HERD ride fence - what's the point?

I’ve read it a couple times and I can’t tell what’s uncivil about the comment. I don’t know Carl so perhaps it just flew over my head.


I’m also failing to see what is “not civil” about that post. Maybe Carl needs to tell us his view and then we can put this to bed.

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Being “anti flyer” is something someone gets ‘accused’ of? In other words, being someone who wants to keep group rides together? Yeah, not getting it.

I don’t read the rules of these forums as saying that no one can say anything at all about anyone else. Maybe I’m wrong.

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@James, you spelled “famously pro-beginner” wrong. Ha ha. The Cambridge dictionary defines Notoriously: “in a way that is famous for something bad”. Example: “The company pays notoriously low wages.” The negative connotations of “notoriously” versus the positive connotations of “famously” are the issue.

I’m curious why you singled me out from dozens of Herd ride leaders and sweeps?

As Marius stated, we don’t care about fliers, only that new Zwifters tend to chase them and have a bad experience, as detailed above by others.

When we started The Herd, there were few beginner friendly rides. I wouldn’t speak for the other founders, but my motivation was I wanted Zwift to succeed. To me, the best way to do that was leading group rides and help people get over Zwift’s steep learning curve. Over 5 years later, Zwift does not appear to have flattened the curve, but The Herd is here leading 22 group rides and 2 club rides, plus recurring meetups every week.

How do I lead pro-beginner rides? Great question, glad you asked. I start by posting messages stating route, pace, what pace I aim to average (Example: FriYay is 1.4-1.6 w/kg and I aim to average 1.5w/kg for the hour), I recommend joining Sweep Team if people want a more challenging experience or ask sweeps for help if they’re off the back of the yellow beacon group. Before the ride starts, I state we will do a slow rollout so the group can form up. Pre-fence, this let the fliers go, never to be seen again. Post fence, with hundreds on the ride, it helps everyone get blobbed up. I, or my alternate leads, post my distance in km & miles. Pre-fence, to help newbies and sweeps know where I was. Post-fence, to help Sweep Team know distance. I refuse to use the counter - yes, it helps some, but confuses others. I have shortcuts for distances from 2 - 45 km. When I’m sweeping, I fan view the lead and share the distance to yellow with the Sweep Team.

A big part of what we do is welcoming first timers and inviting them to ask Zwift questions. With our team, we usually have the right answer or can direct people where to find it. Our level of engagement is very important to what we do.

With regard to the fence: I turn it on at the beginning of the ride, turn off the interface, and forget it. I tell the group what the fence is set at and leave it on until the end of the ride. How many fliers were there? I don’t care. I only care about those riding with the beacons.


…that’s why TOW, TDZ, and Zwift Fondos (pretty much all Zwift event vs. 3rd party ones) are so great in comparison… BMTR is somewhat of an exception…

They tend to be “E” -no cats, no really ride leader pestering us, no fences. Obviously, no predetermine power ratio. However, you got enough riders to find a pack to ride at wherever pace/power level you want to enjoy your workout.

Hi Kevin, I’m the ride leader for Wacky Wednesday. Like most Herd leaders, I use the Fence, and am happy to explain why. I know I’m repeating a lot of what others have very kindly said already, but as the leader I thought my specific perspectives might be helpful.

The main reason I use the Fence is that our ride is focused largely on beginners. Without the Fence, some people race off the front, and beginner riders often think they are supposed to follow them. This means they end up going too fast, and perhaps getting worn out, or confused, or disheartened, which is not a good experience for them at all.

More generally, we run group rides with the intention that the majority of the riders get the most benefit from riding with the group, and at the advertised speed (1.3-1.5w/kg, which I always, always stick to). Using the Fence helps with this by keeping the group close together. Clearly Zwift thinks it’s a useful feature too, which is why they put a great deal of effort into creating it.

I normally set the Fence 10 seconds ahead of me (quite a long way, about 100 metres), or a bit more on hilly routes. It’s very easy to not even see the Fence at all, by staying close to the Yellow Beacon, which is the whole point of the ride anyway, and something the majority of our riders enjoy (we average 250-300 riders each Wednesday). The Fence travels at exactly the same speed as the Yellow Beacon, so there’s no point being near it in any case.

If you’re looking for a harder ride, you’re very welcome to help our Sweep Team at the back. That way, you’ll be able to push yourself more and also be helping other riders who might be struggling.

The reason the results screen shows up at the end is that it goes hand-in-hand with the setting which allows the position numbers to show up on the right hand side during the ride. I use those to call out my position to help people know where I am. Unfortunately I can’t turn off the results screen without turning off those numbers as well. To be clear, it’s not a race (and the results at the end are randomized).

Many thanks and happy Zwifting

P.S. thank you to many others for posting similar, very helpful and informative replies.

P.P.S. Carl is amazing.


Why didn’t you ride with the yellow beacon?


Reading your tone, it seems to me that the ego issues lie with you.

Don’t join a. Group ride if you want to race. Simples.


This thread has me keen to look at future HERD rides, so a positive experience :grinning:


Thank you Tim.

On the ego thing, I expect using the Fence reduces our rider numbers, because it excludes people who don’t want to stick to the advertised pace. If I had an ego, presumably I’d want to keep the Fence off, to get rider numbers up…?

But I’d rather have fewer, happy riders who understand the point of our rides and want to travel around together. We have a lovely group - including many regulars - and it’s a pleasure to be part of.


There are plenty of group rides that cater to people who want to ride hard - either at a level high enough that you can’t get away, or where the leadership is fine with people riding ahead. The product could do a better job of revealing this (for example by showing the fence setting in Companion) but nevertheless the options are out there if you look or try rides and find out what the leader expects. It’s not a leader problem. The important thing is to pay attention to what the leader asks for and support that. Personally I like to hang out in back with the sweepers if the pace is a bit lower than I prefer, or if the pace is higher than I prefer, I find someone off the back and wait for them so we can ride together. Either way I’m having a good time and improving the experience for someone.


Hey Kevin! Sorry you had a less than spectacular experience on our ride :slightly_frowning_face: our yellow beacons take great pride in holding the advertised pace. For wacky Wednesday, that’s 1.3-1.5 w/kg. There can be some variability based on your height, weight, bike choice, and where you are in the group. Using the fence helps keep the group together for a fun and social spin :grin:

I was actually the red beacon (sweep team lead) on this ride. If you are ever looking for a faster or harder ride, then please join our sweep team for sweeptervals bringing lost herdlings back to yellow. You’ll get a better workout AND be helping others! Come join us! The more the merrier :smiling_face::smiling_face:


Hi David, that message was in no way directed at you! I still find it odd that people join group rides and then moan because they want to speed off the front!!

You do an excellent job and the fence has given you a tool to make these rides a lot more enjoyable for the people that actually want to participate properly.


Same here. If I feel I have energy and I’m on a group ride that I’m finding is an easy pace, I offer to assist sweeping.

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This is great advertising for HERD rides. Will look out for them and join.


As a HERD member and an unofficial SWEEP, I thoroughly enjoy these rides as it lets me help new riders or those with less capability to enjoy their ride. Even though I am fairly new myself as a rider, everyone knows it can be less enjoyable if you are riding alone at the back, or even when no one acknowledges you, shouldn’t we all try to help? As a group we do, but it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bag.

My suggestion is if you are so inclined to want to fly, try a different group or event to stretch your legs,… maybe CAT A robopacers is more you niche.


And if you join a group ride and then later on decide you want to go crazy…leave the event, then ride however you want.

If you want to take a flier and not be with the group, what use is it to you to be in the event at that point? Even if there was no fence or keep together? You’re just solo riding. So leave the event and solo ride. :person_shrugging: No fence to worry about.


Hi Tim, absolutely understood! It was intended as a reply to someone else earlier who had first mentioned the ego thing. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding, and thank you for your kind messages!

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Yes and no I think. The event discussed seemed to have well over 300 riders. Judging by the posted ride pics above, even 79th place seemed to be surrounded by a very large but separate blob of riders. I understand the point of the fence especially when the participant count is lower, though when events are as popular as this one was, there seem to be so many riders that even with strung out groups going at slightly different (faster) paces, there’s likely always a good sized bunch one could find to ride with.

For myself anyway, riding with a group that has eg. 10+ riders in it, is really not much less preferable of an experience than riding in a blob of 100+ riders. ymmv