Hard to believe it’s February 1st already. Time flies when you’re… busy?
Yes, definitely busy. And in the case of this site, at least, I am having fun. Maybe not so much elsewhere. But that’s a different issue.
OK, so I thought I would do a Site Update as I haven’t done one in ages, and that’s not because there’s nothing happening. Far from it.
In January I published 12 new posts on the site, all of which are as a result of me investigating different parts of the wider world of cycling. If you’re curious, these posts are:
- Cycle to Work Scheme: Is it worth it?
- Safe and Effective HIIT Cycling for Over 60s
- Luz Ardiden Cycling
- Bike road safety – UK trends 2004-2022
- The UCI Women’s WorldTour 2024 Calendar
- The NEC Bicycle Show 2024
- How I Fixed: MyWhoosh Download Restarting Again and Again
- Sunday bike rides
- Cycling Coach Prices
- Cycling Uphill Tips
- Tour de France 2024 Route Map PDF
- Road Bike Fit Cost
- [Guide] Bike Fitting for Adult Beginner Road Cyclists
And every week I publish what is one of my favourite posts on the site – the Weekly Cycling News Roundup:
- [01/24] This Week In Cycling
- [02/24] This Week In Cycling
- [03/24] This Week In Cycling
- [04/24] This Week In Cycling
But what about the rest of the site?
The biggest news is that I completed dropped the Ads. Well, all except the very top ad for Tredz, which I think is relevant. The rest of the site was using a different ad platform and, honestly, I hated it. The final straw was when I showed the site to my brother over Xmas and he said – it looks like a spam site with those ads on. So I dropped them completely.
After that, I did an overhaul of the layout:
I added a logo, re-did the header section, and then made a completely new front page.
The front page is unique in terms of the page layout compared to the rest of the site.
Post pages got a slight change, in that I made a nicer sidebar:
The sidebar is now more visually interesting. At least it is to me.
That’s the majority of what I think (erm, can remember) that I did on what is most prominent.
There are some changes happening behind the scenes also, which I will quickly detail.
There are three really big problems, and then a fourth slightly smaller, yet still pretty big issue that I want / need to address.
The first is that the climb list is absolutely full of junk.
All the climbs come from Strava, and that means any climbing segment ever created will show on the list.
Seemingly many of those segments are invalid in some way. You may remember a while back, Strava did a big data cleanse for example, removing a bunch of duplicate Zwift segments. I need to do something similar, but when investigating that I realised I could change the back end of the climbs to be much more efficient.
That leads me on to the second problem: climb search.
Right now the search is really flaky. If you search for a climb there’s a good chance you will get a
500 error, which means – on a technical level – something went badly wrong. This something is pretty wide ranging, and in reality the search functionality does five concurrent searches. It searches for the text you provide against country, state, county, and suburb, and also the individual climb name. As best I am currently aware, if any of those searches fail then everything blows up.
But I have a better idea around this – and that ties in to the work above, but also the third problem, which is …
Localised climb locations was a terrible idea.
What do I mean by this?
Well, let’s say you’re from the UK, and you’re looking for your local area to find a good climb to hit:
So far, so good. Right?
I’m going to guess so.
However, this all fell apart, rather spectacularly when I was on my holidays in Tenerife last year.
Led by the pool, staring up at Mount Teide, I was curious to know what the best route up there would be, and how difficult that climb was, not just in Tenerife (where surely it must be the most challenging), but against the rest of the world.
That seemed to me to be exactly why I made the site in the first place.
Only… I couldn’t figure it out. Not only could I not figure it out, I couldn’t even find where I was, and what climbs were nearby. Why?
OK, well first let’s go back to the climbs landing page:
So far… well, not so good.
But fortunately I know enough basic Spanish to realise that Spain is not called Spain in most places. That’s what we call it in the UK.
In Spain, the Spanish called Spain España.
And here in lies the problem.
Drill down far enough and my basic knowledge of Spanish runs out, and I have no idea what to click. Where am I? Who knows:
This is even worse if you go further afield:
I genuinely couldn’t even tell you what country that is.
The fix for this is, sadly, go back through all 2 million + climbs and re-check the address and establish both the localised and English name for each part of the address. That is a huge undertaking. However, combined with pruning the climb list, it’s ever so slightly less mammoth.
However, that lastly brings me to the fourth thing I have wanted for ages: find climbs near me.
I think a really nice feature would be to allow you to click on a button that zooms you, somehow, to your location on a map, and shows you the local climbs nearby. That would be really useful both outdoors whilst riding (er, stopped at road side), or – as above – on your holidays, curious about the local area.
I’ve wanted that feature for ages, but I’m not entirely sure how to implement it. So it’s on the drawing board.
As part of all those known issues, I have figured out some good ways to improve the technical back end of the site to be more efficient. That means upgrading – for those of you who care about the tech – from NextJS 13 to NextJS14.
That allows me to rewrite a bunch of really messy integrations with something far simpler (from a certain point of view), and – hopefully – more performant. It should dramatically improve the search, as best I can see.
But those changes are going to take a while.
In the shorter term I am focusing on adding a thing I, personally, really want.
If you are an avid Zwifter, you will know about WhatsOnZwift. It lists out all the workouts on Zwift. It’s very handy when you’re on the toilet and you want to pick a workout to do later that day. No need to open Zwift just to pick a workout, and so when you get kitted up and on the bike, it’s a two second job to find your workout and set off.
Nothing like that exists, as far as I am aware, for MyWhoosh.
Yes, it’s super basic right now – and has a lot of bugs – but I have a first draft online.
There are, obviously, some issues.
Also it is extremely ugly.
And you haven’t even seen the list view yet!
Oh Good Lord!
Well, of course this will change. I just wanted to get things up to test them out. I like to release early and often.
As I say, there’s a ton of bugs. But I will get there over the next few days.
I’m going to avoid directly linking to the page because if Google gets ahold of it, then it will probably cause me some problems. But if you’d like to have a sneak peak, update the bikeclimbs.com URL in your browser to end with
I think that’s everything right now. Honestly, super busy. I get about an hour a day to do work on this site, so hopefully that gives you an idea of why things take me ages.