Zwift has always been about connecting cyclists from around the world, and since early beta days volunteers from the Zwift community have helped make that vision a reality by leading group rides on the platform.
Nowadays, the calendar contains hundreds of weekly events, but we still rely on community leaders to organize and lead most of the social rides.
One way to show our admiration for these tireless leaders is to highlight the great work they’re doing, week in and week out. And that’s what the Great Group Rides series is all about! Each post focuses on a popular, long-running group ride led by community volunteers. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the stories and people behind the rides.
For an event that puts the “social” in “social ride,” check out the DIRT Family Values Ride on Zwift. You’ll find a slower pace, a helpful team of leaders and sweepers, and lots of corny humor.
Take it from team member Dave Hardenburger: “We pride ourselves on an easy cruise at 1.5-2.0 (w/kg) and the best Dad/Mom jokes in Zwift!”
According to Dave, the goal of the Family Values Ride is “to crush some miles, have some laughs, and get a great workout in with some great people. It’s what DIRT is all about!”
The DIRT Family Values Ride rolls at an easier pace than many group rides on Zwift and tries not to leave any rider behind. The leader maintains the same power no matter the terrain, so riders should make sure to pay attention and shift gears as needed to keep their effort steady.
Feeling strong? Join the Sweep Team at the back for some harder efforts to bring dropped riders back to the group. Fall off the back? Let the team of sweepers know you need help, and get ready to work with them to catch up!
200 to 250 people join the ride each week to enjoy the fun camaraderie and punny jokes. If 50 minutes isn’t long enough, riders can stick around for the after-party.
“The Family Values Ride is a great place to start your group ride experience or to come as a seasoned veteran of Zwift,” Dave says. “Come one, come all. We’re an all-inclusive, fun-loving, and merry bunch of riders that love to party!”
DIRT, which stands for Dads Inside Riding Trainers, is a team of both men and women who love to make time for zwifting around work and family. They host a number of group rides at different paces throughout the week.
Here’s the story of the Family Values Ride:
“Our first ride was in February 2019. Jason Stern of DIRT pitched the idea to Natalie and Dave and they were excited to make it a Zwift staple! After a great year, we expanded the Leader list to add Zwift regulars Jim Nelson and Oskar Martini and moved Dave to the Sweep Lead and the Red Beacon. We added Buddy, THE Buddy the Elf and Steve May to our Sweep List. It’s evolved into a great team and we have many regulars joining us each week.”
Ride leaders Natalie and Dave
Natalie Broadnax is the primary ride leader. She’s been riding on Zwift for more than two years and has been a member of DIRT for more than a year, joining after her husband joined. The 43-year-old “MIRT” (Mom Inside Riding a Trainer) is a mother of two and former ballet dancer, rower, and academic. Now she’s opening a business – an opioid treatment program – while trying to challenge herself on the bike and be a solid example for her kids.
Natalie says: “I’m typical of many of our DIRT team members. I’m a working parent, I have always been active in a sport, I enjoy challenging myself, and when I get on the bike I want to enjoy some type 2 fun (sweat now, enjoy the reward later). My goal for our ride is to make everyone feel welcome. We enjoy keeping the group together and telling each other jokes. Every week I get off the bike feeling like I’ve decompressed from whatever stress that day has given me, and that’s something everyone can appreciate!”
The best place to learn more about the Family Values ride and other DIRT events is the group’s Facebook page.