Improve Zwift for slower riders with on-screen e-bikes

Hi, I have a suggestion that might help those slower riders amongst us to get more enjoyment out of their Zwift subscription. My brother, who has survived cancer twice, is a keen cyclist however he only has a single lung and so cannot keep up with group rides, even in category D. He also can’t keep up with the slowest pace partner rides as his oxygen runs out quickly! It’s a shame because this limits his use of Zwift to solo rides and training - but the group rides & the camaraderie is where Zwift really shines.
In real life my brother has an e-bike and so we ride together well. But I wonder if perhaps Zwift might introduce on-screen e-bikes to the platform, to assist people like my brother? There must be thousands of Zwifters, and potential Zwifters, in a similar situation. Perhaps an on-screen e-bike would appear as such so that everyone in the group knows, and of course, e-bikes would be barred from racing.
Zwift keeps telling us that groups rides are not races; in my last group ride, if you went too hard you crossed the red barrier and left the group. So too much speed in these events is not an issue. But an extra 100 FTP for riders like my brother would make an enormous difference to their enjoyment of the platform & would help to incentivise those recovering from illness or affected by life events.

If I may suggest, have a look at this section of the Adaptive Athletes section of the Resource Wiki:

Particularly in the linked thread titled “Amputee, Disability, Under 1 w/kg group rides out there?”, some of the advice about inclusion of adaptive athletes might be of use to your brother.

Thanks for that CJ, really helpful. This is good, however I think it would be even better if people like my brother could participate in the much larger D-category events.

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try lowering his in game weight so his w/kg is better and also the trainer difficulty to maybe 20% Hills wont be as challenging and i think the w/kg difference will be a big help, But only on group rides as racing with the wrong weight is cheating

The above is worth trying, also keep trainer difficulty lower, but not all the way down or it will get boring.

Someone I knew fell victim to cancer so can understand the lack of fitness, he still tried to ride IRL but found it very hard. :frowning:

Thanks Dave T & Chris. Yes I did suggest to my brother that he lowers his weight to cheat the system. It’s a good work-around but would it be great if Zwift would address this issue. I hadn’t thought about adjusting the trainer difficulty, but my brother must have already done that as he told he couldn’t go faster than 2 kph up Alpe de Zwift! (he abandoned after an hour or so!)
There’s no chance of him racing btw, with only one lung he simply can’t get enough oxygen to feed a fast heartrate - so sustained high watts are not possible.
thanks again for your comments … appreciated.

That’s what happened to my old friend. It sounds very similar, he couldn’t breath well enough to increase his heart rate.

The other bit might be doing Epic KOM which isn’t as steep - a bit more enjoyable as well.

Great thought a group for under part riders
Use a race bike on Zwift

It seems that you must disconnect the speed sensor for the motor to work on an E-bike, If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments below. There are many disabled riders out there who would love to enjoy the thrill of a Zwif ride without any speed restrictions. Let’s keep the conversation open and respectful. Thank you for your understanding.

You can make an ebike work with magnet in pedal shaft and the sensor opposite magnet works ok

Honestly–given that lowering weight is one of the suggested workarounds for people in this situation, I don’t know why someone couldn’t just go ahead and use an ebike for group rides, regardless of what the avatar looks like.

Lowering weight relies on the user themselves to not do it for races–so it’s the honor system. Putting an ebike on your trainer would be the same thing. Do it for casual rides, not for races. And if you’re using it to just hang out with a casual D group ride, there’s no need to even tell anyone about it. Just show up and ride. :person_shrugging:

That’s not to say that an ebike avatar wouldn’t still be a good idea. And there are IRL ebike races too, so Zwift could implement ebike racing too. But this is a workaround–just use an ebike and be responsible about it.

I do see regularly one rider who is a stroke and MS sufferer (according to user name) on Zwift riding a lot at 0.3w/kg, always on Tempus.

It must be very slow going but I admire the dedication of that user. No complaints, they just ride.