When Zwift first started you were just deposited at the start line, and you had to find other riders to tag along with. Plus there were a bunch of blue ghost people to pad things about a bit. Anyway, we've come a long way since then. There's a whole host of different ways to ride together these days.
Partly Zwift's functionality has followed what people do anyway, and made it easier. So, after Zwift got going, in the early riders would post on forums what time they were going to be online, and meet up. Sometimes they'd race each other round, sometimes they'd just be up for a social ride. Group rides and the whole online racing scene has grown out of that, and now there's a big calendar of events every day that you can join, and a banding system so you know how hard it's likely to be.
The newest addition is group workouts. The ability to follow a structured workout in Zwift has been there for a while now, but it was always a solitary activity. Now you can join your friends for a workout, and the beauty of doing it online is that you can all stay together on the road, even if you're putting out wildly different amounts of power. Everyone that's in a group workout will stay in the group so long as they keep pedalling. Clever stuff.
Of course, you can still just hop on and suck a random rider's wheel. Or join a friend (or a pro) and smash round together, like the olden days. Well, last year. We've collated the many ways you can ride with other people and stuck them in this handy video. Enjoy!
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.