About The "Great Group Rides" Series
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 thousands 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.
Every Saturday, Zwifters with diabetes and anyone looking for a slower-paced spin are invited to join the Ride On With Type 1 Social Ride.
The event is run by Zwift Team Type 1, whose riders all have Type 1 Diabetes or a close connection to someone with the condition. But you don’t have to be a team member to join this group ride. Anyone is welcome!
The pace is relaxed and beginner-friendly, but if you’re in the mood for more of a workout, go ahead and put the hammer down in the optional sprints.
“(The goal is) to offer a relaxed, fun, supportive social ride to members of our team as well as the larger Zwift community, and promote awareness of Type 1 Diabetes,” says Ed Angeli, one of the team’s founders. “Our leaders and riders are extremely supportive and adhere to the advertised pace. In addition, the support that we provide to our team members is amazing and inspiring to others that may have health challenges.”
- Schedule: Saturdays at 15:10 GMT
- Length: 19 miles // 30km, usually just under 1 hour
- Pace: 1.6 w/kg average
- Route: Richmond's "The Fan Flats"
This ride hosts 200-250 riders in peak months, and returns to the Richmond Fan Flats course each week. The flat roads make it easier for new riders to sit in the group and benefit from the draft. And the short laps mean that if they need to, they can take a lap out to rest since the group will be back around in no time.
There are six sprint segments where you’ll get the chance to test your legs, but you can just relax if you want. The leader sticks to a 1.6 w/kg pace, and anyone sprinting slows to regroup and recover. A small team of official sweepers supports riders who are struggling at the back. If more wheels are needed, others are quick to volunteer to help sweep.
“The goal of the ride is to have fun, help new riders, help new diabetics, and see if you can beat last week's sprint times,” says leader Mark Deal. “Our ride is different from other rides because most of us have a medical condition. We are open and supportive to other team members and we encourage each other on Zwift and Facebook.”
On World Diabetes Day (November 14th) you might see representatives from Team Type 1 in other rides, too! The team members ride with different groups to help inform others and lead a discussion about diabetes.
The current leader for the Ride On With Type 1 Social Ride is Mark Deal, known as “Mark Team Type 1-D” on Zwift and social media. (The “D” means he is diabetic, while an “F” would mean he has a family member with diabetes.)
He’s 54 years old and joined Zwift at the end of the beta test period in 2015. In November 2016, he was one of the first riders to join Zwift Team Type 1. Here’s his story:
“I had raced for local clubs since 18 until I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2000, and there wasn't the knowledge back then to carry on racing, so I stopped. No regrets as we started a family and had a son, Samuel, who is 18 in January. I discovered Zwift and thought I could ride and race without the problems of being on the road away from home, and (it would) help me understand riding with diabetes.”
Ride leader Mark Deal
How It All Began
ZWIFT Team Type 1 started in 2016 and is affiliated with the Team Type 1 Foundation. Ed Angeli and Scott Fleming are the team's founders, and they each have a child with Type 1 Diabetes.
Ed started Zwifting in early 2016 due to a medical condition. He initially rode with Team ODZ and had a great experience with their members. A Zwift team called KISS had a custom kit made for World Diabetes Day, and the team’s founder generously offered the virtual kit to Ed. Scott Fleming reached out to Ed and was on board, and the rest is history! Zwift Team Type 1 started with just these two riders and has grown to over 1,600 members! Every member has Type 1 Diabetes, a family member(s) with the condition, or both.
Ride On With Type 1 started in early 2017 and was initially led by Ed and a few others. The leader from Team Ascenders, Patrick, led the ride for a summer. Ed says, “Mark Deal has been leading for over 1 year now and has taken the ride to another level. Just awesome!”
Learn More about Team Type 1
To learn more about the Ride On With Type 1 Social Ride, look for it in Zwift’s event listing and jump on in! If you want to join the team and meet their membership criteria, visit the Zwift Team Type 1 Facebook group. This article on Zwift Insider gives more information about the team’s launch and purpose.