Zwift Community

Women’s Group Spotlight: HERD Ladies

on March 25, 2022


If you’ve been riding in Zwift and have seen messages saying, “Mooooo,” then you may have spotted The HERD!

This friendly group prides itself on being welcoming and inclusive. Their members include beginner riders, adaptive riders, and those recovering from illness or injury. The moo’ing is a way they acknowledge each other out on the road, imitating animals like cows that move together in groups.

Recently, HERD added a women-only ride called Sunday Sip and Spin. It’s led by several women, and the primary leader and founder is Dorothy Davis.

“The HERD is a great group of people to ride with on Zwift. We truly want you to have a great experience when you ride with us,” Dorothy says. “We have 20 group rides a week at various times of the day ranging from 45 minutes to two hours (or longer when badge hunting) in addition to our myriad race offerings.  Every ride is supported by fabulous leaders and sweep teams.”

For more information about The HERD and the Sunday Sip and Spin, visit You’ll find links to the Facebook group, Strava club, Discord channel, group ride and race schedule, and training plans.

Z: When did this group ride form, and who started it?

D: The Sip and Spin ride debuted on September 19, 2021. When I asked The HERD founders if I could create a women-only ride, they were all extremely supportive. The ride fits in perfectly with the HERD’s ethos of supporting and encouraging our fellow riders who may need a bit more help and encouragement. It made sense to make a women-only ride within The HERD to further support those who are reticent to join group rides and ask questions.

Z: What would you say the group’s core purpose and goals are? Why do you believe your group is important to the Zwift community?

D: Our purpose is to help women get the most out of their Zwift experience in a supportive environment where they won’t feel intimidated when asking questions. Zwift is a steep learning curve. Our goal is to lessen that curve by building their knowledge, answering their questions, and providing them with answers to questions they didn't even know they needed to ask in addition to teaching them the skills needed to succeed on Zwift. The more women we get comfortable learning how to ride in Zwift, the more they will branch out into mixed rides and racing, or even become ride leaders and sweepers who will share their knowledge with others.

Z: Who are the group’s leaders on Zwift?

D: SNS is led by a top-notch crew of ladies who are veterans of Zwift. All of us lead, sweep, and race so we know how Zwift works and how to make it work for you.

Dorothy Davis: From New Jersey, USA. I've been riding since April of 2019, joined Zwift in August of 2019 with my first group ride being the HERD's FriYay ride in September of 2019. I credit the leaders, sweepers, and regulars on that ride with keeping me on Zwift as they taught me so much in just that one ride. I'm a roadie who dabbles in MTB, though I warn you to keep a wide berth when going around corners with me on a MTB! Fun fact: I once roller-skated down a hill that might be the equivalent of the radio tower. Let’s just say it’s a good thing roller skates didn’t go very fast and that the cars at the bottom of the hill had really good brakes. The ride home in the cop car was just as exciting as the ride down the hill.

Erin Tolfo: From the lower mainland of BC in Canada but also lived on the opposite coast. I started riding a bike after injuring my knee. First came spin, then a hybrid road bike, then a proper road bike. Twelve years later, my bike collection and fitness levels, as well as my dedication, have grown. I’m still primarily focused on road cycling but trying to decide if my n+1 will be a gravel or an XC MTB. Fun fact: My family knows that I will try and squeeze cycling in wherever I can - even on holiday - taking my 5- and 8-year-old kids on 10km gravel paths between cities during camping adventures or renting bikes to cycle to waterfalls.

Katie Candiloro: From Massachusetts, USA. Competitive swimmer most of my life who was looking for a non-aquatic activity post-college. Stumbled into cycling in summer 2020 and managed to find Zwift for some winter fitness in December 2020. (Boston winters get cold and I'm a wimp!) Found some awesome group rides with the HERD and quickly got to know the “regulars.” Now I help sweep/lead 3 different rides on a regular basis. I also race with both the HERD and ATP. I have no formal bike training and I've never even raced outside. I’m just a girl who loves riding my bike! Between working full-time and part-time grad school, Zwift helps keep me sane! I dabble in MTB, gravel, and road riding, but 99% of my cycling is now on Zwift! Fun fact: In addition to cycling, I also love to swim, hike, rock climb, and ski!

Sarah Swartz: From Toronto, Canada. I’ve been riding since 2008 when I got into triathlons, but my focus was running. I joined Zwift in March of 2020 and ride 6-7 days a week. Zwift has helped me connect with other local cyclists so I now have a group I feel comfortable with IRL. Fun fact: My cat loves to watch while I Zwift and is either sitting next to me or in front of the screen. I love the company.

Stacey Georganas-Mihalopoulos: From Illinois, USA. I rode as a kid and always loved it. I started riding again when I was 36 (in 2006). I ride IRL (in real life) with a phenomenal group of riders. I started riding on Zwift in 2019 but it took about a year before I found The HERD – just in time for lockdowns. I really mean it when I say Zwift saved my mental health during that time. Now, it’s like an extended family to me. I look forward to all my weekly rides and chatter on Discord. I even schedule my social plans around my Zwift rides. Fun fact: Biking is my passion. I even have an IRL group called “Stacey's Crew.” My Greek loud voice is heard everywhere I am, IRL and on Discord.

HERD leaders (l-r): Dorothy Davis, Erin Tolfo, Katie Candiloro, Sarah Swartz, Stacey Georganas-Mihalopoulos

Z: Is your group affiliated with a Zwift racing team?

D: The HERD has a racing league with over 8,000 members. We have mixed and ladies-only teams in ZRL on Tuesdays and WTRL TTT on Thursdays all the way from Cat D to Cat A. There is a team for you! In addition, The HERD has their own series of mixed races called Stampede (an individual time trial, also known as an ITT), Bullseye Points Race, winter/summer weekend races, Mountain Goat races along with women-only races called SHERies, and ITT. Tons of choices for when you want to dip your wheel into the highly addictive world of racing. For more information, visit the Facebook group for The Herd Racing League.

Z: How do you think participating in cycling can empower and benefit women and girls?

D: Cycling opens up a world of adventure that will make you physically and mentally strong. Whether you’re riding on real or virtual roads, you’re working hard and building mental, physical, and emotional strength. The lessons you learn in riding will carry through to your everyday life. A task that was once insurmountable may not be so anymore when you think back to completing your first 10km ride, 50km, 100km, 1000km ride. You can do it and you know you can do it; it just may require planning, training, and perseverance. Cycling has room and space for all people and every type of achievement and we make space to celebrate them all.

Z: What are the benefits of being involved in a community of women who ride?

D: Real talk! We call it what it is and we have to be able to do that in an environment where we can be comfortable and secure. Mixed riding would not allow the freedom we have with our conversations, which can range from serious to silly. Women-only rides give them the opportunity to open up and gain confidence in a less intimidating environment.

Z: Are there any special memories or experiences with this group that you’d like to share?

Dorothy: I’ve made some amazing connections with people all over the world and we’ve shared some great experiences through Zwift. But the best experiences have been the ones in real life. This past summer, I traveled to Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, and Toronto to ride with these awesome people who shared their love of riding with me and even introduced me to MTB. This summer, plans are in place to ride in Maine, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Toronto, and DC. I hope to make the trek across the ocean soon to meet up with my European buddies.

Erin: I haven’t managed to meet up with any of my Zwift friends IRL (in real life) but I have reconnected with some friends from school through Zwift. My favorite memories and experiences include racing in ZRL (Zwift Racing League) with so many amazing and inspirational women and feeling the sense of accomplishment when the entire team has worked hard and done their best. The proudest moment was when the Herd of Otters won the world championship in Season 2 for Division C.

Katie: In my first race as a ladies’ “B,” I was terrified. The field was so strong and I felt I had no business being there! A fellow HERD teammate, who I didn't really know at the time, reached out with words of encouragement and truly made me feel like I belonged and could do it. Thanks to Rach, I had the confidence to keep working hard and not give up on racing. I’ve since had the opportunity to meet Rach and ride together IRL. Zwift and the HERD provide a platform of positivity and encouragement with their women’s racing events that have truly changed my life for the better and helped me make an IRL lifelong friend! I've since made many other friends through Zwift and the HERD and hope to be able to travel and ride with them someday!

Sarah: The best part of the ride is connecting with ladies all over the world and I'm looking forward to riding IRL with some of them this summer. It’s a truly bonding experience.

Stacey: I love having made so many friends from across the globe. I’ve traveled to other states to ride IRL with many of my Zwift friends on some great rides and plan to do so again this summer.

HERD Rides

HERD Sunday Sip and Spin (women only)

  • Schedule: Sundays at 4 p.m. EST
  • Pace: 1.3-1.7 w/kg
  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Description: Like all HERD rides, we are strict on staying within the pace parameters. We don’t average it out by being high and low; instead, we do our best to stay within those numbers. The only times we will stray outside those parameters is when we have sprint lessons. Each week, the ride will have a different feel to it as we all rotate into the yellow beacon bringing our different personalities to the ride. We teach our riders to draft with the yellow beacon, stay away from the fence, offer opportunities to learn how to sweep, practice changing bikes when we're hitting the dirt or climbing for the sky, and have sprint lessons.

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