Important Update (January 29, 2020): Zwift is not taking new event requests at this time. As an alternative, you might consider organizing a Meetup.
Group rides take your Zwift experience to a whole new level. Just like riding in real life, when you join a group riding on Zwift you can expect to build camaraderie, learn from others and (depending on the ride) get pushed to ride beyond the limits of your typical solo effort.
Anyone can organize and lead a group ride on Zwift, but there are certain “best practices” to follow if you want to maximize the experience for everyone involved. These may change once Zwift HQ rolls out a more specific system for scheduling group rides, but for now here is a three-step process for organizing and leading your first group ride on Zwift.
Step 1: Establish the Details
Every group ride on Zwift has its own unique attributes, and you will need to decide what those are for your ride. What you decide here will determine, in a large part, the level of participation your ride receives.
- Required stuff:
- Date and time: check zwift.com/events to make sure your planned ride time doesn’t conflict with another group ride.
- Course/route/direction/ride length: there are many different options when it comes to where your group will be riding. You need to decide which course (Watopia, Richmond, or London), which route (Figure 8, Flat, Hilly, etc), which direction (forward or reverse) and how many laps the group will be riding. Keep in mind that Zwift HQ sets the monthly course schedule at this time, so unless you want to make your participants use the <world> tag hack you should plan on riding whatever course is in store for the day.
- Pace: how fast is your ride? Most group rides keep a set pace for the duration of the ride (often communicated in w/kg) while other rides change the pace on each lap, or for specific sections like the KOM.
- Ride name: give your ride a distinctive yet short name. Ideally this would communicate something about what makes the ride unique–is it a slower ride, a faster one? Competitive or laid back? Get creative, but keep it simple.
- Leader(s): decide who the ride leaders will be. It may just be you, but you may want others helping out, especially if this is going to be a recurring event.
- Optional stuff
- In-game ride identifier: this is the 3-4 letter abbreviation which Zwifters will add to their last name to show they are participating in your ride. Typically it’s just the abbreviation of the ride name.
- Sweep(s) (optional): you may decide to have sweeps (stronger riders who stay in the back of the group and help folks get back into the draft then they are dropped.) Typically faster/more competitive group rides do not have sweeps, while slower rides often do.
- Kit: Zwift’s event module lets you place everyone in the same kit if you’d like. There are many kit options on Zwift.
- Discord: while getting your riders to use Discord can be a challenge, it really does make the group ride experience a lot more fun. If you’re using Discord you will need to let riders know which channel to join. Learn more about using Discord on Zwift >
Step 2: Advertise It
Now that you’ve decided on your ride details, it’s time to get the word out! Here’s how and where to post your ride details.
- Most importantly, get your ride posted on zwift.com/events. To do this, email the events team ([email protected]).
- Secondly, post the ride as an event under the Zwift Riders Facebook group. To do this, first join the group, then click “Events” at the top and click “Create Event.” If you can create some real eye-catching graphics for your event, that’s even better!
- Share your group ride on Zwift Riders. If your ride happens weekly I wouldn’t share it every week–but at least share it the first time it happens.
- Share your group ride with others. If you’ve got friends on Zwift, invite them to join you! The more participants you have, the more you’ll attract.
- Post a follow-up to the Zwift Riders Facebook group if the ride was exceptional for some reason. Perhaps you had a lot of participants, or the group worked especially hard. If there’s something newsworthy, take a screenshot or two and post it to the group. This will keep your ride in people’s minds so they’ll consider joining you next time.
When you post your ride on zwift.com/events or Facebook you will want to share all the particulars you decided on in step 1. I typically just save my ride information and copy/paste it into the forms to keep things fast and simple.
Step 3: Lead It
You’ve decided how your ride will function, and you’ve advertised it. Now the big day is here–time to lead the group ride! Here are a few pointers for leading it effectively:
- Be prepared to send messages in game. This is the only reliable way to communicate with your entire group, and you’ll be doing plenty of it as the leader. Typically you will need to remind participants of the ride’s pace and route more than once. Plan on sending messages when:
- Your ride is just a few minutes from beginning
- Your ride begins
- A change of pace is needed (slower in the front, doing a faster lap, etc)
- Your ride ends
- If you’re using Discord or Teamspeak, assume most participants won’t be on it. These tools are great, but for whatever reason many folks don’t use them.
- Give participants a Ride On! This lets them know you appreciate them being a part of your ride. As the leader, be prepared for a pocket full of Ride Ons yourself!