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The best thing about the virtual riding software Zwift is the interaction with other riders. The game’s graphics are neat, but it’s the ability to draft, attack, and chat with other riders that makes the game sing.
If you want to ride with friends in Zwift, there are three main ways to do that: through Zwift’s ‘Ride With’ feature, through joining the same organized ride, race, or workout, or through a Meetup that you or a friend creates.
How to ‘Ride With’ your friends in Zwift
When you log into the game, the main menu screen presents you with a few options. Here, you can select which world you want to ride in, and what style of riding you want to do: an event, a workout, or free riding. In the center of the screen, you are given the option ‘Join Another Zwifter?’
Any friends that you are following will appear at the top of the list, highlighted in a lighter color than the other riders. To join one of them, just select their name, and hit ‘Ride’. Be ready to start pedaling; the game will give you about 5 seconds of boosted coasting before your own power will be required to keep up with your friend.
To make it easy to connect with friends in Zwift, you need to follow them, similar to how you would in social media. There are a few ways to do this. The easiest is to use the Zwift Companion app, and search by name. (Note that the Companion app is separate from Zwift itself.)
In the game, after you complete a group event like a ride, race, or workout, you can also click the Plus sign to the right of the rider’s name to follow them.
Join a friend for an organized event
An easy way to ride with friends in Zwift is to join the same ride, race, or workout.
You can do this a couple of ways. Often my friends and I will just text each other ahead of time: “Hey, how about Hounds & Hares at 12:20?”
Another way is to look in the events list, either in the Companion app or in the game, and see if the friend icon is lit up and numbered next to the event. If it is, you can click on the event to see which friends are schedule to join. Just make sure you join the same category within that event, if there are multiple categories.
Create or join a Meetup
The last way to ride with friends in Zwift is to create or join a Meetup, which can handle up to 50 people at the same time.
If you create a meetup, you do so by setting a few things:
- the date
- the time
- the distance or duration
- the world
- the course
- whether people are kept together or not, regardless of output
Then you send out an invite that people can join or decline. As with the group events, make sure everyone gets on the game a few minutes before the Meetup is scheduled to start.
How to chat in Zwift
The interaction in Zwift isn’t limited to the avatars’ interaction with the physics modeling; you can also text with riders around the world.
If you are using a laptop or tablet, you can message by pressing the ‘M’ key to bring up the keyboard, then hitting Return to send, or Esc to cancel.
If you are using the Companion app, you can also message by typing, or you can use your phone’s talk-to-text function.
When you are in a group event or a Meetup, your chat will be seen by everyone in that event or meetup, keeping the social experience the same.