Introducing VeloViewer PRO

Since VeloViewer began a couple of years ago the hosting costs have just about been funded by your very kind donations.  As time has passed however, the costs have risen and for the security of my family’s budgeting the time has come to introduce some more structured charging for using the site.  From next weekend (8th/9th Nov) a single £9.99 (approx €12.77, US$15.96, AUS$18.34, I’ll soak up any fees) payment will provide you full and continued use of all the VeloViewer goodness for 12 months.  A free version will also be available to let people try out the site which will be almost fully functional but only allow you to perform a one-off upload of a limited set of your activities and segments. Hopefully enough to whet the appetite. Anyone who’s donated any amount in the last 12 months will be able to get 12 months PRO access from their donation date.

Important Notes

In the short term no data will be automatically removed behind the scenes. Chances are by Christmas I’ll start a process that will remove data for people who haven’t visited the site in over a year and then work my way down to around 3 months of inactivity.  Clearing out this historical data that nobody ever views will speed up the main database queries for everyone else.

For people with data in VeloViewer who haven’t donated in the past (or haven’t notified me if they have) you will be asked to go PRO and given a couple of chances to do so before any data gets truncated so it is very unlikely that any data will need to be reloaded unless you’ve very definitely made the choice not to move to PRO at this time.

I’ve spoken to the guys at Strava and they are 100% behind VeloViewer and what I’m doing with the Freemium model.

Please see the Free vs PRO page to see what is included in the free version..

Benefits to VeloViewer and to you!

I’m sure many of you have experienced the “Strava API rate limit hit!” message when updating at busy times (mostly Sunday evenings and Mondays when you probably should be working) and although the new charging system won’t rule out the odd peak in usage it will certainly go some way to reduce the strain on the Strava API usage for the site. Once PRO is up and running I’ll take a look at the API usage and most likely will be able to speed up the update process for all the users who have paid.

The most costly users in this regard are those that visit once, sync 100’s of activities and 1000’s of segments and then never return to the site.  The API rate limits will have taken a beating and for very little site usage.  Having this charge in place will hopefully limit the API usage for these one-visit users to just their last 10 activities so their visit won’t impact the VeloViewer experience for everyone else.

Next steps


The costs of VeloViewer have been entirely funded by donations and out of my own pocket for the past couple of years, I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped out. If you have donated any amount in the last month (since 8th October 2014) then you should automatically be given a 12 month PRO membership from the date of your donation. If you have donated any amount in the last 12 months (from the 1st Nov 2013), but before that date, then I won’t have captured the required data to set you up automatically so if you email me your PayPal transaction id for your donation and Strava number then I’ll give you your 12 months PRO membership from your donation date. Thanks again to all of you who have donated, without you guys I would have been in a lot of trouble with the wife!

To get your PayPal transaction id then search your emails (if you’ve kept the receipt) or log into PayPal and filter your transactions.  Your Strava number is the number you see in all of your VeloViewer URLs.

PRO membership begins

From some point next weekend (8th/9th November) I’ll switch on the free/PRO code. When you visit your update page after that date you will be prompted to sign up. If you choose not to in the week following that first sighting of the payment option then your data will be truncated to what is available in the free version and you will no longer be able to sync any further activities.  In order to continue using VeloViewer seamlessly then make sure you make the payment at some point during that week. Your VeloViewer Score will obviously be affected if you don’t move to PRO as it will then only be based on the what segments are remaining.

If you do nothing

After next weekend I will start clearing out the data of none PRO users who haven’t accessed the site for a number of months to free up space and improve the performance of the database.

As explained above, any existing data will be truncated down to the levels of the free version and you will no longer be able to sync any new activities.

New users to the site will be able to perform a one-off sync of the limited set of data and then use the site indefinitely using that data.

Deleting data and attempting to re-upload will remember the previously synced activities and only allow those to be uploaded again.

What’s in the pipeline?

I’ve a number of things on my to-do list but a few important ones that are currently in progress or soon will be are:

  • Collaboration with Hells 500 Everesting.
  • Allow the creation of your own column and filter combinations on all of the list pages.
  • 100 Climb leaderboards to have gender filtering.
  • One of the most requested, larger pieces of work is some kind of club summary page.
  • VeloViewer club kit.  This has been on the cards for some time and I have the design all ready to go.  I’m currently in middle of some very exiting conversations with a potential manufacturer so watch this space for more info.

Of course there will lots of other tweaks, great and small, as I find the time.

What happened to “Premium”?

I’ve changed the name to PRO in order to remove any confusion with STRAVA’s own Premium. I should have thought of that earlier but having had a few email conversations with people missing the two up the name change was necessary.

0 thoughts on “Introducing VeloViewer PRO

  • Hi Ben,
    I donated back in January of this year, but I’ve no record of the transaction number. Dated 13 January or thereabouts (twitter handle = @onthenickel.


  • glad to see you make this move. I’m a huge fan, and happily willing to pitch in. Imagine additional details soon, or just use the existing donate button?

  • So basically what you’re saying is: pay or get out. Right? It’s like taking my VeloViewer experience hostage. If I don’t pay, my score will drop and remain on that level until ransom is paid. Not that I don’t think you’re doing a great job (because you are), but what about your goal of encouraging people to get out there and ride?

    • Not only will your data be removed but the air will be let out of your tires and lead weights put in your repair kit. And if you do still manage to get out on your bike bees will follow you everywhere and your mates will ride faster than you. So yeah cough up the £10 or you will never want to ride your bike again, ever

    • Hey, the guy is providing hosting and an expanded interpretation of your Strava data for free. If it is valuable to you, it will cost you around a dollar a month. If you cant handle that, you should probably just stop using Veloviewer, and go back to a dumbphone, because apps are obviously a waste of money too.

    • It’s only the price of a handful of gels. I suppose its up to the individual to decide if it is worth the spend or not. I either charge or look at switching it off as the current situation isn’t maintainable.

  • I came over from the Reddit site where there’s a lot of angry noises, but for £10 a year? About $12 or so? Okay, that works, I do like your site.

    • More voices of reason on there than angry ones from what I can tell but only seen a couple of threads. I’d rather try and make the site as good as it can be and having a few less users will allow me far more slack in my API rate limits which should improve things a fair bit.

  • Disappointing that you will wipe all current data for those that have been using it for a while. I understand about not allowing users to upload new data, but why not allow to keep data that is already on here? Kind of a kick in the teeth that is.

    • Because it all costs me money. The more data that’s there the more storage costs I have and the higher spec’ed DB server is needed to keep the performance acceptable.

  • It’ll be interesting to see whether VV continues to attract new users in the same way once this is introduced. However for someone like me who is a regular user of the site already, for the cost of a couple of inner tubes, I think this represents great value for money.

  • How about you use ads to make up the costs? People could pay for ad-free if they want, but it allows everyone to still use the site.

  • The way I look at it you’ve either got a lot of free utility and enjoyment from someone’s hard work for an extended period of time that is now coming to an end or you pay £10 and continue to enjoy everything and probably more. Not to mention the nice touch of giving all those that have donated a subscription.

    I for one am sure Veloviewer will provide me with a tenners entertainment over the next year. So many thanks for the last year and here’s to the next.

  • I wonder if this is a bit sudden for the change to be made and data deleted. Perhaps have some sort of sliding scale – if you haven’t used the site for, say, 3 months then your data gets deleted – otherwise you get until the end of the year before data is deleted.
    I just happened to notice that this was happening because of link on the facebook feed – but i don’t normally look at that, and could quite easily have missed that my data is going to disappear.. or could have been on holiday or away for a week and missed this and come back to find my data deleted.

  • Ben,
    Always wondered how you managed this, in 18 months of my online game, we had 1 donation. I’ll pay up as soon as the option appears. Hope this all works as you expect and you cover the costs not lose your userbase.

    Thanks for the great site, Rob

    • Thanks Rob. some months have been better than others regarding donations but this way I won’t have to hide the hosting costs from my wife any more!

  • Thank you for the site and appreciate that you need to derive income from it to continue with it. £10 is however a bit steep especially for us guys in Africa. have you considered selling advertising space on your site? You will make a ton of money from that.

    • Very hard to make any money from advertising these days and don’t want to be wasting all my potential coding time trying to chase up the next sponsor. this is why Strava don’t advertise too. It’s hard to find a price to suit everyone as I’ve had more people saying that I’m not charging enough rather than too much.

  • Cheers Ben. I will be letting my membership slide – I don’t believe the data is worth 10 quid to me, although I have enjoyed the site enormously over the last 18 months. Sadly, I don’t know how else VV is supposed to stop the enormous burden of come once, smash the server and never return except demand payment. These things aren’t free to provide and I believe ads is a better way to recoup costs but that once off download will be enormous – if you could stop the big dump and run, while running ads, that would keep me around. Strava is really just about social networking for me right now. Fun to see good times and improvements, but chatting with ride pals is always great.

  • No problem with paying £10 for VV at all. As a web dev myself I can totally understand where Ben is coming from and it’s a big positive that he’s not looking to spoil the site with ads! For the people who are moaning about “losing” their data, please see here:

    • Love that cartoon. Can you post it everywhere for me? 🙂 Also everyone’s data is still in Strava and they can export all of it at any time from there. And the Strava API is free for anyone to use if they want to get all of their segments. I don’t think I add any of my own data at all on top of that, just value I hope.

    • Site has great utility. I will just lube my chain better to prolong replacement, and stop braking to preserve my tyres. An easy trade-off.

  • yes fair price for one of the best data visualization example on the web!

    I will definitely contribute given that I used the veloviewer dashboard in a few presentations at work to demonstrate the power of online interactive data charts!

  • Your are doing a great job, Ben. I fully agree with the idea, that we have to support those that makes SW that we like and use. Thats why I am a premium member at Strava and also will be here, donates at wikipedia etc.

    And I certainly like the idea, that you use your time on making new functionality instead of increasing the already overwhelming amount of Ads on the internet.

    Fair use, fair payment

    best wishes

  • Great idea. Will sort all the slackers like me who keep meaning to press the donate button but never got round to it. Brilliant service and worth every penny.

  • Hi Ben,

    This is an excellent service that I get immense use out of and plan to subscribe – I have wondered how you manage to pay for hosting!

    In a subscription only model will it be possible to make the update buttons update all segments again instead of just a handful?

    I fully understand why you implemented restrictions in the free-to-use model – bandwidth isn’t free and neither is CPU time – but it’s a bit dismaying to attack a climb, take 5 minutes out of a PR and find that I’ve dropped 100 places because VV hasn’t updated the segment since I last climbed it!


    • I’m facing the same problem, but have I been leading a charmed life so far? Until yesterday, when I upgraded to Pro, I updated everything every time I uploaded a ride, which was twice a day. So since paying (sorry I didn’t before!) things have just got a lot worse. Strava shows my new placings, but Veloviewer won’t for a week – is that correct (for the time being)? Last week I was enjoying watching my VV score increase daily, and as far as I can see, your plans don’t include restoring this functionality (since non-favourite segments count towards my VV score). Is this true? Don’t want to sound churlish if I was accidentally receiving a privileged service before, but I understandably want (need) it back!

  • I donated £8 on 8th May (less than 6 months ago) so do I get any free time for that? I’d like to give my opinion that it would be better and more likely to succeed if it was a “no brainer” type of amount, like £6 or so. £10 is just a little on the high side for something that is (although very good) just an addon to Strava. And personally I’d prefer it if it didn’t have the 99p in the price, which sounds like marketing nonsense.

    • Sorry, I see it’s now any donations in the last 12 months will get a year from the donation date. I think it said 3 earlier. Thanks, it’s better this way. Anyway I still think it would be better with a lower price and a round number of pounds.

  • Got no problem paying at all, I donated just last week to show my appreciation. But setting up advertising is a doddle. I have AdSense and Criteo on my site and make enough to pay for my dedicated server and more on top, I’m guessing you get a good number of visitors here so may well be able to do the same. Maybe something to think about if the premium service turns off too many people?

  • At less than a quid a month I’ll definitely be subscribing as I use VV a lot. Server space and bandwidth costs money and I’d rather go to an ad free site.

  • My last donation was in decemver 2013, so it was about time to donate anyway. I understand your need to take this step. Strava and VV really add an extra dimension to cycling for me, so the price of 3 tubes per year seams fair.

  • So now its premium or nothing, how about a simplified version for free users instead of basically making it useless. I may go premium i have yet to decide. I already subscribe to strava.

  • Good call on making it subs based. I kept meaning to donate, couldn’t quite decide how much, then randomly donated last week after seeing you partnered with HLLS500 fellas. I don’t work foe n’owt, i wouldn’t expect you to do this for nothing either.Keeping things from the other half is not a smart move. I have bikes secreted in 3 counties and 2 countries, when the boss found out, she was ot impressed!

  • ive enjoyed using veloviewer as an add on to strava and find it useful however a free basic version would have been preferred to the model you are moving forward with i.e. forced subscription. if you are only interested in covering your growing server costs then why not implement a visible donation target so users are able to see how much is required to keep the site up and running? i’d be happy to voluntarily donate to keep the site up & running but will not opt into an a £9.99 per 12 month subscription (with the option of purchasing veloviewer merchandise)
    …as it stands I can see a lot of users just turning away and not bothering with this anymore…strava offer a free mode, i believe it would be a smart move for veloviewer to do the same

    • Covering the server costs is one thing and cutting the API usage is the other main thing. I could potentially allow people to get all their activities but no segments for free (the segments is the main hit on the API) but then they would get a confusing view of things. I’m not ruling out changing what people will get for free though.
      In an ideal world I’d also like to get something back for the many 100s of hours I’ve put into building VeloViewer and ideally free up some time to put more into it. I’ve got a mortgage, wife and two small kids so I can’t go on running it unless it gives me some kind of return.
      Most mobile apps have a cost involved involved either up front or in-app purchasing so it is interesting how people see websites as being different.

  • Once the paywall is in place, what payment options will be available? Just PayPal? Most Credit Cards? Etc.

    Thanks again for the service! I plan to pay but want to make sure my data is wiped.


      • The only automated way will be with PayPal. Of course you don’t have to have an account or credit with PayPal to use it. Just select the option to pay with card without creating an account and you’re all good.
        If you realy, really don’t want PayPal to get their hands on your/VeloViewer’s 50p of fees then you can email me and we can set up a BACS transfer.
        And the new payment button will appear over the weekend. Not got everything set up quite yet.

  • I love the site. And I may yet talk myself into paying £10 for access, not sure, but I’m pretty sure if I could only upload my last 10 rides I would never have got hooked in the first place and it wouldn’t have been addictive enough to make me shell out. Completely fair that you seek to recoup hosting costs though – don’t consider this a moan, it’s a quality site and quite rightly plenty of people seem willing to pay. Just thought I’d give you an opinion before i trundle off into the sunset.

    • Thanks Hanz. I might extend the free version to more than 10 activities but I’d rather have VeloViewer being as awesome a tool as possible for the core users even if it does put off some other users. We’ll see how the API usage rates go over the next few weeks and take it from there.

  • You know, my first thought was “jeez, pay or leave, that aint awesome” but then I realized that people tend to think that because a webpage is “free” it means that for the developer is also free to maintain, you are creating a great community here and I see nothing wrong with spreading the cost of the hosting to make it happen and if you get something on top of breaking even, well deserved. Heck, hopefully you can quit your daytime job and pursue this.

    I don’t use the site as much as between Garmin and Strava I have way more info than I can possibly handle but I’ll sure donate to keep the site from sinking in the future, and then, to offset the cost, I’ll patch three tubes instead of buying them new..hahaha

  • I have only found VV in the last couple of months and can’t get enough of it. It is great for getting those extra stats for all my runs. & will be more than happy to pay the annual fee. I’m sure if we all thought how much money we waste each month – this is less than £1 a month – a no brainer in my eyes!. Keep up the good work and look forward to more enhancements.

  • 98.7% agree with Mark’s comments. 😉
    With your community loving data and charts, a visualisation of the ongoing running cost target would keep a nice community feel about the site.
    A subscription based service running off another’s API somehow doesn’t feel right to me.

    • Plenty of mobile apps out there that run off free API’s and charge you for use. Hopefully I’m adding value to that data that is worth something to people.

  • I work in R&D and geek out on the data provided! With Strava I had no way to easily compare yearly totals. The main graph on the summary page was exactly what I needed. (Realizing I was 500 miles behind last year has kept the fire burning and I’m almost caught up) The Rivals section has also resulted into me reaching out to local cyclists and making frenemies I would have normally been oblivious to. Your site is intuitive and well-functioning and well worth the yearly fee. Cough it up Freds! The added VV inspiration has surely improved your TT times more than aero shoe covers!

  • Hello Ben,

    This is terrific news in my book. Your site is absolutely fantastic! I have donated before and will be happy to pay the yearly subsription fee. Best of luck with the site and keep up the great work!

    Best regards

  • I’m not clear on the upcoming wipe. Is there going to be a grace period in which to register? It sounds like only those who donated will be spared; even if you do intend to become a paying user, you’ll have to resync everything from Strava. For me, that goes back to 2009.

    Am I misunderstanding? If not, is there a justification by way of development or schema changes?

  • Hi

    First, congrats for your great work, I just found VV a couples of months ago and do really like it.

    Did you consider to provide also an VV app for Android/iOS? I think it would be a great add on and would encourage many users to sign for premium service in future.

    • I’d love for the PRO membership subs to be enough for me to drop some of my full-time day job to allow me to build apps to compliment the site so we’ll have to see how it goes. But currently I barely have enough time for just the website.

  • what if i want to pay BEFORE next weekend?? I’ll not be available on weekend and i do not want you to delete my activities. Please let me know.

  • Love your site but …I’m out. I’d pay a one time app fee but no subscription. Cut price in half and I’d pay it.I guess y hats what it’s worth to me.

  • Lovely – I look forward to paying. Love what you’ve done on your spare time. I was totally blown away by what could be done with my Strava data.

    And to those who complain about this and suggest to cut the fee in half, call it a “ransom” etc: Jesus, this is a one man project! I’m very cautious how I spend my money and don’t wanna pay a cent too much to the big ones such as Telekom etc. But this is the opposite to that! It’s supporting one of us! And of course, getting a great product, that’s why we’re here to begin with.

  • Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this site Ben. You deserve something back.

    I’ve been meaning to donate for ages, so will have no issue with a subscription fee.

    Just to echo the thoughts of others though, I’m not sure a one-off 10 activity upload would’ve gotten me hooked. I think that’ll need tweaking.

    • I’ll look into some other options later on. Getting more activities wouldn’t be much of a problem (although I’d still want a maximum), restricting the number of segments to check is more important as people can have 1000’s of them.

  • Ben – no problem with your move. Its a great site and super motivating to use. One idea for the pro version…
    Based on the power curve from Strava would it be possible to show your potential KOM-segment – say in a radius of 20km from where you live (based on avg power for the top 3 riders compared to your best effort plus 10% (maybe you will have a strong tailwind)..

    • I think that would require far more data than I have access too (e.g. weight of other athletes) and would only work for people with power meters for hill segments. Also the power curve isn’t available via the API and seeing as it is a Premium feature on Strava it isn’t something that I will replicate.
      What is possible though is to search for segments that have a VAM or RP within your reach, or potentially an average speed (although the KOM speed isn’t currently shown but easily added). That would probably have the same result and could be done by applying some filters to your segments list.

  • Hi Ben, I love the site and definitely will pay to keep using it, but I think you might want to reconsider this:

    “When you visit your update page after that date you will be prompted to sign up. If you choose not too then all but your last 10 activities will be removed…”

    That seems very abrupt to me. If I happen to connect to veloviewer when I need to sign up/pay, but don’t happen to have my wallet handy, then it sounds like all of my data will be immediately wiped out. Instead, I might suggest setting a deadline to pay after which your data wipes (e.g. “If you do not sign up by such and such date, your data beyond the last 10 activities will be removed”)

    • The code I’ve written (but not rolled out yet) gives you a few visits to sort it out but maybe I should extend it to a week from the first time you see the message. Actually, that sounds like a good plan. Thanks for the advice!

  • I have no problem paying for it. However, I would expect you give us more time to decide before restricting the functionality. The timing is also not that great.

  • Now you can only select 10 GBP, it could be useful to have a radio button listing 12 GBP and 15 GBP as well, so that users can make a choice. This is still several times cheaper than Strava and hopefully gives you more room to even further improve (love your site already).

  • I’m in! Have got so used to uploading to see Veloviewer score and track progress. Ben must spend ages on this so deserves a bit of cash after all this time!

  • Hi,

    If I understand correctly, anyone who has donated whatever amount in the last 12 months gets another 12 months.

    Anyone who has donated earlier than that gets nothing at all, even if the amount they donated would have been the equivalent of subscription fees well past today?

    E.g. someone who donated £1 11.9 months ago – free VV for a year. While someone who donated £20+ 18 months ago gets nothing at all?

    • Ah, it’s only donations in last month that automatically get 12 months. Still though, it means someone who donated £1 in the last month gets more months than someone who donated £20+ 18 months ago.

      I would suggest getting rid of the arbitrary 12 month limit on converting donations into subscriptions. You’re just going to irritate those who were your larger donors in earlier days.

      • As someone in exactly this situation, I thought about this too. *MAYBE* you could make things fairer by saying if you have donated N pounds over the last M months and N > M then you get N – M months of Pro “for free” (i.e. without further payment). This would be slightly farier than the actually system, but really is it worth the bother? The only people affected are those of us who have used VV for over a year without making any donations, so we’ve been onto a good deal.

        I’ve signed up.

  • worth every penny Ben, use it almost every ride to check out my rides, good luck to you!! How many of your users have signed up now?

  • Ben,

    I just paid up. For the work you have done here and the amount of data that is available, which Strava doesn’t provide, i think it is well worth the cost. Are we funding the site here, or your divorce lawyer!!


  • Happy to cough up and pay for something I’ve gotten great use out of, and in recognition of the work that Ben has put in here.

    My only worry is that Strava will do ‘a Twitter’ and gradually pull the API rug out from under community projects like VeloViewer as their business model pivots. Not saying this will definitely happen, and it’s encouraging if Ben has already had tacit approval from them, just saying it would worry me, especially if I was going to devote more and more time/money to it.

    Looking forward to a speedier and extended VeloViewer!

    p.s. Not really have a dig, but it’s quite amusing to see folk who have £3k carbon bikes grumble about a £10 annual charge 🙂

  • Just signed up for premium. A phone app would be good if that’s possible? And the ability to tweet and share data on facebook would be nice. Good way to raise the profile of veloviewer too.

  • I love the details and innovations you have at this site, which is why I contributed here long before going premium on Strava. I just paid via paypal though, and it says Pro until August, 2015, rather than 1 year from today?

  • Great work! I did the Pro subscription immediately.
    PS. Did you consider putting “Suffer score” into the tables? (Activity table, Segment table etc)


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