Cycling, no matter which form, is a huge sport in this country. Many people participate in various categories every weekend.
N number of cyclists’ suit up every weekend for fun rides, recreational rides, club rides, events, tours, excursions and more. In the same token, thousands of golfers play golf every weekend. Golfers have an online identity which they access via myhandicap.co.za. This identity allows the golfer to track their progress throughout the year as they play round after round.
Why can’t cyclists do the same?
The simple answer to this question is that cyclists CAN do the same. It’s just going to take key relationship management, a solid solution implementation and a bit of marketing to spread the word.
Introducing, BikeID, the online identity for all cyclists. The website, www.bikeid.co.za, will act as an aggregator of information in the cycling industry with one key differentiator, your BikeID. BikeID will work on the principle that each cyclist, once they’ve completed their race, will be able to come to one web destination to view their results and compare them to their friends’ results, plus a whole lot more.
BikeID will not try to replace any of the existing websites or portals that exist today, but rather fulfil a need that is simply not catered for: a one stop shop to track your race results. BikeID was conceptualised because of the following high level reasons:
- Cumbersome and time-consuming to find race results / photos: When participating in a race, participants need to return to the particular site for race results. A number of action photo providers also exist, and participants aren’t always sure where to find their photos;
- Difficulty in finding events: A number of websites host event calendars including cyclelab, ndorfin, entrytime, mtncycling, Nissan Series to name a few;
- Tracking history of events: There are a number of key timing players in the cycling industry, for example Racetec, Championchip and SSTiming. These organisations keep a history of all races completed by an individual, but the rider has no way to track their history across all events, as these organisations do not merge their results together.
BikeID will overcome the challenges noted above, by creating a neat, clean and easy to use web interface whereby visitors can complete the following key functions:
- View ALL race results: BikeID will aggregate race results from all the major time keeping providers and surface it in a way that is easy to use, while giving cycling enthusiasts a tool whereby they can track their progress online in a very similar way that myhandicap.co.za allows golfers to track their handicaps;
- Race Statistics: Having one datawarehouse filled with race results and rider demographic information will give BikeID the ability to offer reports that were never before possible. For example, “show me all the riders aged 30 years and older that have completed the Magalies Monster in under 3 hours”;
- Find ANY event: BikeID will set up partnerships with all event providers to build up the most comprehensive event listing in South Africa;
- Find ALL photos: BikeID will have access to the photo providers in the same way that it will have access to the race results.
Benefits of having a central datawarehouse of results don’t only extend to the cyclists. CyclingSA & Central Gauteng Cycling, for example, can also benefit by having an much easier way to seed riders.
The following diagram illustrates how BikeID will make cyclists’ lives easier:
As illustrated above, cyclists will no longer need to sift through tons of websites without direction trying to find that elusive event, photograph or race result. Instead, they will now be able to go to one website, www.bikeid.co.za, login to their profile, and view all this information in one place.
Initially, the website will cater for the three key areas that is frustrating cyclists today, which are events, results and photos. A couple of key opportunities exist in doing so. Advertising space is the first key area and moving forward, the information gathered from cyclists can be used for further profiling and target marketing.
A bit about the technology
BikeID will be built using Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and will take advantage of the rich reporting capabilities available in PerformancePoint Services. The decomposition tree report (made possible by Silverlight 4) and PowerPivot will feature prominently to allow cyclists to dynamically report on data. Static reports using dashboards will also be available, but with PerformancePoint Services these static reports are simply the beginning. Cyclists will be able to drill into data dynamically by simply interacting with the report via the browser.
What about the existing websites?
As noted above, BikeID is not here to replace functionality of existing websites. Race providers such as racetec, sstiming, championchip build their business models around the timing of events and not in providing their users a web front-end to analyse data. It is important to note that where data is used from a particular provider, the provider will be prominently advertised with links back to their website etc.
Cyclenation is in my opinion one of the better community type websites out there. BikeID will therefore not try to compete with social initiatives already running, but will rather add something to the cycling community which can be cool to use and get people excited about cycling.
A good friend of mine, John Nelson, once said “If something is measured, it will be improved.” I’m not 100% sure if he was quoting someone, or simply dropping knowledge, but since hearing that I’ve become determined to give the cycling community a tool to effectively measure themselves in a cool, funky, and easy to use way.
This is BikeID, your online bike identity.