cycling · stereotypes

Gender, bots, and speed: Sam is happily surprised that the fastest bot is female

Occasionally I think, when it comes to gender and athletic stereotypes, things are definitely improving.

First, there were the resistance bands I bought as part of our pandemic, home workout prep. . I actually bought some that were too strong– because they had a woman on the box, I was charmed and surprised–and blogged about it: Pleasant surprise!

And now, Zwift is introducing virtual riding buddies, Bots. They’re pacing partners who ride at a certain pace and you ride with them as motivation to keep riding at that pace. See “PACE PARTNERS” PACER BOTS NOW RIDING IN WATOPIA.

Here’s what one looks like:

“Pace Partners” Pacer Bots Now Riding in Watopia
Pacing bot in Zwift

But you know what I was worried about. I thought they all might be men. Or, there would be a mix of men and women and all the fast bots would be men.

Instead, another pleasant surprise. Zwift came through on both counts. There are equal number of male and female bots and the fastest one is a woman.

According to an article in Zwift Insider here’s the pace partner line-up!

  • “Diesel Dan” (1-2.4 w/kg)”: Casual-paced group ride with a few gentle hills
  • “CoCo Cadence” (2.5-3.1 w/kg): Moderately-paced group ride with occasional hills
  • “Bowie Brevet” (3.2-3.9 w/kg): Expert-paced group ride with frequent climbs.
  • “Amelia Anquetil” (4+ w/kg): Elite-paced ride on a challenging route. Many tough climbs!

Amelia is the fastest!

Also, although everyone is describing CoCo and Bowie as female and male, respectively, those are pretty gender neutral names. Maybe they’re non binary bots? I’d like that. Thanks Zwift.

Thanks Zwift.