If you follow Tom Pidcock on Instagram, you might have seen him promoting a new cycling app. Link my ride (opens in a new tab) is a platform through which users can manage bike rides, basically.
For my part, I like the idea.
Visiting his website, he describes the platform as “a pre-race organizational platform that allows riders to explore, plan and create group rides – for free!”
While I don’t think the world is particularly lacking in social media, I haven’t used one specifically designed for organizing bike rides…and I appreciate a bit of fairly niche tech.
What is the difference with a Facebook group?
I guess the main difference between Link My Ride and a Facebook group is specificity. Of course on Facebook you can post a link to a route on Strava (opens in a new tab), Garmin or another platform, but it requires everyone who wants to use these routes to be registered. In addition to this, you can use informal means (such as the tried and true Facebook “like”) to report attendance or a Google sheet, for top cycling club jobs. However, this application includes specially designed presence options.
So it’s just group rides on Strava then?
This is the best Strava feature in my opinion, but one that few seem to use. It’s actually quite handy but again all members must have a Strava account and with no place to ask questions privately plus other limited communication issues it’s less used by clubs and more as a way for bike shops and brands to hold events. Since Link My Ride also has direct messaging functionality, this seems like a slightly better-executed Strava group ride.
Link My Ride was founded by Tom Pidcock and Jacques Sauvagnargues; the two were teammates at Team Wiggins. Jacques is no longer an active commercial pilot and Tom Pidcock is, well, Tom Pidcock. The pair have been backed by the Dutch Sport Tech Fund (opens in a new tab), a sports technology investment company based in the Netherlands. Its CEO Alexander Jannsen said:
“As a fund, we were eager to enter the cycling market and community. Link my Ride stood out by ticking all the boxes; a great business model, founders, advisors and influencers; a charitable goal, a young and ambitious team and a cool app.
As mentioned, the main function of Link My Ride is the organization of rides. If you’ve ever been involved in organizing a group ride, you’ll know it can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you’re all coming from different directions and picking up people on the way. All the features of the application are aimed at facilitating the organization of a journey.
Apart from individual users, Link My Ride also has a club organization feature. This includes managing memberships, organizing club races and inter-club communication. Club membership for Link My Ride costs £240/year, which for many cycling clubs is actually a small fee. There are around 1,000 clubs in the UK, so potential revenue from club memberships is limited, meaning a premium version for individual users is likely to be in the works.
What else is to come in the next year or so?
Link My Ride is a relatively new app, so it’s important to consider what the app might look like in 12 months. Features it has in the works are the ability to advertise new club members, plot your own route, and allow individual captains to make their own routes.
It will be interesting to watch the growth rate of the app and one way to do that is to keep an eye out for adding features. Typically, the speed of such growth is roughly proportional to the number of new developers hired.
So, will it work or will it die?
Link My Ride is now launched and has been around for about two months. So far, it sits at #153 in social networking apps in the App Store chart, just below “Gohan” (no, me neither). It also appears as having ‘1K+ downloads’ on the Google Play Store.
The app will be a slow burner as it basically tries to pull users out of their current habits and building new habits takes time. I agree with Jannsen though, Link My Ride is a good idea, and its success or failure probably depends on the cycling clubs – at least initially. They only need around 200 clubs (one in five, in the UK) to fund a junior developer to just focus on feature development, that plus support from the Dutch Sport Tech Fund and some solid names behind the product means, at least for me, that Link My Ride has many ingredients for success.
For more information, visit linkmyride.com (opens in a new tab)