Group rides newbie: am I doing it wrong?

I tried to join a group ride for the first time today. It’s probably relevant to note that I’m not a cyclist: I’m a rower. I’m riding for cross training and using Zwift because the workouts are structured, targeted and I can do it at home (already spend enough time out in the rain ;-)) So I’m not going to be as fast as someone who exclusively trains on the bike.

I - possibly naively - assumed a 60min group ride would be an aerobic (recovery) effort because how can you do anything else and still be social? I also figured the rubber banding would kick in and keep me with the pack so I could at least be social whilst going at the pace appropriate for me. The ride is marketed as social after all. But in trying to keep my HR in a reasonable zone for a 60min aerobic effort I ended up over a km behind the ride leader. I then faffed about with my phone for 10 mins trying to figure out how to actually talk to anyone in the group, even got off the bike at one point and tried to see if I could chat via the game app on my laptop (on a chair in front of the bike with the ANT+ dongle plugged in) and dropped even further behind.

Eventually I gave up, and came onto the website to find an answer to HOW DO YOU CHAT IN GROUP RIDES and suffice to say I still don’t know how to do it. There’s a lot of information but no answers.


Good morning Laura.

Group rides is graded for different abilities, Zwift use w/kg (watt per kilogram) to grade rides and races. So as a starting point you need to do a FTP test on Zwift so you know your FTP. Then you take that FTP and divide it by your weight. (ie 120FTP / 60kg = 2w/kg) But you wont pick a ride at that FTP you will pick a workout at that number. For a ride you will pick something a lot lower like 60% of 2w/kg = 1.2w/kg, so now you have determined what group to join so that you are in your endurance Zone.
Group rides dont use the rubber band only group training.


I assume you run Zwift on your laptop.

  1. You an press the (M) key on your keyboard and it will open a text box where you can type your message.
  2. If you have the Zwift Companion app open on your phone then you can go to the tab to the right when you are on the map there you can type.

some groups use Discord (3rd party app) to do voice chat but that is a whole post on its own how to set it up (it is easy) there are a lot of good tutorials online.

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Thank you so much for replying - the FTP info is really useful.

Messaging though… Yes I use Zwift with an ANT+ dongle on my laptop, (because the Bluetooth connection dropped constantly when using the Mobile Link on Android, rendering it unusable), but the laptop is sitting on a chair in front of my bike and is inaccessible whilst riding.

On the Mobile Companion app, I could not find the map screen during the group ride. During ZA workouts it has been there, as are all the other in-game features, but during the group ride it was not there. I installed it on my work phone (iOS) to check there, and again, no map and no in-game functionality.

Perhaps this is a bug?

The trick with the Zwift Mobile Companion app (ZCA) id it has to be on the same WIFI as your laptop, you sometimes to turn wifi off and back on. Most “work” phones block some of the Wifi channels needed by zwift.

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Lightbulb moment! I think the laptop was still logged on to my work VPN. Thank you, that’ll probably be why it didn’t work.