Gone are the days when indoor cycling was the exclusive realm of those who preferred (or were forced to) suffering alone in their ‘pain cave.’ With the emergence of powerhouse online platforms like Zwift, you can explore new routes around the world, keep your training goals on track, and even enjoy a good old group ride. That said, with the explosion of Zwift’s growth due to the pandemic, the platform has constantly been adding new features and functionalities that might be a bit intimidating if you’re using it for the first time or are looking to change your use patterns.
Today, we’re going to dive into some ways you can use Zwift to find your perfect cycling community and get the most out of your ride all year long!
Zwift Clubs functionality continues to expand and is more accessible than ever
As more curious riders have looked to Zwift to round out their cycling experience, the platform has been investing significant effort in making both novice and seasoned users feel welcome. Credit where credit is due, even as recently as this fall, we’ve seen improvements that make discovering training content easier, better Zwift Clubs functionality, and the introduction of new always-available routes and races.
Since launching in 2021, Zwift Clubs has become a hugely popular feature that lets all sorts of organisations run events. And now, it is easier than ever to find the right club to join and easily communicate with other members. You can even search through clubs based on specific controls for events, such as no drafting and powerups. Overall, these tweaks should offer a smoother experience that lets you spend less time searching and more time having fun as you ride with others on virtual routes.
Recent improvements to the Clubs feature include:
- Easier to find the right Club and search functionality
- Member limits increased to 10k per Club
- More activity types and Group Workouts added
- Zwifters level 5 and up can create a Club & Zwifters can belong to up to 10 Clubs
- Easier to stay connected with push notifications on chat
A note on finding the right club for you
Now, depending on how much time you plan to spend Zwifting, you might find a balance of several different clubs is what suits you best. Keep in mind that you max out at 10, though, so you can’t join them all! In general, we would suggest asking yourself if it is more about specific training goals, a style or philosophy of riding or a community of like-minded folks you’re after. You can find it all there! For example, Misfits CC is a popular riding club that bills itself as ‘a community of like-minded individuals who want to break down the stereotypical view of cycling and be a supportive, safe community where cyclists (and I mean all cyclists – road, MTB, e-bikes, etc.) can feel part of a non-judgemental community that encourages people.’
Meanwhile, the Sisters Cycling Club started in July 2021 as a space where Muslim women cyclists could connect. Soon afterwards, the organisers began hosting Zwift rides over Zoom.
As you can see, regardless of how you’re looking to connect with others on your bike—there’s a Zwift club for you.
You can find everything you need to know about joining a club here.
Route-based workouts to help you reach your goals
On the other hand, if you’re less concerned with the social aspect but want to find a structured training plan that offers more variety than intervals, Zwift now provides route-based structured workouts. With marked segments, you can experiment with mixed effort each time you ride while still working toward a set goal.
In addition, by riding a variety of route-based workouts, you’ll give the platform the data needed to calculate your FTP, and highlight your specific cycling strengths and weaknesses. This, in turn, will mean you can continually refine your training programme and make the most of your time spent pedalling.
Plenty of options for those who love the thrill of racing
If you need a little friendly (or not-so-friendly) competition to motivate you through the cooler months, you will do well to sign up for Zwift Racing League. Once you join, you’ll be provided with an overview of the month’s scheduled individual and team races, dates, routes, distances and ascent. You’ll have plenty of rivals to keep you on your toes, too. Zwift says the Zwift Racing League is their most popular competition, offering virtual racing for all abilities and with more than 15,000 riders and 1,800 teams taking part.
In addition, due to an increase in demand for shorter sessions, the platform is also introducing a new feature called ZRacing that’s designed for riders with busy schedules. Here, you will find a new stage each week. The content is always on and has been adapted accordingly, so you can fit in your warm-up, competition and cool-down in about an hour.
Another nifty improvement is the fact that Zwift is now using auto-categorisation. This means the platform tracks riders’ most recent Zwift performance data to match competitors more efficiently and ensure you always get to race against those with similar abilities.
Finally, if you’re really looking to kick things up a notch this winter, keep in mind that elite competitors can sign up to attempt to qualify for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. There’s a three-stage process, which starts with qualification events, moves on to Continental Championships and finally, the opportunity to represent your country in the 2023 World Championships. Now there’s some winter riding motivation if ever we’ve seen it!