"Ride With Reason" feedback


(Rob Rubin (Clydesdale)) #1

Before you even get into the meat of this, you might want to pack a lunch. I don’t do “short posts” as someone who was paid by the word as a profession for years. I will promise to stick to the topic, and at the very least I’ll try to be entertaining as you slog through this. I’m also a professional cynic, so if this comes across as mean take that into account. Also take into account that I’m angry about how this is going down, but instead of “rage quitting” I want to make it better. So disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.

A little about me, as it’s important. (insert cheesy music here) Been cycling for a few years, did a x-country trip that I had to abandon due to a bad foot injury. I’m also a “Clydesdale” rider. That’s a male endurance athlete who weighs over 210 pounds (95.25 kilos) And my reaction to hearing that the first time was “Oh, how adorable, I haven’t weighed under that since high school!” I’m a diabetic who uses cycling as a way to control blood sugar levels. I’m also a gamer (dirty words, I know) so I know my way around an MMO and seasonal promotions. (record scratch, music over)

That in mind, I can’t wrap my head around Zwift’s “Ride with Reason” promo. The whole thing seems to be run with no playtesting, launched buggy and was timed to inconvenience a lot of people.

Climb For Costa was accrediting all four challenges simultaneously. At first I thought “Great, I can knock these out and get back to my normal workouts” but, no, patched. Understand that climbing in Zwift is especially brutal for larger, honest riders like me. If you don’t believe me, before you log in next up your weight to 280 (127 kg) and see what it’s like to be me in this virtual world. Takes me 2-3x as long to do a climb as most of the forum posters but hey, it’s just as easy as “lose the weight! LOL!”

(Spoiler alert, no it’s not.)

Solutions : Zwift made a mistake then rolled back all our progress to zero, and I think this was a mistake. It put a sour taste in my mouth for the rest of this promo because “Well, what else will happen?” It was also communicated VERY poorly to us down at the player level.

The “Ride for Qhubeka” challenge is where things really go off the rails as it required “2 group rides” to complete. Now for the hardcore riders (who use 3rd party websites to track everything and have 5-figure trainer setups) that means “go to the app and filter on the “Group Ride” option.” For the rest of us, some without access to the app, a group ride is “a ride with a group of people”. And with no real way to tell otherwise, we jump into events that look like they’d be fine and then get no credit.

So related, you ever wonder why you don’t see obese people in gyms? Come on, guess. It’s not laziness, most of the time it’s “I really don’t want to put up with the elitism and I’m tired of being made fun of for my slze”. Group cycling rides are the same way. After learning that we had to filter rides to “group rides” I jumped into one with a discord chat. And I was amused at the ride leaders complaining how awful the group was and how the fattys in the back were holding them up. I rode flat out for 35 minutes to keep up at the back of the pack before I blew up and was unceremoniously dropped while the ride leaders made comments about it. “LOSE THE WEIGHT AND GO FASTER!”

It’s not that simple when you’re a diabetic and your insides are broken, but whatever.

We did get credited for all group style rides by Zwift, but this was an unnecessary step. Especially when the game is so heavily biased against heavy riders (with low w/kg ratios based solely on “your’e tubby, lol.”) It makes the group ride a solo ride with different clothing, and I may as well not even start it in the first place.

Solutions : Get playtesters who are not hardcore and see what they do with the missions. We’re not all experts at all things Zwift. Barring that, placing a logo on rides that will give credit to the end goal would have solved this issue before it began. Also, group rides SUCK when you’re a low w/kg rider due to the game mechanics. If the goal is to build community, getting dropped won’t do that. Having Zwift “no drop” rides with discord servers would at least make a lot of us feel “welcome”. The best solution is to not make us ride in group events when we’re happiest to ride lone wolf.

The “Team Ramsay” challenge… well this was mostly uneventful except the format was puzzling. “Burn 1000 calories.” Well, sure, except that we have no way to know how many “Zwift calories” we burned while riding. I already put a feature request in to add it on the dashboard of the app, but it’s a little too late here. The only way to currently find your calories burned is to end the workout. And I’d rather have had an option to keep going and burn a couple MORE before calling it a day.

And this week stars “Ride On for World Bicycle Relief” I did a 14.5 mile ride in Zwift this morning, and it didn’t count. I got the official e-mail this evening and my calories burned skyrocketed, so I’m going to guess that it counted for the last event and not this one. I’m also blatantly cheating to get the miles in by weight doping, so we’ll see how that goes.

Ok, full stop, did I just admit to weight doping? Yes, yes I did. why? Because, frankly, I have to do it. In a group ride, I have to be a svelte 210 to even kinda keep up with a pack or I get dropped. It’s also the timing. As an American, November is a busy month of travel, working and so on. Most of week 3 was spent out of my house, and most of week 4 will be as well. So I have to rush to complete the goals before I’m out of the house and away from all things computer oriented. You may as well have run the event in December and made EVERYONE miss out on things due to various holidays.

I get it, Zwift is an international thing. It’s cool to see every flag represented on the course, but why make the event so long that an entire country has to resort to cheats to complete missions? I also get that MMO’s do everything in their power to keep you playing the game, even past the point of fun. That doesn’t work on Zwift as we’re gonna be here anyway.

Running month-long events where we have to log in weekly is not good for us. We have lives to run, last night was beautiful (for winter, anyway) weather for an outdoor ride but I did Zwift to complete a mission instead. Every other MMO that I’ve played runs 2 week long events where you can complete the missions “whenever you want” and it’s so much less stressful. Sure, some missions require getting on 7-10 times in a 2 week period for a daily, but it still gives flexibility to the end user.

Solution : Don’t run month long events with weekly challenges. The better solution, if you wanted to run a month long event, is let us opt into each event on our own time. If someone wants to knock out all four in a week and pedal their legs off 'cuz they can’t do it later,let them.

Look, Zwift, I like you. I like the aesthetic of the game. I like the idea of riding my bike at 2 AM 'cuz I’m working 'till Midnight and it’s when I can get on. I like that I can do a spin session without a gym trainer being fake-perky and yelling “Come on people! 1 more! YOU CAN DO IT!” (gag) And I also like that I can do my riding in a way that is fairly judgement proof and no elitists will yell at me for taco socks. (That’s another story) But promos like this make me loathe taking my bike off the wall and doing a session ride. I hate choosing a route to pound miles or hills. I hate having to lie so I can accomplish a goal in a reasonable time frame. I hate being forced into content that I have no interest in doing so I can get the shiny thing that everyone else gets with half the effort.

I temper this with the knowledge that I’m the outlier, however. I’m not the typical customer. Zwift seems to be aimed at the hardcore race rider looking for a winter outlet. At best I’m (to use a gamer term) a “filthy casual” who rides for endurance and tour rides. And there’s a gaming ethos of “not everyone gets to win the game”, and if that’s the case so be it, I couldn’t complete the “Tour of New York” due to time constraints per session (w//kg bias) and work schedules. But on a charity mission that I want to support, it sucks the fun out of it.

At the risk of being cynically dismissive, make of this what you will. But also keep in mind, I could just delete the game and not offer anything. I want to see Zwift get cooler and more fun. I can think of dozens more ways to do it, but we can start here with this promo event.


(Paul Allen (Watopia Wayfinder)) #2

If you need to “weight dope” to make climbing a little more enjoyable then do so, no one will care.

A progress bar for the calories would have been helpful for some. A better solution overall would be to give the users a customizable HUD, this would resolve a lot of user requests.

Again, if you feel you need to “weight dope” for group rides to get the most out of them then do so. Some group rides actually encourage “weight doping” to keep everyone together.

I ride/run entirely solo (no group rides or races EVER) for the last 3 years and I don’t see that changing. If you see Zwift as a platform just for the hardcore racers, then you are missing a lot of what Zwift has to offer. I hate to even say this, but this entire post sounds as though you feel you are a victim. I will say this again, if you feel you will get more out of Zwift by “weight doping” then go ahead, no one is going to care. The only time it matters is in racing.

Just so you know, there are a lot of changes coming to Zwift in the near future that may solve some/all of the issues you are facing.


(Zach Johnston) #3

I did take the time to read the entire post and to be honest yea, there is a very pointed victim card theme throughout. You refer to it as a month long ‘promo’ and that it’s not convenient…it’s a charity event, man. I run a business that does two charity events a year, out of pocket, and it’s rarely if ever fun. The entire point is the selflessness and act of solidarity with the cause at hand…it’s about making the world more ‘convenient’ for the less fortunate and not necessarily those of us who can afford a cycling video game with expensive hardware and monthly fees.


(..Troy) #4

Hi Rob,
I think it would be a shame if you were to delete the game and leave Zwift.

Zwift can be so many things to so many people. If you are finding that a challenge is having such a negative effect on you that you do not even wish to get your bike off the wall for your own sake don’t do the challenge. Keep riding and pushing on toward your goals, your way.

The Zwift platform is full of all differing abilities and we all fit in somewhere. There is no filthy casual. Your Zwift subscription goes to help the whole Zwift platform as does mine.

I like you, had to miss the Tour of New York and that was a shame, but I just wasn’t up for it. There will always be another Tour or challenge at some point though. As every week and month goes by, we hopefully all get fitter and a bit quicker. There will always be someone ahead and someone behind.

So don’t give up. Keep doing the Zwifting that works for you, that leaves you in a positive mood and looking forward to the next session.

Ride On.


(Clau Saez) #5

Hi Rob,

I’m really sorry you had a bad experience on the group ride. I hate that this happens.
Regarding the month long events, I will not be able to complete this month’s, as I also was unable to complete the Tour of New York because my work requires traveling, and it does suck, but it’s just one more thing I can’t do because I do what I do… I say this just to tell you you’re not alone in this.

I also don’t like group rides particularly because they are too fast or too slow for what I want to do, so I just do them occasionally. But there are some nicer group rides, they’re definitely not all the same.

It seems to me you’d enjoy group workouts. They have this elastic bad effect, so no matter how many W/kg, you stay in the group as long as you don’t stop pedaling.

Finally, no one cares if you lie about your weight unless you’re racing.

C.


(Wes Salmon (Zwift HQ)) #6

@Dat_Otter_Rob,

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback about your experience with Ride with Reason. As the person with their butt on the line for this specific program (as well as previous multi-stage programs), I read every single word you wrote. (I laughed, and I cried)

I’m passing your feedback along internally as well for others involved in the program to help evaluate the areas where we need to improve (which closely mirror much of what you’ve said here).

Again, thank you for taking the time to tell us what didn’t work for you with how Ride with Reason was executed. I assure you it is not falling on deaf ears.

Ride On! :ride_on:


(Rob Rubin (Clydesdale)) #8

(Deleted last post, I din’t think I tagged @Wes correctly in it)

Well, if I’ve got your ear and you’re really passing this along the chain, I can add something else to it.

Found out TODAY that the “Ride On for World Bicycle Relief” had a typo in the original information, and didn’t begin until 0:00 UTC. Meaning the ride I did Sunday 2.5 hours BEFORE that time was basically trash. If you think it’s not a big deal, imagine going to a gas station to get fuel for your car, you go in to pay and the cashier says “That’s not right” and jacks the price up by $.50 a gallon AFTER you pumped the gas and demands you pay that price and not what the pump said.

And as I was doing cleanup from TODAY’S ride (which I thought would put me over and thus I wouldn’t have to panic-mile ride TOMORROW before I leave town for a week) I thought of a very elegant solution for you.

Throw a launch party.

From “down here” on the player level it looks simple as it wouldn’t require any assets to create. So the event begins at 0:00 UTC (6 PM previous day CST, I looked it up) Make an event. “Ride On for World Bicycle Relief Launch Event!” on the event page AND in the e-mail hype. Day of event, Everyone wears their WBR jerseys (like a lot of other group rides do), for fun we can even ride Buffalo bikes (I think you have those modeled?) Everyone rides a route that is about 10 to 15 miles so it’s 1/3 to 1/2 the needed. All it would need are group leaders, stream it on Twitch for an hour to talk about WBR and the work they do, show some Zwift employees on their trainers riding with the community…

And it would be the way to end the confusion of “when does it start”. Here’s the launch, everything after this counts. And you could have done this with EVERY event this week. You get the community involved, you get your charity some time in the spotlight, and you end a LOT of the ahem confusion of event starts.

Boom. Done.


(Wes Salmon (Zwift HQ)) #9

Thanks @Dat_Otter_Rob, good feedback on how we can better communicate timing for specific event start/end times in the future. It’s certainly on the list of things we can/will improve in the future.

Ride On :ride_on:


(Heavy Metal Maniac) #10

Regarding the last issue here (when the events actually start), another way to do it would be to actually show it in the status display for the events.

Now, the status display was a big mess - you could only see it right after you logged in, it wasn’t available other places; it updated events that hadn’t started yet; it didn’t update events that had actually started.

So start by having a good look at how you do that before the next event. Put that event-status inside our menu, where we can see it whenever we want. Make sure this event status shows, which events are active and when. So the active event shows as active and how far are we - a pop-up will inform you about the rules for that particular part of the event. The finished events shows “finished” and what the ending status was. And the future events show a countdown (Starts in 8 days; starts in 7hours; starts in 17 seconds…).

That would make it all so much easier and also make the event much more visible, since you would see it every time you went to your menu…


(Gerrie Delport TeamZF) #11

No: It is more like you take out the trash on thanksgiving only to realize later that trash is not being collected on a public holiday and you need to take it back in, and take it back out the next day.

I would ask this question:

  1. Would you have ridden Zwift that Sunday if there was no “Ride for reason” challenge. (If YES then you did not loose anything. If NO then zwift motivated you to do one more session and therefore you are fitter.)

  2. What is the goal to use Zwift? Is it to collect virtual internet stuff or is it the gain fitness and to lead a healthy life?


(Rob Rubin (Clydesdale)) #12

@Gerrie_Delport

I wouldn’t have, no. I also wouldn’t have grinded through group rides where I’m not wanted either, and I wouldn’t have crammed in rides around a holiday vacation AND a business trip in less than 24 hours. I seem to recall this idea of “rest days”? And you need a rest from EVERYTHING, which in order to get in on the promo didn’t happen and won’t 'till next week if I’m lucky.

You also present a false dichotomy here. The world isn’t black and white, yes and no. If I rode for 60 minutes, but hated every moment of it or hurt myself because I missed a rest day, did I really gain anything?

Going for the personal attack like most other “hardcores”. Ok, let’s play.

Again, false dichotomy. Either I’m here to get fit, or for the gamer shiny, no overlap. That’s just not the case, and we both know that.

At the end of the day, “Zwift” is a game. Like every other game it has it’s various motivations. If you really want to know my motivation, it’s to not get dropkicked into the ICU ever again. (If you speak diabetes, I was put into the ICU with a blood glucose reading of 1500 when my internal organs stopped working for whatever reason. I should be dead, no hyperbole.) I use Zwift because frankly as someone who grew up on video games I prefer the game aesthetic over a real-life but artificially perky spin trainer yelling into a headset mic over garish techno “Come on people! MAX FTP! DO IT DO IT DO IT!” I mean it it was anything but Skrillex I might be able to handle it but come on…

And touching back on the false dichotomy (either you’re here for the fitness or the shiny) yes, the “shiny thing” in fact is motivation for the fitness. Let’s take the tron bike. You don’t need it. It’s flashy and cool, but unnecessary. Why go through the climbing grinder to get it? Status, basically. It’s something you have that not everyone else does, so it raises your status in any group ride. Or you just find it pretty, and you literally like the “shiny thing”.

To imply that I’m somehow “wrong” for chasing the nice things is a slap to the face and frankly hypocritical. And I’ll save you your typing. “Well I don’t do that!” Of course not, nobody admits it. But I’m honest, and I do. How many cycling events have you attended where people get finishers medals? How much “SWAG” do you have from events? How many water bottles have you hoarded from places, events and locations? You don’t need any of those, but I can almost guarantee that you’ve attended at least one event for the “shiny thing”.

Point is that instead of trying to belittle me for being honest, why not address what’s wrong with something you deeply enjoy? I see the “TeamZF” on your name, so you’re obviously a hardcore Zwifter. Cool. Doesn’t mean you should present “black or white” arguments meant to put you in the “right” camp and everyone else in the “wrong” camp, which is what you did.

The world isn’t “1 or the other”, it’s many shades of gray. And a part of that in cycling is the tall, big guy who just wants the nice things once in a while, and wants to help do a part for a charity ride. And what’s wrong with being rewarded for doing good in the world?


(Paul Allen (Watopia Wayfinder)) #13

Gerrie was in no way attacking or belittling you in anyway.

If Zwifting is hurting you as you say then don’t ride, take the rest day.

I have never heard of ANYONE being not wanted during a group ride.

In over 3 years and over 8500 miles on Zwift and I have yet to get the tron bike. It’s not a goal of mine and neither is getting jerseys, shoes or other “shiny” stuff on Zwift. I use Zwift to improve my triathlon fitness, relieve stress, and to have fun. I will do the a challenge here and there but only the ones that can be done individually (again I don’t do group rides or races).

There is many ways to use Zwift and none of them are wrong or right, just different.

Some of what you have said in this thread I can get behind, but most of it I just cannot.


(Gerrie Delport TeamZF) #14

Rob: You got me all wrong, that is what happen if English is your second language and you try to be help full.

I was just trying to point out that even if you did not get the nice stuff you got fitter and therefore better.

Yes I do like Zwift and I also do like to help people. I could relate to you as I am the heaviest rider in 90% of all rides or races I do.
The “TeamZF” is because I lead group rides and associate with TeamZF that cater specifically to the type of group rides that you would enjoy we have fun and chat and are passionate about others.


(T Harradine) #15

If you access the ingame menu while riding it will tell you how many calories you’ve burnt that ride.

There are group rides that offer late start and are for a length of time rather than set distance. Join a 60minute ride halfway through and just cruise round until it finishes and you’ll get credit. There are group rides aimed at D grade riders but whether they fit your schedule is another thing.

I think the main thing is if you have your heart set in completing the challenges they were all fair and reasonable distances/amounts. The elevation one could have been done on London Classique with enough laps if anyone wanted to avoid a steep intense climb.