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 Wednesday, the REVO Speedy Spin Sisters get together for a supportive Zwift group ride just for women. featuring a relaxed-to-moderate pace and a spirit of cooperation and encouragement.
“This is first and foremost a group ride,” says Christine Culver, one of the ride’s leaders. “We try to keep the ride together and blobbed around the yellow beacon with a goal of leaving no rider behind. We seek to have a pleasant chat and fun banter with bad jokes, puns, and talks of yummy food.”
“This ride is a great way to be a part of the women’s cycling and ZWIFT community.”
- Schedule: Wednesdays at 7 am PT (Women Only)
- Length: 1 hour
- Pace: 2.0 w/kg average, with a warmup around 1.5 w/kg at the beginning
- Routes: the group sticks to flat routes: Watopia Waistband, Tempus Fugit, Greater London Flat, and Watopia Tick Tock
The ride starts with a warmup at 1.5 w/kg for about 5 minutes to give everyone a chance to organize around the leader’s yellow beacon. Then the leader lifts the pace to an average of 2.0 w/kg.
“We encourage riders to stay with the pack,” says Christine. “We are stronger together, and it allows them to practice their drafting skills.”
Sometimes, this is easier said than done. So a sweeper rides near the back with a red beacon and helps pull riders to the main group. Typically, there are a handful of regular riders who help with sweeping, too. The sweep team tries to keep the group “blobbed up” during the warmup period to give all riders a chance to stay with the pack for the entire ride. Once the group is rolling at its normal pace, if there are riders that fall back more than 30 seconds, the sweeper typically will gather another group of riders off the back.
“We practice a ‘no rider left behind’ goal while honoring the advertised pace of the main group,” Christine says.
The Speedy Spin Sisters ride usually draws more than 100 riders, of all ages and levels. The group shares tips and advice for new Zwifters, and they encourage riders to try new things like racing and Zwift Academy.
“What makes our ride special is we try to make it a weekly supportive women’s ride,” says Christine. “We feel like we are riding with friends on the road in real life. Learning, laughing, being a support system... the jokes do make the time fly. It’s been a lifeline of sanity during these times.”
How It All Began
The REVO Speedy Spin Sisters Ride started in October 2019. Christine Culver and Jessie Whitesides of REVO wanted a bit of a faster ride than the team’s social rides, and one that was open only to women. The goal was to create a comfortable and welcoming event where women could push themselves a bit. As Culver tells it:
“When we started this ride there were not many options for women’s rides in this time zone. [Now] we have a consistent group of women who thoroughly love riding together, chatting, and helping each other. We get women from all over the world, first-timers, and even kids and teenagers.”
Leaders for the Speedy Spin Sisters Ride include (left to right, top to bottom): Linda Brocato, Gail Kocher, Jessie Whitesides, Christine Culver, Susan Blickstein, Jimena Gravelle, and Emma Brinkley.
Linda Brocato, 53-year-old empty nester, has been on Zwift for 3 years this month. Skills include typing while Zwifting and keeping steady watts/kg. Linda has a quick and easy wit that she brings to the rides.
Gail Kocher, 57-year-old cycling enthusiast who started just to commute to work, got interested in cycling tours and fondos and ended up getting into Zwift almost 2 years ago to train for hills as she lives in the flat Midwest. Gail got the racing bug and was fortunate to be able to join REVO shortly thereafter.
Jessie Whitesides (Sweeper), 49-year-old architect with a cycling problem passion. She has been riding bikes since she was 5 years old. By the time she was 10 she was racing BMX. She bought her first mountain bike at the age of 16, and her first road bike at 25. She now rides any kind of bike and they are her primary source of fitness, fun, and social connections with her friends and community. She has been a Trek Women’s Advocate and loves promoting the enjoyment of riding bikes. Jessie has been on Zwift for about 4 years and with REVO since its formation.
Christine Culver (Lead), 55-year-old. Started riding Zwift in August of 2017. Christine started riding and racing mountain bikes in 1985. She raced Downhill professionally for Mantis and Salsa Cycles in the 80’s and 90’s. She started Zwifting about three years ago to supplement her “training” (she actually refuses to do any structured training as she wants to keep it fun). Currently her cycling involvement includes running a women’s cycling group called the Biker Chicks for the past 7 years and being a Trek Women’s advocate for the past three years. She still loves doing local races of all types because she loves a little competition even when she gets her you-know-what handed to her.
Susan Blickstein is 54-year-old urban planner, Complete Streets policy wonk and research nerd. She got hooked on riding at age 10 when her dad got her a purple Gitane. She races locally and regionally in the foothills of the Catskills Mountains and Upstate NY, favoring hilly one-day races. The death of her dearest friend and training partner brought her to Zwift and REVO two years ago. She can't type and Zwift at the same time, but learning to is a New Year's resolution.
Jimena Gravelle is a 37-year-old mom of 2 young girls from Canada. Jimena only started cycling about three years ago after giving birth to her second daughter and officially retiring from Taekwondo competition. Although very new to Zwift, having just begun indoor training this summer, Jimena found a great deal of joy as she got involved in the wonderful Zwift community; the ability to interact with like-minded cyclists around the world as well as an opportunity to foster her competitiveness through virtual racing. Jimena takes pride in being a supportive and fun teammate, always ready to take on a challenge as well as providing supportive words with everyone she rides with.
Emma Brinkley is 39 and is a full-time project manager and is also studying for a master's in psychology part-time. She discovered a love for cycling after buying a road bike in 2016 for commuting. Then she caught the Zwift bug in 2018, doing her first Zwift Academy before joining team REVO at the end of 2018. She is an ambassador for This Girl Can in the UK which aims to encourage women and girls to be more active, and loves being able to use leading REVO rides as a way of empowering and uniting females of all ages through a collective love of cycling and Zwifting.