“Keep Everyone Together” Option Added to Meetups

“Keep Everyone Together” Option Added to Meetups

We hadn’t seen any changes to the meetups feature since it rolled out as part of the Zwift Companion 3.0 update back in December 2018, but yesterday an update arrived in iOS which included this note:

New Meetup feature! There is now an option available for cycling meetups that will keep everyone in the meetup together when you ride.

So we got to work testing the new “Keep Everyone Together” option. Here’s how it works…

Setting Up the Meetup

Meetups can only be created via Zwift Companion. The “Keep Everyone Together” option is available under “Customize Your Meetup” on the meetup creation screen. It is turned off by default.

The description of the “Keep Everyone Together” feature which is added to your meetup clearly states how it works:

Everyone stays together in this virtual no-drop ride regardless of power output. You’ll be able to draft and move around in the group without fear of being dropped unless you stop pedaling.

Seems clear enough. How does it work in practice?

Testing the New Feature

Our test meetup featured just two riders. We kept them on flat ground in order to answer the main question in our minds: how fast will the group travel?

This was our big question because the only other “keep everyone together” group rides are group workouts, and those groups travel unrealistically slow. We were hoping Zwift had kept speeds more realistic for the Meetup option.

When the Meetup begins, a message indicates “Grouping Enabled. You’ll stick together!”

Here we have one rider at ~400 watts, and the other rider at ~200 watts. We stayed together! Never more than a 1-second gap.

Trying to sprint and break up the group didn’t work, either.

We did what we could to split up the group, but it couldn’t be done. So that feature definitely works.

But what about the group speed?

Here are some of the speeds we saw with our two-rider test:

  • 45kph when both riders held ~200 watts
  • 55kph when both riders held ~400 watts
  • 50kph with one rider at ~200 watts and the other at ~400 watts
  • 30kph with one rider at ~20 watts and the other at ~400 watts

Compare these speeds to a simple test we ran outside of the meetup:

  • 40kph when both riders held ~200 watts
  • 47kph when both riders held ~400 watts

Interesting. So Meetup riders are actually faster with the “Keep Everyone Together” option, at least in our simple tests.

We did note one small glitch in our test Meetup: the distance meter at the top-middle kept flashing in and out. Reported to Zwift support!

Note: Zwift slowed these meetup speeds in a subsequent update, so the numbers above no longer apply.

A Useful Feature?

So the feature works, even if speeds are a bit wonky. Will zwifters use it? I think so, for those “no-drop” rides where riders of varying abilities want to ride together.

The new feature lets stronger riders push hard if they’d like, without dropping weaker riders. It’s a simple, seamless way to make this happen, and a perfect example of how indoor riding can actually improve upon the outdoor experience. We’ve all been on the group ride where a very weak or strong rider keeps messing up the group mojo–but this feature negates that!

And it works without slowing the group speed to a crawl, which can be a real annoyance to stronger riders in a group.

What’s Next?

What other improvements are coming to meetups? We know Team/Club functionality is coming soon to Zwift, and perhaps that will include some of the features we’d like to see in Meetups. But still, we’ve got a list of Meetup Features we’d would love to see, including:

  • Hiding all non-meetup riders (makes it much easier to track participants in impromptu races or group rides)
  • Race leaderboards
  • Invite more than just those who follow you
  • Group workout capabilities
  • Choose any Zwift route on any course, not just Watopia + the scheduled guest course
  • Allow late join
  • Audio chat

Your Thoughts

Is this a useful feature for you? What additional Meetup features would you like to see?

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Kasper Bay Norsk
Kasper Bay Norsk (@neopol)
10 months ago

Does the drafting works when you have “keep everyone together” on?
My concern is that the speed will degrease when one rider is making less w/kg than the rest of the group, instead of just hanging in the draft zone with only 75% of effort where the speed will be unchanged.

Steve Ciccarelli
Steve Ciccarelli
10 months ago

I’d love to see this rerun using w/kg rather than raw watts. It’s VERY interesting to note the speeds for the 2 x 200w effort (total watts = 400) vs the 400+20=420 watts (uneven effort). The similar effort speed was 45kph while the dissimilar effort, although more watts, was 2/3 as fast at 30kph. That means that if anyone is slacking in the group, they’re a ball and chain and those hammering will see slow overall group speed despite heroic wattage outputs. This is what I experienced on a recent ride in this mode. It’d be nice if the meetup… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen
5 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

That’s what happens in a real group ride surely ? You wait for the slowest rider and try to pull them along

Kevin Lefler
Kevin Lefler
10 months ago

The Meetup feature instructions explain that you can send a Meetup request for Events.
“You can also go to Events, tap the Meetup icon, and click “Create Meetup”.”
I cannot find the references Meetup icon in the Events. Please advise how to setup a Meetup within an Event ride. Thanks!

Dusty Lephart
Dusty Lephart
9 months ago

Really like the meet up feature have been using it with our club riders. I also have been inviting Zwift followers that have joined us making it a great experience. I have been using the option for group to stay together which has been very helpful for everyone to join no matter what watts your are putting out. I have been preaching about Zwift to our club riders and most have joined making it nice for us to ride together in winter months.

Kenny Marshall
Member
Kenny Marshall (@kennysyeti)
9 months ago

I created a meetup with everybody staying together this last Saturday morning with 4 riders joining me and doing the Uber Pretzel route. Several glitches we encountered during this ride were super slow descending down long major climbs but one or two could breakaway by not pedaling, slow on the flats unless the leader(me) dropped back about 2 seconds or more then surged back to them continuously back and forth which upped the speed by 5+ mph, and then I had to lead on all climbs for best speed. We all rode around 2.5 to 3.5 w/kg It was rather… Read more »

Stephen Reynolds
Stephen Reynolds
9 months ago

I think adding the workout option to meet up rides will be a game changer, even if they are ridiculously slow. Can’t wait!

Rob Shellhamer
9 months ago

My first “keep everyone together” ride last night. Overall, I didn’t care for it but I do see it’s usefulness. Like most here, I prefer to pass/get passed and basically let my own power dictate my position in the ride/race. For those not so competitive, this would be a great way to just have a ride together. I could see my wife and I doing this. Basically, a social ride. But therein lies the other downside of Zwift – the social aspect is kind of weak (during ride).

Doug C.
Doug C.
8 months ago

Tried the meet up once I like it, but might be nice to have the beacon pass on to the leader in the group not stay with the organizer… also might be nice only show the list of riders in the group on all zwifters on course… Just my 2 cents…

Rick Hellard
Rick Hellard
8 months ago

I really like the meet up and stay together function.

It would be better to be able to invite people we follow, not people who follow us.

Also, how is the distance calculated as to how far apart you can get before the correction?

Dave T
8 months ago

Raise the limit to 100 riders.Enable late join. More route and world choices and hide none meetup riders be a good start. I found a problem on descents if you get a group off the back with 1 rider behind them instead of speeding the last rider up it slows the rear group until the last rider is on . By doing this the gap between the rear group and main group gets bigger so the band between the two group seems to fail to work until both groups get close together. Also the slow speeds on the descents whist… Read more »

Kev Mo
Kev Mo
8 months ago

I have done a few “Meetup” rides with “keep everyone together.” A few times, someone lost their wifi and had to rejoin by choosing to “join another Zwifter” (a member of the meetup), but the re-joining rider was no longer technically in the Meetup. What we noticed is that the individual riding on his own was MUCH faster than the group of riders (all about the same ability), especially on down hills. And you can forget about staying with the individual rider on the sprints – not a chance.

Luca Agostini
Member
Luca Agostini (@luca_agostini)
8 months ago

Hi, I have a question. Suppose I organize a meet up using a short route doing a sprint at every passage. The objective is, among friends, to have fan and check whoever it’s going to be the leaderboard. If I use the option “all stay toghether” the times of the sprint are going to be correct or falsed by the option?

Pedro
Pedro
8 months ago

Hi all
This evening we´re going to “challenge” another club using the “meetup” option with the “keep everyone together” option enabled.
Both clubs have created the same meetup at the same time, and it is supposed to be a kind of friendly “race” to get fist to the banner.
later at night I can share how the thing worked, if someone is interested.
No idea how the speed is going to be calculated.
Both clubs have wide-range leveled riders, so…let`s see

Dillon P
Dillon P
7 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

update?

Chris Higgins
Active Member
Chris Higgins (@chblue321)
8 months ago

Just led a meet up ride and 2 others joined in. The speed algorithm is not clear; when all three of us sprinted on Fuego flats our speed just stayed the same, so it can be a little defeating when you kick with some power and nothing happens. It would be nice if there could be a temporary shut off of the rubber band for the sprints and KOMs, and then rubber band back afterwards. That would promote the group ride, but incorporate some competitiveness at times.

Tiz Look
Tiz Look
7 months ago

Late join is foundamental. Maybe someone is simply late or want to rejoin after disconnection.

Carlos R
Carlos R
7 months ago

My question, the speed and distance of any rider will not be the correct? The stronger will go slower and the weak rider will go faster?

Olly
Olly
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

I had this question – you could do it but you’d effectively have a dummy distance and speed to reflect you real output. So it works like a limiter on a car and no matter how hard you rev it will not go above the group speed (or below).

Rex Zephron
Rex Zephron
7 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

Apologies if this has already been asked – but what does this do to my stats? If I am the strong rider, do my stats for the ride look bad/if I am the weak rider, have I got a cracking time for the low power output?! Thanks

Keith
Keith
7 months ago

My sister is new to cycling and Zwift. Yesterday we tried out this feature for her second time in Watopia. I’m in Hong Kong, she’s in the UK, we had a WhatsApp voice call going and set off around the volcano. A 1hr 40min ride went by much easier than my solo sessions. She averaged 150w, I was able to use it as a training ride and averaged 250. Sibling catch up and a solid training session – and I was able to talk her through various aspects of Zwifting. Fantastic feature!

David
David
7 months ago

Anyone have issues dropping a rider with much lower w/kg? For much of the ride the rubber banding was working, as the rider stayed with us. But a couple times the elastic snapped, and then it was immediately way off the back. Only 3 people in group.

Bill Brooks
Bill Brooks
7 months ago

Inside a meetup I only see me on the sprint/kom leader boards. I’m always 1st of 1 but others see everyone. Any ideas? Samsung Android connection to zwift.

eslam
eslam
7 months ago

so keep everyone together is doesn’t matter if you have smart trainer or basic trainer

BILL BROOKS
BILL BROOKS
7 months ago

Is there a way to create a Meetup inside an Event? Our group would like to ride the Haute Route together.

Tim M
Tim M (@timothy-muehleisen)
7 months ago

Question. This morning a group of six riders set out on a 1:30 hour meetup. The Highline in NYC. Shortly after the start, 3 of us went straight (off the highline) and the 3 trailing riders went right and stayed on the highline. After the ride it appeared that none of the riders stayed on the selected highline route. The three that rode at ground level stayed together for the duration as did the three that stayed on the elevated glass roadway. What happened?

Tim M
Tim M (@timothy-muehleisen)
7 months ago
Reply to  Tim M

By the Way we love the meetup feature and have been using it since Covid-19 has relegated us to riding apart. Great Feature.

Enrico M
Enrico M
7 months ago

I’m not sure about how rubber banding works in meetups. Yesterday morning, meetup group of about 10 riders, going pretty well, but one of them struggling to keep the pace, always in last position at +1/+2 seconds. I took a phone call (it was one of my friends in the meetup, they’re not using discord yet), kept pedaling at 2.2 W/kg but NEVER stopped pedaling during the call, and soon I’ve been dropped at +6 seconds. I had to make a 4,5W/kg one minute effort to be able to bridge the gap. And since this feature has been released I… Read more »

Ricardo
Ricardo
7 months ago

We used this feature today and it is great, but, because I’m on rollers, I have to stop pedaling to drink water and wipe my sweat and and as soon as I did that I was dropped and wasn’t able to rejoin my friends.

Travis Johnson
Travis Johnson
7 months ago

A question about the “keep everyone together feature” As the meetup organizer, I notice my trainer has more resistance than I’m normally accustomed to. Does that output of watts of other riders in the group have an effect on my power output?

Neil Whalebone
Neil Whalebone
7 months ago

I was part of a meetups ride this morning and my wattage was constant on 137w .. no matter my cadence. It felt like a prescribed workout. Is this normal?

Reggie P
Reggie P
7 months ago

Can you follow a training plan when in the group meetup mode? A good way to kill two birds with one stone. Thanks

Ron Chatfield
Active Member
Ron Chatfield (@rchatfield)
7 months ago

@eric, what happens with KOM or PR status? Slow guy (PR 65 mins) joins fast guy (PR 55 mins) and they both ride together. Fast guy and slow guy cross the line together up the Alpe at 60 minutes. Fast guy gets no PR but slow guy does? Is slow guys new Strava PR real or is it fake due to the rubber banded meetup? Sorry for the theoretical but I don’t want to get fake PR’s for myself.

Graham
Graham
6 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

It would be helpful if someone from Zwift could explain exactly how Meet-Ups are supposed to work as there is a lot of confusion. I really like the feature, do not understand when the rubber band effect kicks in and what it actually is, what impact a slower rider has on faster riders in the ride and stats, is it possible to drop someone even if they are pedalling, basically how it all works etc.

Lc
Lc
7 months ago
Hi, in the past week and this week I went to a Meetup “Keep Together” but the Group split in 3 groups and with 10 Kms difference in the same ride, have and idea what could it happen? Thanks 
John Gretton
John Gretton
6 months ago

I used meet up for the first time today, we had the no drop function switched on. Four of us rode the volcano circuit for an hour. I thought it worked well, The speed seemed realistic, my ftp is 3.1 w/kg and averaged 21.5mph at 187w which seemed about right. I liked the way it still felt like we were racing each other in quite a simular way to when we ride on the road, but with the added advantage that you can out sprint others without having to wait for them to catch up. It felt as if it… Read more »

Scott
Scott
6 months ago

Hasn’t worked for us, unfortunately. The last few times we have enabled ‘stick together’ for the meetup, Zwift has allowed the group to split, often blowing out to a 2 minute gap or more. It’s not anyone’s fault, it seems, but the riders left behind are just as frustrated as they would be in a real life group ride. So, no, I don’t think it’s infallible.

Dan Connelly
Dan Connelly
6 months ago

This seems like one step away from a “tandem” mode where multiple riders could independently contribute to one speed. All that remains is being able to render the bikes (with 2, 3, or perhaps more riders per bike).

Eric Hartman
Member
Eric Hartman (@eric_hartman_home)
6 months ago

So, we had a meet up today and I want to know if others may have experienced this. We had only four riders and our route was the Three Sisters. We thought two riders dropped out after an hour and left two of us to slugged it out. But we noticed that as we were descending down the Epic KOM that our speeds were quite low on a 10% descent (20kph), yet we both were doing about 200w each. Turns out one of our two riders that dropped off did not, but just stopped(for 90min) and continued his ride. I… Read more »

Martin
Martin
6 months ago

Would be useful to disable the keep together function for sprints (I assume this can’t be done at present?). This would make the sprints more meaningful in group rides…..

David Chamberlain
David Chamberlain
5 months ago

has anyone experienced the “keep everyone together feature” not working, and if so did you figure out why? My family and I have been trying to organize several rides now and for some reason 1 or 2 of the riders do not stay with the group and the gap just increases without the “slingshot” effect. We double checked settings and it showed up that the “Group Enabled, you’ll stick together” at top of all screens. Any suggestions?

RichG
RichG
5 months ago

I experienced the same thing in a group meetup last night. I think they might have a bug in Keep Everyone Together with the new release.

Gillian Robertson
Gillian Robertson
3 months ago

Offer it to running meetups

WesFree
3 months ago

The question that arises in my mind concerns the allocation of XP (“experience points”). Do riders who are putting out less power than the algorithm average (resulting in their speed, and consequently their distance travelled) get credited with the same XP as they would otherwise… or are they credited with XP in accordance with the artificially larger distances covered by the rubber-banding effect?

Mickey
Mickey (@michael-smith)
1 month ago

Old blog new question. Today i was in a banded meet up for 4 four horsemen and had to stop at the top of the volcano so lost the group. Was off about 5 minutes and set off to catch up. But, then ran into another rider who was behind and i could not pass them. Seems I banded to them and was limited to their pace – is this how it is supposed to work? At the end they stopped so i could break loose but, then they did not benefit from me trying to catch up.

Rob Newsom
Rob Newsom
11 days ago

Zwift should “decouple” groups during sprints/koms… I want to ride with my buddy’s, but I also want to be able to kick their butts in sprints when the time comes… Very frustrating to be doing 7+w/kg and not pulling away from a rider at 2w/kg… There should just be regroups after the segments, just like IRL…

Chris
Chris
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob Newsom

So do the sprints and KOM’s mean nothing in these group enabled rides? I notice the results still post on the left. Agree… what is the point of busting your butt for fake results?
hopefully Eric Schlange or other will chime in with clarification.

Robert Barrett
3 days ago

Do the achievement badges kick-in if doing a KET ride? I’m assuming they do as Zwift would have to put code in to stop that happening, and why put more code in …..

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