Ride With GPS is a full service cycling site that allows you to map rides, upload and analyze ride data, and compare efforts with friends. Or, as a screenwriter might pitch it, it’s MayMyRide meets Training Peaks meets Strava meets Pretty Lady, with a hooker with a heart of gold and a twist at the end that you’ll never see coming. Ok, maybe just the first three parts, but there is one thing it does that no other site can do, and it’ll blow your mind.
RWGPS was started in 2007 by Zack Ham and Cullen King as a route planner and has evolved over the years to its present state. The two have persisted without accepting any outside funding, and have grown the site to the point where it's both their day jobs. The duo are very accessible – a friend and I have both suggested features and helped debug, and their response rate is excellent. Most of the site’s features are free, with advanced features available at two premium levels.
Creating a route is dead simple – just click along your route to draw. Compared to Map My Ride, the elevation plot is bigger and more detailed, and renders way faster (apparently this was a coding coup). I could’ve really used this feature on my recent trip to California where I kept plotting rides shorter than the free time I had for that day. Knowing the distance and elevation gain in advance would’ve really helped maximize my daily liberty from parenting. Once created the route can be uploaded to a Garmin or printed out as cue sheets, which are highly customizable.
Right click on screen grabs for full view.
Many tasks in RWGPS seem elegantly coded, as they occur at lightning speed. This is the case with ride uploads, which are incredibly quick and painless. Once uploaded, enter ‘detailed view’, click on the ‘metrics’ tab and you’re in ride analysis. This ride is here if you want to poke around the file yourself.
The basic view is a map with an elevation plot below. You can choose to overlay other graphs onto the elevation plot, here I've chosen to show power. All the metrics are visible at the right, and when you mouse over an interval it's highlighted on the map and the graph. You can also drag on the graph to zoom in.
Click on a lap and both the map and graph zoom in. The metrics at the upper right also change to reflect the selected lap instead of the entire ride. Those changed numbers are shown on grey. You can also expand the laps box to show all the metrics for all the laps.
If maps aren't your thing you can expand the graphs and see them in a stacked view. One of my favorite things about RWGPS is that it expands to fill your browser window. If I were a buzzword wielding douche I'd say that fhe gorgeous full screen view really lets me drill down into my data. Here it is in its full screen glory on my messy desk.
For now, analysis in RWGPS lacks long term metrics, but they're in the works.
Like Strava, you can create and save segments of your ride and compare your efforts with others. Here's the leaderboard for a lap of Central Park beginning and ending at Cat's Paw, the traditional start/finish for Central Park races. For now RWGPS doesn't have the massive community that Strava does (Ted King Strava'd Paris Roubaix, fer cryin' out loud!), but I revel in the fact that I can podium a leaderboard before everyone catches on. You can create races and events, and coaches can make groups to monitor clients' training.
...and finally, THE COOLEST THING EVER...
Go back to that Central Park leaderboard and select some rides. Click on 'compare efforts', then 'race efforts', hit the play button, and you'll see those riders race the course. I made a video of the first lap of the 4/14 Spring Series masters race, comparing my file and Schmalz's Strava file. I'm the green dot, Schmalz is blue. You might want to go full screen and 720p to see things clearly.
Dan was in a move at the Northern tip of the loop that got very little separation, but set the table for six riders to go clear coming down the west side (if one of you guys have a ride file from that race, sign up and let me know!). You can even see Dan drop back in the pack momentarily as we head south. I attacked near the 79th street Transverse and bridged to the breakaway. Now, imagine if many people uploaded their files in a point to point race (it's hard to make a segment made of mulitple laps of the same course, so you can't see a circuit race from beginning to end). You'd be able to see the race played out in breakaways and counterattacks! How cool would that be!
So go on, sign up with a free account and try it out. Get your friends to sign up and you'll be able to relive the next race you enter together. But it doesn't just have to be future races. Anyone want to recreate Battenkill?