Developing a NEW GPS cycling analytics Website. WW help/input needed!

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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aerozy
Posts: 791
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Hi everybody! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. Hope you are all doing well.

I’m going to try and make this message as short as possible but I guess a small introduction is necessary. Here goes…. So basically I used to be an engineer working in the oil sector that was a total WW n+1 addict. After 10 years I grew a conscience, gave up engineering, moved to the country side (mountains), opened a bed and breakfast with a bike touring component. The bnb went relatively well but not so much the cycling part of things. So with a lot of time on my hands I thought of giving web development a try. Total amateur programmer but why not.

The idea was to make an alternative to strava but more focused on cycling (and climbing). One of my focus points was to use only open source resources, again due to my knew found ethics. I believe in everything open source. Patents are the plague of this world. I avoided using API’s from companies like google, amazon, etc that would have made my life easier but at a cost.

The main features of the site are basically ready. Just as a little taster I’ve have included features like wind estimation, climb segments (with polka dot jersey point attribution), power and heart based stress/form plots and much more. There are user rankings and as a true WW equipment rankings too!  I hope to have something ready to release in a few months but there is a lot of tweaking and testing left to do. In that sense I am calling on the Weight Weenies community for help. In a few weeks I will be putting the site up on a temporary domain (@ heroku.com) and will be looking for some people to run the site through its paces. Men, women, amateur, pro, whatever, anybody is welcome. There will be a lot of bugs so patience is required! If I managed to get between 20-50 testers that would be great. If you are willing to be a tester please send me an email here or at chainpeaks@gmail.com. By the way once we go into full testing mode I will be looking for input on everything from functionality aspects to aesthetics, the lot. WW’s can also give ideas here for features they would like to see on the website.

Another item I would humbly appreciate some help on is cycling related arty pictures. This project is a one man show and unfortunately I am a shit photographer. Ive noticed on the “Cycle Chat / 2018 on the road today” some great pictures and would be awesome if people would be willing to share some pictures with me. If needed I am happy to credit them. For those willing to share please send them to chainpeaks@gmail.com. Thanks in advance.

Sorry if this ended up being a too long post. Thanks a bunch! Looking forward to discussing some ideas on what we can do here.
Cheers,
David
Last edited by aerozy on Tue May 08, 2018 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sunny cycling holidays in Portugal @ Cherry Cottage Vintage B&B

kode54
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by kode54

not sure anyone is willing to dump Strava or RideWithGPS.
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by Weenie


aerozy
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Just to be clear my project is not supposed to compete with strava, its simply an alternative. I will continue to use both, and guess thats what I am hoping future users will do. I am trying to incorporate as many different features to strava as possible. For example when you compare two efforts from two diferent riders wouldnt it be nice to know if one had a head wind and another a tail wind? I also bring riders equipment into the equation. For example you will be able to comparea whole bunch of telemetry for each of your bikes over the months. Having 7 bikes I always thought that would be a cool thing to have.

Though I agree Strava does dominate the GPS post ride analytic market but alternatives are always healthy. Im sure it will be a slow start... Second strava has a whole bunch of premium features that of course you need to pay for. For those with a shallower pocket my app could be an alternative.

But for now all I need are people willing to trial the app (its in development phase) and give me feedback. Doesnt mean you need to give up Strava.
Sunny cycling holidays in Portugal @ Cherry Cottage Vintage B&B

Shrike
Posts: 1393
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

You can definitely create something of value in this space. There is a lot of dissatisfaction with Strava as it misses a ton of what you would expect to be core functionality.

Quite a bizarre platform if you strap back and look at the state of it. Really is a case of them getting the style and form factor right before its competitors so now they have the lion's share.

When I say core functionality, I do mean core. Super basic type functions like tagging rides so you can find and compare them later. I could go on all day and people have been too. On the Strava forums, for years on end. Threads, 4,5,6 years long asking for basic stuff and it just doesn't come. Strava is increasingly a spamfest too.

Take a look at this site below. I pay for it and so do many other riders. £9.99 a year. Great value I think. Indispensable even. If your site has value, people will pay for it and love it. It doesn't have to go head to head against Strava. It can be complimentary.
https://mywindsock.com/my/

It's more useful to me than Strava to be honest. Strava is only good for taking KOMs of the local riders and getting a bit of good natured competition going on. The analytics built into Strava are useless. Only the Power Curve is any use. I've dropped my Premium sub now.

I use RidewithGPS to plan my routes, but I'm a free user. That site is hands down the best site I've used to plan and export routes. It's just so smooth. But I don't pay for it, and if they locked me out, I wouldn't pay to get back in as I have other options that aren't as good, but get the job done.

That's what you need to keep in mind if you're looking to monetise in this space. Can people use a free alternative. If yes, then it'll be much harder to take their coin, even if you do it better. Also, some stuff is really cool, like Stravistix. I have that plugged into Chrome. Has loads of cool data, but honestly, it's just a mess of info and although I wouldn't uninstall it, I definitely wouldn't pay for it if I had to. That's another things to look for. Are you doing something people really, really want or need, or is it just some wanky geekfest. Not always easy to tell. Especially as minority voices can shout the loudest. Easy to end up heading a certain direction on something because a handful of guys are rabidly into it and have got your ear.

I can help you test your site with ride uploads, and am happy to give feedback (read: have loads of opinions on everything). Also love to support guys that are having a go at doing what the enjoy so.. I'll shoot you an email shortly :thumbup:
Last edited by Shrike on Tue May 08, 2018 7:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

RyanH
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by RyanH

What's the value add over a platform like Strava? I see that you're stating it's more cycling centrict but what does that mean? From a cycling standpoint, I feel like Strava is pretty cycling centric as is and if I needed more, I'd sign up for TrainingPeaks as that's where I feel Strava is deficient. There's also a site, which I cannot remember, that quantifies how hard a segment was and creates a global ranking which I thought was a really cool idea. E.g., a 5th place on a hotly contested segment with pros on the leaderboard is much more significant than a bunch of KOMs in the boonies.

Also, out of curiousity, what language did you program it in?

aerozy
Posts: 791
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Hey guys. Thanks for the early feedback. Very interesting and already very helpful. Ryan I was thinking about the activity tagging aspect which is quite easy to implement (gems are available). I'll be sure to include that though I havent yet. That weather wind app seems very cool. Thats exactly what I was referring to. Im not sure how they come to that data though. My wind estimate is based on power output, speed, and gradient (and aproximated friction coeficients). There seems to be a lot of apps out there that link directly to Strava and provide extended features. I was considering going that direction but decided to go 100% indepenent.

I love strava but as mentioned the analytics side could be better, even for premium members. At the moment my app is producing what they have in that aspect and a little more. FTP is not user input, but calculated from the riders power curve. No more cheating :) Looking to expand the power/heart analytics a little more though. For the time being I have stress and form charts, power distribution, power curves, best intervals, interval categorization (cat2, cat1 etc). One cool thing Ive implemented is that based on your power curve the app gives your "rider type" and "category" level. For example it currently says I am a "cat 2" "puncheur" type rider.

Segment/kom wise I think strava has gone a little overboard, with now every corner to corner being basically a segment. I cant imagine how much data storage they must need to hold all that information! I want to keep the competitive side of things to climbs only. My app selects the climbs from your route automatically (no user input once again which I want to keep to a minimal generally speaking). Apart from general time classifications, it gives you mountain points dependending on mountain categorization. Top 10 get points, while current year top 10 finishes are worth more than pior years to keep rankings dynamic and fun. Another aspect is rankings can be seen by equipment/country. So for example Specialized might have so and so points in the US but be outranked in other countries. Thought that would be cool to see bike brands fight it out, not just users.

But as I said I am still in very early development phase. Only started in february. Core feautures are done, but probably need improvements (scalability could be an issue as users increase). Gonna have to spend a lot of time improving the layout.

Im programming the app in Ruby and am using Ruby on Rails for the app developement. Using postgresql as database and postgis for the geocalculations. So all open source stuff. Using OpenStreetMaps for the maps and leaflet as map interface which are also open source.

Thanks again for the feedback.
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bilwit
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by bilwit

Strava post ride analytics is kind of lackluster in terms of useful training information.. everyone uses Strava due to the social aspect: segments boards, activity comments, clubs, route sharing, flyby, etc. Its "premium" features have long been stale and seems development has plateaued while they focus on hardware integration.

The best (free) third party thing for Strava right now is Stravistix but it's Chrome-only and the PMC ("Fitness & Freshness") chart doesn't really work well for some people (doesn't do a good job at going through activity history).

Would love to see something that has PMC and power profile (1m, 5m, 20m, 1hr, etc) without the cost of Strava Premium or Training Peaks

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Calnago
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by Calnago

I’m a paid user of Training Peaks and RWGPS. Can’t think of anything more in those spaces that I’d need. Training Peaks provides more than enough analytics for me, and if you needed even more then there’s WKO+ (I presume that’s still alive?). But then it starts really getting crazy. And for route planning etc as was mentioned RWGPS is really the leader in that space. I think it’s really tough to break into these spaces once they get well established. But I guess there will always be efforts to do just that. So good luck to you.
I love all the data etc., but really...unless you come up with something that prevents me from biting into that tasty muffin, I’m good with what’s out there at the moment. Any more would be even more analytic overload than already exists. At some point I just want to ride my bike cuz it’s fun.
Last edited by Calnago on Tue May 08, 2018 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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kode54
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by kode54

I plan most of my rides with RWGPS. i'm a paid user. it tracks my data...and really, most of what i look at is mileage to date. I think if I wanted more metrics..I would be using Strava...but has too many distractions that I don't participate in.
- AX Lightness Vial EVO D + DA9150 + Enve SES 4.5 carbon hubs
- Parlee Altum + DA9150 + Enve SES 4.5 carbon hubs
- Parlee ESX + DA9150 + THM SRM PM + Enve SES 6.7 CK hubs
- Guru Praemio R Titanium + DA9150 + Enve 3.4 CK hubs

aerozy
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Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Hey folks! I appreciate that people get used to certain apps/websites that work well enough to their expections and are happy with the status quo. But imagine that type of thinking going back to the 90's? You would still be on your atari. Healthy competition pushes companies and people to do better products. Im giving you guys a chance to tell me what you would like in an app. Thats all. Not trying to change the world or compete with any of the players mentioned. If you are not willing to try new products thats fine. I for one always love trying something new. I use Strava, RidewithGPS, etc. love them but neither is perfect, so Im making one my self to my demands. Btw my app will definetely not be a routing site, that much I can say, so RidewithGPS is safe :)
There is also the financial side of things, WKO, trainingpeaks, strava all have paid premium features. I want to offer those for free. Maybe in the distant future I can add more features at a premium level, but the basic analytical features I want to be 100% free.

Ryan, Ive impletemented that tagging features for each activity. On a social network perspective my app has now activity comments, likes, tagging, following users and thinking of adding a simple private internal messaging system.

Folks feel free to suggest anything you would like to see in the app. Thanks again! D
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aerozy
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Ok so thanks for the people you have already enlisted. I have no female test riders as of yet. Any ladies willing to become part of the test group? Would love to have more people from the US or UK (imperial units), and well more people from anywhere would be helpful! Mountain terrains are preferable but not a prerequiste! You can live in a flat region, its not a problem :) As an incentive to join the test group once the site is fully operational and comercialized I will offer all testers at least a full year of premium membership, perhaps even longer.
Sunny cycling holidays in Portugal @ Cherry Cottage Vintage B&B

aerozy
Posts: 791
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Remember Im not asking people to give up Strava. Actually being a Strava user or any other cycling telemtry platoform is a plus. Just asking for testers, meaning your gps data and a little feedback. No contracts, no strings just a little of your time.
Sunny cycling holidays in Portugal @ Cherry Cottage Vintage B&B

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IrrelevantD
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by IrrelevantD

Just out of curiosity... have you considered just doing API calls to Strava, similar to what VeloViewer is doing? I'm not familair enough with what all he's doing on his site, but it appears he's pulling all of the ride data without users having to upload data separately.
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aerozy
Posts: 791
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

Hi folks!

Thanks for hanging in there. For anyone interested in signing up for a test run I have now a test version of Chain Peaks up and running on the heroku platform.

You can start uploading gpx/fit files and fiddling your way around the site.

Here are a few things you should know:

1) GPX files upload in about 10s which i think is decent but unfortunately FIT files take a lot longer coming in about a 15s.

2) I am running on the hobby-free plan over at Heroku. This has several limitations included database capacity and performance. If needed Ill consider upgrading to a better plan during the testing period.

3) Please hold on to your gpx/fit files as this test database will not be passed over to the final official version. Meaning your activities, comments, likes, etc will be lost once we have the final production version running.

4) In order not to overload the database early on lets start with loading just 2018 activities and see how we get along.

Feel free to mess around with everything. Im sure there are loads of bugs which I will try to fix as soon as they come up. Feel free to also make suggestions for improvements or any new features you would like to see on the site.

Thanks again for the helping hand. As a thumbs up I will be offering premium membership to all testers for an entire year once the official version is out.

You can find the site over at:

https://chainpeaks.herokuapp.com

Thanks again and looking forward to your feedback.
Cheers,
David
Last edited by aerozy on Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by Weenie


aerozy
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Mountains, Portugal

by aerozy

IrrelevantD wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 7:22 pm
Just out of curiosity... have you considered just doing API calls to Strava, similar to what VeloViewer is doing? I'm not familair enough with what all he's doing on his site, but it appears he's pulling all of the ride data without users having to upload data separately.
Hi! I had considered using strava's API but quickly decided to do my own thing. Main reason being I would be forever limited to what Strava allows and more importantly doesnt allow. Before being able to use their API you need to sign an agreement with endless clauses.
Anyhow the site is for people wanting something a little different and custom. Custom in the sense that I am here to develop whatever the crowd wants to have on the site.

PS: The quickest way to uploadload your rides from strava to us is to download all of them in bulk gpx format and from there upload to chain peaks.
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