Cyclists often like to compare their rides. Almost every amateur with a powermeter will check their wattages against those of a pro and many holiday makers to the mountains like to know how they did compared to the time a race went over a nearby pass.
But comparisons aren’t always easy. It’s hard to get precise details of the fastest time up a climb. Even the famous Alpe d’Huez climb isn’t precise, no one seems to know if the times credited to Marco Pantani are for the climb, or if they include the flatter section to the finish in the ski resort.
Now there’s an interesting new service called Strava. I’m not in the habit of showcasing businesses on here and but this looks like a good step forward. It takes basic GPS data which many use to upload a ride to websites like bikely and mapmyride. Only Strava doesn’t just plot the GPS co-ords, it adds the time. As schoolkids know, distance and time mean speed. So ride the Tour of Lombardy route and it’ll automatically detect you climbed the Ghisallo and your time up the climb, from the Bellagio roundabout to the chapel is recorded.
You can track the time but most fun, you can also share the times. Of course it’s not about the Ghisallo climb, it allows riders around the world to log their times and compare rides on local routes. If you set a PB on a local hill or some other cycling hotspot then you’ll be able to compare it with others.
I think this is all fun, it’s a way to combine the internet and cycling. Serious racers might not be too worried about comparisons, indeed some might want to keep training riders under wraps and of course most don’t bother with a GPS unit on the bike. But many a weekend warrior will find being able to log and compare their ride an additional amusement.
On the downside this is a subscription service and it’s one of those Catch-22 things, people won’t sign up unless others are already logging times. One idea to get things going is to offer the first people in an area to sign up a free subscription.
I don’t use GPS so I won’t be using this but I do know my times up various climbs, local and further away. If you’re interested, check out http://www.strava.com/ for more.