The heartbeat of Zwift has always been its social nature, and this is never more obvious than on a fun group ride.
While hopping into a Robopacer pack gives you some of that social feel, taking part in a consistent weekly ride brings things to a whole new level. You’ll get to know the ride leader and the regular participants. You’ll learn each others’ stories and inside jokes. Do it well, do it long enough, and you’ll begin to actually connect and care for fellow riders. It’s a beautiful thing!
We recently reached out to Zwift for data on popular group rides. Along with event-specific rider numbers, Zwift gave us the following stats from community-led rides between August 12-October 12, 2023:
- 57,885 unique participants
- 628,209 rides started and 436,019 rides finished
- 2,674,872 Ride Ons given
- 4,315,419 kilometers ridden
- 30,188,912 meters climbed
Community-led group rides can be super fun, but they can also be paced differently than you’d like. They may also be poorly attended or not led as promised. So how do you find a group ride you can trust with your time?
We’ve compiled a short list of Zwift’s most popular 10 community-led weekly group rides. These are well-established events organized by reputable teams who lead multiple rides each week, and their attendance numbers show it. If you’re looking to try a group ride, this is a great place to start.
Note: for the purpose of these articles, “Popularity” refers to the number of weekly participants. Each ride on our top 10 list has 100+ riders participating each week.
SZR Evening Joyride
Mondays at 5pm UTC/1pm EDT/10am PDT
SZR (Swedish Zwift Riders) hosts a lot of rides each week, but the 40-kilometer Evening Joyride is their oldest and most popular. You have four categories to choose from based on desired pace:
- Group B: 3.2-4.0 w/kg
- Group C: 2.5-3.0 w/kg
- Group D: 2.1-2.4 w/kg
- Group E: 1.5-2.0 w/kg
Each group has a ride leader, there’s a Discord channel for voice chat, and the ride rotates through a variety of flat routes.
What Zwifters are saying:
“Since many years joining SZR Joyride E category and for me group with high politeness, lovely banter and sticking to pace. And never leaving one behind.” Jochen Sattelberger
BMTR Short Adventure
Wednesdays at 12pm UTC/8am EDT/5am PDT
BMTR hosts their Short Adventure in 4 different timeslots each week, each with slightly different category options. Wednesday seems to be the most popular, but thereare also Monday and Friday slots at the same time, plus two Sunday slots at 12:15pm UTC and 1:15pm UTC.
These 60-minute rides offer three different pace groups, each with its own leader:
- B: 2.8-3.2w/kg
- C: 2.2-2.6w/kg
- D: 1.6-1.9w/kg
Routes rotate through a variety of flat routes.
What Zwifters are saying:
“I usually do the BMTR Short Adventure D group as an easy social ride. There is a lot of talk about the application of pineapple on pizza, which many people have a problem with. To me, anything you put on flatbread is a pizza, but I have compassion for people triggered by that. There is a great team of sweepers who help drag people back to the group when they get dropped.” – Paul Southworth
Cycle Nation Joburg Sundowner
Weekdays at 4pm UTC/12pm EDT/9am PDT
Cycle Nation’s daily “Sundowner” rides are evening social rides which vary each weekday in terms of route, available categories, and ride length. This way, riders can join multiple Sundowners each week but still get plenty of variety!
Categories range from low D paces to Wednesday’s C pace (2.5-3.2 w/kg).
Stick with the ride beacon for a steady pace, or drop back and help as a sweeper if you want more of a workout.
AHDR Caffeine p/b GIANT
Tuesdays at 6:50pm UTC/2:50pm EDT/11:50 PDT
AHDR’s Caffeine is a morning ride for Australians, since AHDR is an Australia-based team. But this event’s timeslot makes it available to just about anyone in the world, depending on your workday schedule.
The rides are around an hour long and paced steadily, but on rolling routes (recent events were on Watopia Flat, Champs Elysees, and Seaside Sprint), so expect some modulation in pace throughout the ride. Two pace categories are available:
- C: 2.5-3 w/kg
- D: 2-2.5 w/kg
The C category features an unofficial “Caffeine” race at the end of the event, but if you don’t want to race you can just cruise out the end of the event with others. The slower D category doesn’t include the Caffeine race.
DBR Base Endurance Ride
Thursdays at 3pm UTC/11am EDT/8am PDT
This long-running event from DBR (Danish Bike Riders) is different from other popular rides in that it is open-paced, even though there’s a ride leader.
DBR says, “the point is that everyone rides at their own level. Stay in the blue power zone (zone 2) for the duration of the workout. You will quickly form grupettos with people of your own fitness level.”
Why stay blue? Because this is “an endurance workout that will boost your aerobic threshold and train your body to use fat as energy rather than quickly depleting your glycogen stores. Continual efforts will boost your race performance and endurance.”
The ride lasts for 90 minutes, and rotates each week between various flat routes so you can keep your effort steady.
Questions or Comments?
Have you tried any of the rides above? Share your thoughts below!