If you follow Tom Pidcock on Instagram you might have seen him promoting a new cycling app. Link My Ride (opens in new tab) is a platform by which users are able to manage bike rides, essentially.
I, for one, like the idea.
Visiting its website it describes the platform as ‘a pre-ride organisational platform that allows cyclists to explore, plan and create group rides - for free!’
While I do not believe the world is particularly short on social networks, I have not used one specifically designed for organising bike rides... and I do enjoy a fairly niche bit of tech.
A post shared by ᵀᴼᴹ ᴾᴵᴰᶜᴼᶜᴷ (@tompidcock) (opens in new tab)
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How is it different from a Facebook group?
I suppose the main difference between Link My Ride and a Facebook group is specificity. Sure, on Facebook you’re able to post a link to a route on Strava (opens in new tab), Garmin or some other platform but that requires everyone who wishes to use these routes to be signed up. On top of this, you are able to use informal means (such as the tried and tested Facebook ‘like’) to signal attendance or a Google sheet, for the cycling club jobsworths out there. However, this app includes purpose built attendance 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 requires all members to have a Strava account and with nowhere to privately ask questions as well as other issues of limited communication they’re used less by clubs and more as a means for bike shops and brands to organise events. Given that Link My Ride also has direct messaging functionality it does seem like a slightly better executed Strava group ride.
Link My Ride was founded by Tom Pidcock and Jacques Sauvagnargues; the two were team-mates at Team Wiggins. Jacques is no longer an active pro rider and Tom Pidcock is, well, Tom Pidcock. The pair have been backed by Dutch Sport Tech Fund (opens in new tab), a sports tech investment firm based in Holland. Its CEO Alexander Jannsen said:
“As a fund, we were eager to penetrate the cycling market and community. Link my Ride stood out, ticking all the boxes; a great business model, founders, advisors, and influencers; a charitable focus, a young and ambitious team, and a cool app.”
As discussed, Link My Ride’s main function is ride organisation. If you’ve ever been involved in the organising of a group ride you’ll know that it can actually be a bit of a faff, especially if you’re all coming from different directions and picking people up en-route. All app features focus on making the organisation of a ride easy.
Outside of individual users, Link My Ride also has club organisation functionality. This includes membership management, club ride organisation and inter-club communication. Club membership for Link My Ride costs £240/year which, for many cycling clubs, is actually quite a small fee. There’s roughly 1,000 clubs in the UK, so the potential turnover from club memberships only is limited meaning that a premium version for individual users is likely to be in the pipeline.
What else is coming in the next year or so?
Link My Ride is a relatively new app so figuring out how the app might look in 12 months is important. The features that it has in the works are the ability to advertise for new club members, plot your own route and to allow individual ride captains to make their own routes.
It’ll be interesting to watch the rate of growth of the app and one way of doing this is keeping an eye on feature addition. Typically, the speed of such growth is pretty much proportional to the number of new developers being hired.
So, will it work or will it die?
Link My Ride has launched now and has been around for about two months. So far, it sits at 153rd place in Social Networking apps in the app store chart, sitting just underneath ‘Gohan’ (nope, me neither). It also shows as having ‘1K+ downloads’ on Google’s Play Store.
The app will be a slow burner as it's essentially trying to pull users from their current habits and building new habits takes time. I'd agree with Jannsen though, Link My Ride is a cool idea, and its success or failure likely hinges on cycling clubs - at least at first. They only need around 200 clubs (one in five, in the UK) to fund a junior developer to focus solely on feature development, that plus the support from the Dutch Sport Tech Fund and some solid names behind the product means, at least to me, that Link My Ride has many of the ingredients for success.
For more information visit linkmyride.com (opens in new tab)
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