comment was made “The only negative of the Zap Fence is to flyers, whereas flyers negatively affect everyone in the ride.”. I don’t understand why this is. On rides that I have done with flyers they take off and are not seen again. They rarely make comments and are pretty much not seen or heard again. How does this “negatively affect everyone in the ride”? Especially on rides with 300 riders and 200+ are in the main pack. Is it a need for control thing or ??? Please help me understand…

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I have been in many rides where some riders place themselves let’s say 200m in front of the fence for the majority of the ride. Some people can’t resist the temptation and bridge up. After a while the ride leader is almost by himself. The whole group is split into smaller groups chasing each other. The W/Kg end up being way too high and many just quit. The group ride ends up being nothing like described.

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I’ve been using Zwift for about 2+ years, doing mostly group rides. For the most part, the rides have been great, friendly and welcoming. But I had a weird, negative experience of being kicked out of a C herd ride recently that I thought was worth mentioning in the forums. I try to be mindful of respecting the group’s pace, and like many don’t appreciate when a few flyers break off from the main group to push the pace. As expected, during ascents riders will spread out and then hopefully regroup— but on such a climb only about 20 mins into an hour-long ride, I found myself in a lead group that briefly exceeded the fence for a few seconds, and before I could drop back and join the main group, I along with a handful of other riders were zapped from the ride with no “return to group” warning or any other heads-up from the group leaders. I’m wondering if there’s a way to share feedback with group leaders/beacons following a ride, especially with those that exercise kick mode power when it may not be always warranted, especially with no warning.

Hi Rob

Welcome to the forum.

The fence kick give you 60seconds to return, if it did not then this need to be flagged as a error. Were you on the latest Zwift version.

What device do you use.

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I’ve never led a ride (and – purely coincidentally – haven’t been in a kick-mode-active group ride since that was revived), but don’t all ride leaders also have the option to manually kick flyers? I recall a leader sharing their screen a while back and seeing that on their screen.
Is it possible that there was a trigger-happy leader who booted people without warning?

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Because there are people that goes with the break not realizing they are not with the leader anymore and then later complain that the pace was to fast and they never join the ride again.

As a long tome ride leader I have experience leading without a fence with a kick fence and with a no kick fence. And the kick option make leading a lot more enjoyable. I always just ignored the flyers after on warning in the beginning, but then after the ride you start to get messages about the pace and it take some time to realize that person was in the flier group.

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