If you’re new to Zwift, you may have noticed some unfamiliar words and phrases. Some of these are cycling terms, while others are unique to Zwift and its virtual world.
If you’re feeling a bit lost, don’t worry. Here’s a dictionary with some Zwift terminology you may not know. We’ll keep updating it so you can learn the latest lingo before your next ride.
blob – n. – 1. A large group of riders on Zwift that can travel very fast despite nobody in particular working hard to break the wind at the front; 2. The shape of an evenly-paced group, compared to the snake-like shape of a group ride on the verge of breaking apart.
bacon – n. – 1. A nickname for the yellow beacon that highlights the ride leader during group rides. “Follow the bacon!” Probably originates from a messaging typo in game; 2. Mmm. Bacon.
Cone of Shame – n. – An orange triangle with “!” in the middle that appears next to your name when you go faster than Zwift expects. A rider with the Cone of Shame will lose any segment jerseys and won’t appear on the leaderboards for the next hour. Originates from Dug the talking dog in the movie “Up” and his name for an Elizabethan Collar.
coned – adj. – Having earned the Cone of Shame. “I was winning the race before I got coned.” See Cone of Shame.
dongle – n. – A device that plugs into a computer’s USB port to allow it to receive signals that it normally can’t, such as ANT+. May perform best when extended (with a cable).
draft – 1. n. – The slipstream created by a rider or riders that can reduce aerodynamic drag behind them. When you’re “in the draft,” you can go faster for less effort; 2. v. – To benefit from the draft effect behind someone breaking the wind.
drop – v. – To ride away from someone who is falling behind. The rider left behind has been “dropped.” Some group rides with designated sweepers may help dropped riders rejoin the main group, but not all group rides do this. In a race, you’re on your own. See sweeper.
dropout – n. – 1. A momentary loss of ANT+ or Bluetooth signal to Zwift. Often rage-inducing, especially when encountered multiple times; 2. A momentary loss of Internet connection, in which case preceding the word with “Internet,” “network,” or “WiFi” is recommended.
group ride – n. – A ride with a group. Not a race. No, really. Stop laughing! See race.
flier – n. – 1. Someone going ridiculously fast who may earn the Cone of Shame; 2. During a group ride, a person who “flies” off the front ahead of pace; 3. An attack off the front of a race. “To take a flier” (less commonly used on Zwift).
FTP – n. – Functional Threshold Power. Roughly the maximum power in watts that you can hold for 60 minutes, sometimes converted into w/kg. Often mentioned repeatedly and shared in screenshots, even though there’s not much point in comparing the FTP of different types of riders.
helmet – n. – 1. An aero helmet PowerUp, which gives the rider a temporary aerodynamic boost to help them go faster; 2. A Zwift fashion accessory.
race – n. – A competitive ride. This is the one where you try to go faster than other people and drop them on purpose. See group ride.
Scotty – n. – Zwift’s squirrel mascot, who used to move around the virtual world but now parks himself in certain places.
sticky draft – n. – The effect of getting “stuck” behind or next to a rider on Zwift while in the draft, or latching onto the wheel of a slower rider while passing. Said to have been fixed in an update but occasional stickiness still reported. See draft.
sweeper – n. – A rider, usually highlighted with a red beacon, who has volunteered to help “sweep” dropped riders back to the main group if they are able. The sweeper may also form a second group for the riders behind. See drop.
Tron bike – n. – The Zwift Concept Z1 bike. Has glowing wheels and belongs to Zwifters who have climbed a lot.
w/kg – n. – Watts per kilogram. Not to be confused with kilograms per watt.
Zwifter – n. – A person who uses Zwift. May be sensitive to wet, cold, or hot conditions. Sometimes known to exclaim “Ride on!” or “Hammer time!” with little provocation.
Know of a Zwifty word or phrase that isn’t included above? Suggest it below and we’ll add it to our list!