Social Group Rides

Not a complaint, just an observation so keep your panties on even if you don’t agree - I found them not to be so social. 

I joined one such ‘social’ ride with the description that 2-2.5 W/kg was the pace. Well, I can manage that :wink: Within the first 2 minutes of an hour ride there was a bunch of the front while I was doing ~3 w/kg (I’m avg weight of 80Kg). The ride lead asked that the pace be dropped to allow those that dropped of to join and asked those that felt strong to drop back and pace them back. Naively I did this. The pace at the front never dropped and even going at 3w/kg avg for the hour the front bunch ended up over 3 minutes ahead. So much for socializing then.






Just like IRL people will go off the front. My question is did you stay with the ride leader and what was his/her w/kg.


If you go to zwift power (ZP) you can see the average w/kg of the leader if he/she is on ZP and if you know his/her name.


If the ride leader did not keep to the pace then it should be pointed out to Zwift so that they can notify the leader or just remove the ride from the calendar. 



leader is not listed on ZP result, in fact only a very small portion of riders are. More than 100 participated but only 51 is listed. Nope did not stay with leader since, as I mentioned the idea was to fall back and pace back those that were dropped within the first few minutes thinking that the front would drop the pace to allow this to happen.

You are right IRL people go off the front and there are fun sprint/kom competitions but then at appropriate places such as turns, intersection, summits everybody pulls over to regroup, that is what makes it a social ride, not the fact that you cannot have the odd sprint etc.

But like I said it is not a complaint, rather an observation since like IRL people can treat a social ride any way they want. But at least now I know what to expect when the description says ‘social’ and I can then make an informed decision.

BTW just looking at the avg of others won’t really tell the story since you can have 4-5 A riders doing 3-4w/kg while the rest sit in the draft at 2.5.

Clearly they didn’t get the memo that the races don’t start until Aug 20.

I was on the same ride.  The leader repeatedly asked the front group to fall back.  Sadly, some people don’t want to listen.  I’ve seen it on other non-ZA group rides, too. It would be nice in the Academy rides, especially, for people not to fly off the front.  Kinda goes against the spirit of teamwork and unity.  The top rock star in ZwiftPower for that one averaged 3.4.  Umm, good for him, I guess?  I suppose he had reasons which made sense to him.  If it’s any consolation, most of those OTF riders get negative karma points.  I tried to stick with the beacon group, and my average for that ride was 2.5 (and as a lighter rider, I have to push a bit more on the flats and downhills).

I did another ZA group ride after that one, and there were far fewer people breaking away.  I thought it was really well together on the first lap.  The kicker on the Innsbruckring route will string people out, but seemed like most people did a good job of coasting or soft-pedaling to get things grouped back up again to gather around the beacon.

So, yeah, some of the social rides will be better grouped than others, and the leader can ask only so many times for the front people to knock it off.


I did a similar Zwift Academy group ride and people were very well behaved and generally stayed together. Very social as well with lots of chit chat. Every time we hit the small but sharp hill some people including myself went for it. We then slowed down by the sprint banner for people to catch up (as requested by the ride leader). I averaged 2.8w/kg for the entire ride but on the hill I was over 5 w/kg.

I think in the case of Zwift Academy people like myself know we have to do a certain number of group rides however we also want to get in our training, hence the reason I went hard on the climb each lap. It would have been essentially a recovery ride otherwise. I then also did a Zwift Academy workout so that I got in my 2 hours training.

So for the Zwift Academy rides expect to get some flying off the front. If you want a social ride that sticks to the advertised pace then I suggest looking elsewhere. That said if you have an experienced ride leader that can make a huge difference to how well controlled the ride is. The one I was on the ride leader was communicating regularly.

Was ride leader for two years and the rides where no one raced in front can be counted on my fingers :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

In social rides organizers should hqv a tool that could be activated that kicks riders more then say 10 seconds ahead if they don’t stop pedal and falls back behind ride leader.

Or some other solution with same purpose.

This problem truly is as old as the group rides are. And as long as Zwift doesn’t incorporate any solutions to prevent this from happening, nothing will change. The leader beacon fortunately helped on at least making it easier to just hang around the leader yourself. As for the rest who flies off at front, simply let them, ignore them, and ride with the intended group yourself.

I like social rides though there aren’t that many nowadays compared to yesteryear as many are now in workout mode which I don’t like. As such there may only be one or two social rides available to me at the times I can ride and if they happen to be a little too slow for me I’ll go with any front runners for a decent workout. I do try to pick rides where the ride leaders pace is ideal if available. 

I don’t really see the problem if a group of 50 riders split with say 35 staying with the leader and 15 going off the front. Like I say, sometimes it’s impossible to find a group ride where the pace fits what you want out of your session and the only alternative is to ride alone having no one to push you that bit harder. 

Obviously to some zwifters doing this is worse than being a serial rapist when in fact it’s not hampering their workout at all as long as they stay with the leader. Just let those who want to go a little faster go. Why lone riders in a group ride go off the front alone from the off though beats me. Sort of defeats the object of a group ride.

Getting an extra bit of work in a social ride involves riding off the back and sweeping for those who have been dropped. Ride in the wind faster than the group to lead others back into the group. Then do it again, and again. That’ll be a workout, it’ll be social, and it will bring the group together.

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Most riders who get dropped at say 35kph in a group draft have little chance of getting back up drafting one rider going at 40kph trying to get him/her back in the pack. Groups rarely slow down for dropped riders even when the ride leader orders it to be done. I have tried it on occasion but wouldn’t any more to be honest, just like 99% of other zwifters in group rides don’t. If that makes me a d1ck then so be it.

I don’t see the point of going off the front if the group is to slow that is then the same as doing a solo ride, yes you have one or two but it is still not a group ride. Ride solo if the group is to slow, or find a ride that has a hot lap of a ride leader that will let you go up a hill at your own pace and regroup at the top.

On the other hand: I lead a few groups and i don’t keep track of those off the front, i will remind them a few times and then just ignore them. I do interact with those that stay with me. 

So in short: Stay with the ride leader, look as his/her w/kg if he/she is over the ride suggested limit and you cant keep up then speak up, they may be typing or chatting or you missed a message to increase pace. 

If you are a lighter rider pic rides in the lower w/kg range or work with people at the back of the group.