Social Rides not matching with Event Description

 Been a Zwift rider for several years now, enjoying workouts, races and group events.   Not sure if others a noticing the same but I’m finding about 50% of group events described as “Social Rides” with associated wattage averages included are really just races with little attempt to control the pace by the ride leader.

I’m a lower end C rider who can race for an hour at about 2.7watts per kg.  Last night I was looking for a relaxed ride so  I chose to get up and join a group ride at 5am Pacific Coast Time listed as “Nic and Amanuels Social Ride”  described at 2.0 wpkg.    From the start there was an immediate high wattage push which the ride leader did not attempt to control but went with.   As riders texted,  questioning if this was a 2 watt ride, there was no attempt at regrouping.   In fact one of the leaders joked that they could not count to 2. 

I  continued to ride an average  output of 2.1 or so with others that were dropped.  The last lap the ride leader was putting out well over 3wpkg which seemed to be an all out race.   By the end of the three laps the ride leader was nearly 8 minutes ahead of me.  I checked strava flyby and the group was spread out over 2+ miles.    Had a similiar experience with AFR ride on November 1st on a ride described 2 to 2.5 wpkg.  I averaged over 2.5+ and finished 3+ minutes back. 

Other rides like the PACK Sub 2 rides are run as advertised.  The ride leaders make a real effort to keep the group together and ride at the advertised rate.  Others not so much.

I certainly don’t mind others riding faster or even racing but I’d rather not plan to get up early to join a social ride which is really a race.  It does not seem to be  to anyone’s benefit to have such a disparity 

I supposed my question is: 

1.   Is there any training for ride leaders to follow the described ride? 

  1. Is there any post group event monitoring by Zwift?

3.  Is there a forum where post ride feedback can be given so ride descriptions can be adjusted ?   Or particular groups rides can be put on notice as “beware of over eager ride leaders”?   

Second that. Dear Zwift, Please let your “pros” know that it is “amatuer” to lead a Zwift Qhubeka SOCIAL ride (2 w/kg) while thowing down 4-5 w/kg. Cummings was 9 mins. out in front at one point (Wed Nov. 15, 8:30 am ET) , while I was way in back (last) having consistently riding at 2 w/kg. Not a particularly nice way to run a charity event. DQ’d!

Maybe there should be a ‘breakout’ point, where if people get too far ahead in a ‘social ride’, they are no longer in the group.

Or why not rubber-band socials?

Good thoughts.

Social rides with riders  who get too far out from the group still require a group leader to follow the stated goal.  If individual riders get away but the group and group leader stay together then I’m happy.   If the ride leader is not following the wpkg and gets too far out then those that follow the wpkg would be the ones who’d get booted from the group.  That hardly seems fair.    

The responsibility totally falls with the ride leader.   If they aren’t disciplined and feel the need to race to the front the group it seems to feed on itself and turns into a race.   In the technical features section I suggested that  social ride leaders be required to essentially ride in an erg mode which would not allow them to exceed the stated wpkg by much if at all.   Maybe there could be a range? 


Hi I totally agree with the above comments…always left flagging off the back on group rides. Just ends up a solo ride. More control definitely needed, as what is the point of the catergorized rides. It ends up being disheartening and pointless and a much harder ride than the so called social ride. :disappointed_relieved::disappointed_relieved:

In response Joanne,  after one particularly unsatisfying “social ride” due to the ride leaders inability to follow the described wpkg,  I’ve gone to my strava account, found the ride leader in flybys and sent a note registering my disappointment.   I received a defensive response back stating that they thought they were following the ride guidelines “close enough”.  Even thought that response was nonsense at least they’ve been put on notice.   That’s why I think some sort of feedback on ride leaders could be helpful.  We’ll know which ones are disciplined and which are not.  

All sounds a bit familiar. Went on my first “social” ride last night. Rated at 1.8-2.4w/kg - easily within my somewhat limited capabilities (I’m bottom end C cat on Zwift, FTP - 2.8w/kg). Everyone belted off at 2.8 or so - not impressed. I suppose it’s just a case of finding the real “social” rides, not the ones that turn into races.

I’ve noticed some changes.   The ride description now ask people to respect the wattage limitations and those that ride off the front to exit out and find a race.   I was on a ride last Monday, described as max 2.2 to 2.4wkg on hills.  The leader started off with a nice warm up, a group was starting to gather just off the front but not too far.  As we approached the London Hill the leader surged to 3.2 and it was an all out race to the top.   I started texting saying “what happened to the limits?”.  The ride leader was congratulating people for setting PR’s.  I said what about the people that stayed within the limits?  Answer - they got dropped!   After that comment the leader slowed and even stoped to wait for a regroup of about 12 riders leaving 20 or more that went off the front in a race.   I basically berated the leader for blowing up the ride but he held the described pace for the rest of the ride.   Some leaders are good and others just can not resist the urge to get out front.   You may want to think about getting to the warm up a couple minutes early and send a text to the ride leader asking if the ride will follow the description.      

Happened to me today with a Spinistry Ride (rated 2.0-3.0). The leader took off and NEVER commented through the ride, despite many riders voicing their disapproval. I found a great group of 9-10 riders and we rode the ride @ 2.5-3.0 and it ended up being a great ride, but no thanks to the leader, who was pushing at 4.0-5.0. People were “blowing up” all over the place.

A feedback mechanism for group rides (like uber/trip advisor) would allow riders to find the quality group rides that remain within the stated descriptions.

Today’s ride was a complete joke from that perspective

Really do think Zwift need to get involved, and put some mechanism in place, to ensure that social rides do stay social. 

I appreciate that the leaders are volunteering their time and energy in hosting the rides, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be enforced rules put in place to control the ride. A star rating would be an idea as mentioned above, or alternatively a breakout point if riders are averaging a percentage higher than the stated power.

If social rides turn into races, Zwift will have unhappy customers, and the chances are that they could often be fairly new customers … and it could make them disenchanted with the whole concept.

I have just had a 6 week break from cycling due to illness, had my first group (social) ride at the weekend, and ended up right at the very back by myself despite the rating of the ride being suitable for my ability. To date, I’ve only had one social ride when the group leader did a great job of constantly monitoring, and pulling everybody together, and it was great fun, such a happy experience, wish I could remember who hosted it … and I’d just join his / her social rides.

Tas, my Spinistry experience last night, 2-12-18, is exactly why I ended up in this group of comments about this issue.  The “leader” of that “social ride” is a JOKE!  We absolutely need an uber/lyft/fill_in_the_blank type feature that will enable us riders, and people who pay Zwift $$$ to leave feedback so that we can do our homework before deciding how to spend our ride time on Zwift.  I agree it is very disheartening to see so many riders “blow up” on a ride.  I did turn a sour experience into a good ride by finding a group doing the “as advertised” wattage, but absolutely no excuse for the behavior exhibited by the ride “leader”.  Deep down, I suspect he needs people who feel comfortable at half the wattage of his FTP so he feels good about himself.  Probably could not place high enough in real, as advertised, races for his ego, so he created this “group ride”.  Whatever.

PS-about 4 months into my Zwift experience, and so far every group event has been a wonderful experience, so clearly the reason why I am feeling so pissed about this particular experience.  There, I feel better now. Thanks :wink:

1 Like