Col-bagging is the preserve of individuals who are able to travel with their bikes, but other than Strava (opens in new tab)segments there’s never really been a good digital means of keeping track of the climbs you’ve completed.
Enter, myCols (opens in new tab) which was actually founded in 2017. Since then the company, which is based in Holland, has built a huge library of climbs. I spoke to Xavier Van Aubel from myCols to find out a little more…
What makes myCols special?
“We have a detailed list of 8,000 cols (and more added regularly). You can search through a list of 8,000 famous and less famous climbs in our app. All climbs are provided with a detailed profile, length, height difference, average gradient, region, country, starting point and end point on a map.”
If you have a local climb that you want to be added to their list, you can suggest a new climb to myCols through their website. There’s also some interesting historical facts such as race history and interesting geographical information around each climb featured on myCols.
Can I connect it to Strava and other platforms?
“We connect our app with Strava, Garmin (opens in new tab)or Wahoo (opens in new tab)," says Van Aubel. "When connected to Strava, Garmin or Wahoo we analyse all your rides and we make a list of all your climbs based on those rides in the past. We even update your profile automatically based on your new rides and climbs.”
You can also manually ‘claim’ your climb in the myCols app, though this is only available on Apple as things stand. myCols pulls climb data from Strava for the most part, where possible using the ‘official’ segments.
Can I see my times on climbs?
“Based on our own analysis we calculate your climbing times. You even get a message when you conquer some new climbs or make a new personal best time," he continues. "You can compare your own climbing times with your own past climbing times, climbing times from your friend or even climbing times of some pro riders.
"We don’t have a KOM or QOM because we truly believe that the joy of climbing new mountains gives you more satisfaction, and that is what our app is about.”
Where myCols differs from simple Strava segments is that the climbs are seen as collectables on the ride rather than as a means of competition. Completing the climb is the achievement, not the time.
Can I make a bucket list?
“You can make a list of climbs you still want to conquer. Make a list of climbs you want to conquer while you are on your cycling holiday, or put a climb you just saw on television directly on your bucket list.”
In my opinion, this is one of the coolest features of myCols. As someone who spends quite a bit of time in France, I often watch the Tour, see climbs, think “I’d like to ride up there” and then forget about it. With this feature I can mark it down and look at my bucket list next time I’m on the Eurotunnel.
Can I see the climbs my friends are doing?
Yes you can. “Follow your friends while you both are conquering the greatest cols! Find your friends in the app (or invite them), follow them, and enjoy their activities in your timeline. So you are the first to know if your friend conquered that mighty Ventoux or the epic Stelvio.”
How many people are on myCols?
“We have over 20,000 registered users,” says Van Aubel.
This is not a huge number, but the user base is slowly growing. With connectivity to Wahoo, Garmin and Strava the chances are that you will be able to set your profile up relatively quickly. All features on myCols are currently free.
So... is it any good?
With an app like myCols, it’s always interesting to watch it develop. The fact that the app is completely free means there’s no risk in downloading it and having a go yourself.
The obvious criticism of this app is that it’s essentially nothing more than a centralisation of data from Strava and Wikipedia which is valid, but I would also argue having information all in one place is a product in itself. If riding out to and up specific climbs are your thing, you’ll probably enjoy myCols. I think it’s quite a nice way to mark your achievements if climbs are your thing!
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