Sunday, 28 September 2014

Playing with Velo Viewer

Many of you will have heard of Velo Viewer, a useful little program/utility/"app" that provides additional features that supplement a Strava account.
I started trialling Strava in the Summer, and I find Velo Viewer to be supportive of my efforts, and therefore I am more likely to ride more as a consequence.

The main feature that Velo Viewer offers that improves Strava is the idea of relative performance.
Strava tells me how I have done in absolute terms (10th place, or whatever), while Velo Viewer also gives me a relative score based on how many other folks have ridden that section.
Is second place amongst five riders better than 20th of 50?
Velo Viewer answers that question.

Veloviewer also does a nice little "summary" score, just taking the best quarter of your non-downhill rides (the cut-off is actually - 0.25%), and averaging them out to produce an overall score.
My segments, ranked in order of their Velo Viewer score.

You can compare this score with your friends, even those in other cities and countries.
So I can see how well I am doing against, for example, a rider 200 miles away.
If a little friendly competition results in more riding, then that sounds like a good thing!

The reason only the best quarter of the qualifying scores are used is that if a rider goes for a long ride (say 100 km or miles), then the rider will be going through a lot of distant segments at a "steady" pace, while a local rider can just go out and treat each Strava segement as a short sprint in its own right.
The analogy would be like comparing 100 meters running track performances with marathon running - many of us could run a particular 100m section of a 26 mile course rather well compared to a marathon runner doing the whole course, but what does it prove? It would also encourage folks NOT to run longer events, as their "summary" scores would be worse as a result!
THAT'S why Velo Viewer uses just the best 25% of scores.

And on that subject, my recent 100 mile ride really took a chunk out of MY Velo Viewer summary score, but at least I can "work my way back up" by selectively sprinting enough local sections, without worrying about the sections more than 20 miles away (where, of course, all the top spots are held by local (to them!) riders doing selective sprints)!

There are lots of other features I don't use quite so much, like an Activity Wheel, a "Heat Map", slope analysis, a 3-D segment visualisation, a segment list sortable by a number of factors (such as distance, location, leaderboard placing, slope, maximum speed, % behind the KOM etc. etc.) AND with various filters that can be applied (e.g. hide all the downhill segments). There are, of course, a lot of other little features and analyses that can be displayed as either a table or as a chart, and the feature list just keeps improving as the program is updated and expanded.

So there you have it - Velo Viewer is a useful little tool to allow you to get more out of a Strava account.

But as it is a small, private, "enthusiast" project, don't be afraid to make a donation to help with the running costs. How about donating, say, ten bucks if you really like it, and use it a lot?
Too much? How about five bucks then. Don't get much for five bucks these days!

What about me?
Did I put my "money where my mouth is"?
Yep. I made an online donation via PayPal.
For the amount of hours of pleasure I have had (and intend to have in the future), it is a small price to pay!

Now I just need a decent weight/diet tracker that integrates with Strava ...

Update: 13th December 2014
Now that VeloViewer is going "Pro" with MUCH reduced functionality, I an not expecting to be using it much longer.
I can no longer whole-heartedly recommend it to you.
If it does something you like and need, then good.
But for me, it is just not worth it, unless some major extra functionality is added, such as a decent weight tracker.

No comments:

Post a Comment