Saturday, November 15, 2014

Goodbye Endomondo, hello Strava and VeloViewer

Back in the day I used to go for bike rides just for the fun of it. Then I discovered Endomondo and was able to analyse every part of a ride. And being a geek, that motivated me to ride more, try to ride faster and try to ride further. I could try to beat my best time for 10 miles or distance covered in an hour. But the number of awards was kind of limited, so my motivation started to flag. I got some more enthusiasm by training for RideLondon 100. But once I’d completed that (or to be more accurate, the 86 miles that I was allowed to ride), I was looking for something else to keep me moving, especially now the days are getting shorter and the weather is deteriorating.

I’d heard of Strava before but I’d discounted it because there was no app for my Windows Phone (what’s new right?). But then I realised Endomondo has the ability to export workouts which can then be imported into Strava. So I gave it a try. And I was immediately hooked. Rather than compare activity over a specific distance/time, I can compare efforts over the same bit of road, a segment. So for any ride I might pass through 20 or 30 segments and I generally beat a personal best on at least one of them. And that helps keep me going.

And for the ultimate geek experience, there’s VeloViewer. This runs on top of Strava and gives me an even more in depth view of my performance on segments. It tells me I have cycled on 1472 segments and I have a score of 86.4 (I have no idea if this is good or bad but it’s headed in an upwards direction which seems like a good thing)

VeloViewer was free but is now asking for £9.99 a year, with a pretty limited free version. This seems like a reasonable amount to pay for something so compelling. Strava also has a premium service but I haven’t seen anything in there that I need. My guess is that Strava will probably start to require premium membership to use their API fully which means any VeloViewer users will need to pay for their Strava account to use VeloViewer. I’d have thought that would be a no-brainer for Strava, since all VeloViewer users are the kind of people who are prepared to pay for a service and are therefore likely to cough up for Strava as well.

Anyway, that should keep me going during the long winter months. Maybe my next motivator will be my own little app running on top of Strava…

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