HERD ride fence - what's the point?

I rode in my first HERD ride (Wacky Wednesday) and I don’t get the point of having a fence. The ride criteria was 1.0-1.5 w/kg or something. I thought it might be a nice recovery ride and try something new. Well… that damn fence! Obey or you get kicked out? What’s the point? If somebody wants to scream off the front, who cares? I spent the whole ride bouncing around the fence with scores of others trying to not get kicked out. And then Zwift posts the “race results” - was this a race?? Basically a bunch of fence straddlers wait until less than a minute to go so they don’t get kicked out, and then sprint. The whole “fence” experience seemed rather stupid.

I felt like venting.

The fence was introduced because every group ride usually ended up like you wanted. A handful of people would scream off the front treating it as a de-facto race (I could never understand why those people just didn’t join a race instead of trying to win group rides). Then the people behind them would follow because it’s just in a cyclist’s nature to follow the wheel in front. Before you know it the ride has stretched out into a long line with many people riding well above the posted ride’s w/kg.

Basically, the whole experience was a disaster as a group ride. It’s better to upset a handful of people who want to join group rides and scream off the front rather than spend the whole ride with people complaining about flyers, others complaining that the pace is too high (because they’re following the flyers), others asking what position the ride leader is and all while the ride leader is trying to keep the herd of cats together.

BTW, it was a timed ride. The “results” mean nothing as nobody finished the 60 minutes faster than anyone else. Having “results” means rider positions will be shown during the ride which can help with positioning. For example, knowing the leader is in position 50 you can ride to that position.


racing in group rides - what’s the point?

why join a ride advertised at 1.5wkg max if you want to ride above that?

it ruins the experience for all the others who signed up to ride at the advertised pace.


I agree with the above, racing in group rides and/or robopacer groups is ridiculous.

You sign up for what is supposedly 2.9w/kg average then end up off the back in a moment and have to do 5w/kg to catch back onto the group at 48km/h.

Fences are great, keeps the ride at advertised speed.


Fences work but they’re ugly to look at for an hour. Waiting to see how well the keep-together function could work for group rides. At least then organizers could put up a “Recovery Ride” and all ranges of ability (and therefore all ranges of what eg. Zone 2 means) could participate.

You generally don’t see them (unless they are set to a really short distance).

You keep going on about keep together, but a lot of people don’t want this. Why bother (my opinion) riding your bike if your pace is just going to be artificially determined by the rest of the group? I want to propel myself by my own legs, not be carried by someone elses. I think it has value in some longer rides with riders of a wide range of abilities, but again, I don’t want to be awarded a badge when I didn’t really achieve it myself.

On the topic of the fence - this is absolutely up to the ride organiser and the Herd are notoriously anti-flyers - which I get because it can stretch out the rest of the ride, especially to newer riders. I’m personally not that fussed if a ride uses the fence or not.


There are many unfenced rides available. If you search for events on ZwiftHacks, the column where it has the ride type will have the code “fnc” for rides with a fence. Some organizers like using the fence to keep the group together without endless badgering in the chat, but others prefer to keep it off. Some will still try to keep the group together via chat, and others don’t care at all. In no-drop rides where sweepers try to bring riders back to the group, it’s important to have some order in the bunch or the entire ride gets strung out.

Screenshot 2023-03-03 at 06.39.27


As always, if organizers or participants seeking a ride don’t want keep together, then they’d look for a different ride.
It’s funny though, so many people will be quick to tell you to ignore Avg Speed, it’s not important, it’s not in the HUD, etc etc. Power is all that one should be concerned about for training, etc…

So, I suggested that for a ride that’s specified as a Recovery Ride, where exactly “recovery” would mean a large wattage spread because Zwift has a universe of a wide range of abilities, it might be more appropriate to do as keep-together. Why would speed/pace be important on a recovery ride?

A lot of people obsess (myself included) over their distances any given day/week/month/year. I wouldn’t want something artificial to tarnish that.

I do get what you are saying re recovery but I still think a significant proportion of people wouldn’t want that and I’d resign if it was forced onto all events & find a different platform to ride on!

Yeah, this is where Zwift is different to real life. And it’s the least helpful metric to keep people together.

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Some of the events are set up awkwardly for the stated goals.
I’m currently recovering from COVID and started some group rides/workouts.
I joined the Summit City Zwift League endurance ride but only planned on riding 60 min instead of 90.
The ride had power targets , just like a group workout.
At the start we warmed up according to the indicated goals.
I didn’t see a leader beacon.
I was in a group of 20-25 and it seemed like we were rubber banded.
I kept see people commenting about the flyers had taken off.
It made no sense to me because how can there be flyers if we are rubber banded.
Oops, my misunderstanding and I apologize to the group.
We were the flyers, but if you’re riding the designated power goals, are you really flying?
The goal of a ride can be to keep a group together or everybody rides certain power with rubber banding.
A group ride with specific power segments without rubber banding is going to split.

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Looking at the ride it seem like the fence was not set close to the Ride leader. In fact you can see the leader is quite a distance behind the bunch. So If you stay with the leader you won’t even know there is a fence.

View from the leader:


I’ll avoid fenced rides in the future; they’re not for me. My main criticism is the combination of fence and then posting “race results.” It’s a contradiction. I also don’t understand why riders flying off the front ruins it for someone else - there were a couple hundred riders grouped around the leader, so it’s not like the flyers destroy the pack effect. I suspect it’s mostly an ego thing. The experience was rather totalitarian - conform or leave! I should have quit and gone somewhere else, but I wanted to see what the whole thing was like. Thanks for all the input, and again I’ll just avoid these in the future.

As was explained the results is because the event show rider positions that are very handy for the race leader to communicate his/her position so people can fall back.

The fence is not for everyone so you can select other rides that suit your preference. Or if you join a fenced ride the ride past the fence and do your own thing.

It is definitely not a ego thing ride leader mostly don’t care if there is a few riders that goes of the front. What they do care about is the new riders that get pulled with the flyer group and then later drop because the event was to hard and then complain that the leader did not hold pace. So the fence is a clear indication that the rider is not with the leader anymore and can then drop back.
If you pass the fence you have made your intentions clear that you don’t want to ride with a group at the set pace and therefore you can go ahead and ride at the pace you prefer.


I would say we are notoriously PRO BEGINNER, we don’t care so much for those who go off the front. We lead 22 rides a week with beginner focus ( except for maybe Gallops ) Why aren’t flyers helping in the back instead of going off the front??? Oh that’s right… that’s what we call flyers with integrity = SWEEPERS. WE LOVE THEM :heart:

On another note. We have several rides with a no-kick fence too :wink:



Carl is definitely anti flyer!

To the benefit of all, I suspect. :+1:


@James_Zwift your comment is quite disingenuous as it has been explained the Herd is a beginner friendly group that aims to introduce people to group rides. With that in mind the fence is used in order to avoid newer riders from getting caught up with fliers who then (can potentially) ruin the group ride for many newcomers as they think the ride is over pace.

Additionally, your comment can be viewed as going against forum guidelines as you have personally named one individual and called them out for something without any evidence:

“Lets treat each other with respect and keep it civil! We’re all here to discuss Zwift in safe space”

The forum does not allow a Zwift employee’s comment to be flagged, which is a huge oversight IMO, so I respectfully request you remove and/or edit your comment.

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@D_Watson whether you know this or not, I essentially built the racing arm of the Herd - whether that impacts your reaction to my response or not, I have no idea but I used to lead a significant number of the herd rides.

Carl would probably echo what I have already said earlier, but I’m sorry if that caused you offence.

@James_Zwift thanks for the response but you failed to acknowledge the main issue. You called someone out (as a Zwift employee) which can be viewed as not civil since you are accusing them of a certain behavior.

I again reiterate your comment needs to be revised or removed as it is not in keeping with the forum rules of keeping conversation civil.

I’ve flagged your post for the moderators to review mine and remove if they feel it is appropriate.