What type of cyclists should be using RiderLevel?

The target users of RiderLevel comprises two types of cyclists:

  1. the competitive cyclist who will user RiderLevel in determining their net placing in a competitive ride against other cyclists over the same course, generally on the same day and therefore under similar conditions, and
  2. the weekend warrior cyclist who compares their performance from each ride against their own other rides regardless of course ridden.

Personally, I’m a weekend warrior (with secret ambitions of being competitive!)

Recently, I completed a ride on my road bike that covered 145km (90 miles) and about 1,330m (4,400 feet) of climbing, and I worked hard to keep up, catch up, or hang on with better cyclists than me! My RiderLevel before this ride was 63, and after completing the ride and connecting to Strava I eagerly switched over to www.riderlevel.com to see my results: I had completed the ride physically tired, so was hoping to have achieved a reasonable RiderLevel ‘score’ and ridden close to my target time.

After the ride was downloaded and my details updated, I was very pleased to see that after riding for 5 hours, 26 minutes and 48 seconds, I had managed to ride within just 38 seconds of my target time, and had ridden to a RiderLevel of 62.9!

How does RiderLevel promote safe cycling?

Strava has been criticised for promoting reckless cycling as individual’s chase KOMs and QOMs.

At RiderLevel we want to reward cyclists for their safe cycling practices.  The biggest issue we hope to overcome is the risk that cyclists run red lights, ignore pedestrian crossings, or risk dangerous train crossings to ‘protect’ their times.  In our analysis of your ride data, if we notice you are decelerating to a stop, we stop recording your effort at the previous gps record (before we noticed you had begun to slow), and don’t recommence recording your data until we have determined that you are getting back up to speed – for this reason your RiderLevel moving time and RiderLevel distance will (almost) always be less than your Strava moving time and distance for the same ride.

How do I read the Activities Overview page?

To help you better understand the details presented on the Activities Overview page, we have created the following short presentation.

How to Read Activities Overview

How is my RodeTo score calculated?

You could read the full patent application… but in the interests of your sanity…

Once a ride is completed and uploaded to Strava, the gps file details can be extracted to riderlevel.com and the process of calculating the cyclist’s RodeTo score commences. The calculation process requires anywhere between 3 and 30 (or more) passes through the detailed gps data (often thousands of records per ride).

The first pass breaks the ride into segments, with segment ends triggered by either distance or by the cyclist stopping (for example, at traffic lights). The total time for these segments are accumulated and a moving time is calculated. This moving time is then used to calculate the average effort that a rider with this starting RiderLevel is capable of producing for this exact course.

Each segment is then analysed, and we calculate the time it should have taken to complete the segment, and compare it to the time it actually took to complete. These figures are accumulated across all segments, giving us a total time (or Target Time) that can be applied to the starting RiderLevel. Depending on the difference between your target time, and your RiderLevel moving time, we are able to calculate the RodeTo score by reverse engineering a result to determine a RodeTo that would produce the same moving time as your Actual Time. Simple!

How is my RiderLevel calculated?

A rider needs to complete 3 rides to establish a RiderLevel.

Once a rider has uploaded 32 rides for use in calculating their RiderLevel, the best 8 of their most recent 32 rides’ ‘RodeTo Levels’ are used in the calculating their RiderLevel.

These best 8 are averaged, and then increased by 5% x (100 – average of best 8) to produce their ‘New RiderLevel’.

For example, if the average of their best 8 rides is a RiderLevel RodeTo of 70, their new RiderLevel will equal 70 + (5% x (100-70)) = 70 + 1.5 = 71.5.

Like a golf handicap, until a rider has completed 29 rides, the number of rides included in the RiderLevel calculation gradually builds up to the standard 8.

Rides completed

No. of rides used in calculation
3 – 6 Highest 1
7 – 9 2
10 – 12 3
13 – 16 4
17 – 20 5
21 – 24 6
25 – 28 7
29+ 8 of most recent 32


We increase your NEW RiderLevel by a small percentage above your best 8 scores (on average), to provide a stretch target that we are confident you are very capable of achieving.

However, this does mean that you will have rides in your history which have scored below your Starting RL, yet which result in the NEW RiderLevel being increased from its previous level.

For this to occur, your new ride will need to be a ride which is included in your ‘best 8 score’.

Equally, it is possible for your latest ‘RodeTo’ to be higher than your RiderLevel, yet your NEW RIderLevel drops from its previous level. This can occur if your latest RodeTo is lower than your RodeTo 33 rides ago, and where that ride 33 rides ago had been included in in the calculation of your previous RiderLevel.

How do my RiderLevel and RodeTo scores relate?

  1. RodeTo score: Represents an individual ride processed with the RiderLevel algorithm (incorporating factors like length of the ride, time taken, inclines and descents, and any stops) to give the rider a normalised score for that one activity.
  2. RiderLevel: Represents the 8 best of your most recent 32 RodeTo scores and gives you a gauge for your current rider capability.
  3. Comparing your RodeTo score with your current (or starting) RiderLevel:
    • If your RodeTo on a given day is +/- 10% of your RiderLevel, you rode close to your current fitness/capability level.
    • If your RodeTo is about 10% higher than your RiderLevel  you had an exceptionally good ride which may indicate that your riding capability is on the rise, or that you have implemented an improvement (equipment, position on the bike, etc).
    • A RodeTo score of about 20% below your RiderLevel means that on that day you did not fully live up to your potential as a rider.  If you were riding hard, this is not a good sign – but if you were completing a more leisurely ride, a ride on a ‘slower’ bike, or a commute, then it’s nothing to worry about.

Thanks to Harald K for this FAQ suggestion and much of the content.

What score is an acceptable RiderLevel?

The baseline RiderLevel is 100.  This represents the RiderLevel of an elite amateur athlete (male or female).  The baseline of 100 has been calculated using a theoretical “Category I” level amateur riding on a Road Bike in a solo cycling effort (no drafting!). Therefore, a RiderLevel of 100 is extremely good.

A regular amateur racer in higher grades should expect a RiderLevel of between 70 and 90. A weekend warrior may expect a RiderLevel of anything between 30 and 70, depending on their level of fitness, the quality of their equipment, the terrain they ride on, and their riding style (if they ride and chat with friends, it’s likely their RiderLevel will be at the lower end. If they ride ‘hard’ regularly and are in good shape, their RiderLevel will more likely be higher).

The tables below indicate approximate RiderLevel by category, for both male and female.  Please note: these RiderLevel scores are based on a road-bike being ridden on-the-hoods.  Expect scores for MTB and CX to be lower, and Time-Trials to be higher.

How frequently should I expect to beat my RiderLevel?

When we compared the starting RiderLevel (your RiderLevel after your previous ride) against a cyclists’ Rode To (the RiderLevel you achieved on this ride) performance on each ride in our database, we found that only Only 8.5% (slightly more than 1 in 12) of rides are completed at a time faster than the target RiderLevel time. . This is not an exact science, as a truly accurate RiderLevel calculations requires 32 rides in your history, however the results are interesting nonetheless.

Interestingly, approximately 14% of rides are completed at a RiderLevel less than half of the target (starting RiderLevel).

So what does this mean? Don’t be dismayed if you frequently fail to perform to your RiderLevel. It’s the same for all of us!

How do I improve my RiderLevel?

To improve your RiderLevel, a cyclist can:
1) get stronger and produce more power,
2) get fitter and produce the same power for longer,
3) lose weight while retaining their same power output,
4) improve their efficiency or riding position, or
5) improve their equipment (such as better wheels on their bike).

other methods, which we don’t condone, include:
6) ride at the back of a fast moving pack
7) only ride with the wind
8) install a motor

But remember, “If you cheat at RiderLevel, you cheat at Life.”

How do I find "My RiderLevel Friends"?

With Find a Friend , you are able to see all your Friend’s RiderLevel information. From their current RiderLevel, to their performance on past rides. If they are a RiderLevel Subscriber, you can also see their detailed ride performance statistics, and their RiderLevel by bike or ride type.

And they can see yours!!

Is your RiderLevel higher? Did they ‘beat’ you on a recent ride together? Are they improving?

Log In to RiderLevel and Find a Friend, or accept a Friend request from someone who has beaten you to it! And if you have no friends registered at RiderLevel, invite someone to join.


From the RiderLevel Main Screen (ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW), click on ‘MY RIDERLEVEL FRIENDS’ from the Left Menu (see below).  On a Smartphone, the menu items can be found by clicking on the Menu Icon on the top left of your screen.


Clicking on MY RIDERLEVEL FRIENDS will take you to the ‘MY FRIENDS’ page, which should look something like the screenshot below:

We will have already pre-populated the section ‘Athletes You May Know’ by identifying RiderLevel members who you already Follow on Strava.  We try to make it as simple as possible!

If you have any members listed with a small thumbnail of their profile, you will note that you can already see:

  1. their current default RiderLevel,
  2. whether they are a PAID subscriber, or a FREE TRIAL member, and
  3. their location.

If you do successfully connect with a Subscriber, you will be able to see all of their additional Activity information and Statistics only available to Subscribers.

The My Friends Page is the central hub for all your Friends.

The Menu above your Friends provides both a Summary of your current Contacts, how many Friend requests you have received but not yet accepted, the number of Friend requests you have sent to others but which have not been accepted, and any Friend requests you may have Declined (Cruel!).  By clicking on any of the titles (e.g. Outgoing() ) you will be taken to a list of all members that fall within the relevant category (e.g. a display of all members to whom you have sent a Friends Request).

Initially, you will have “No RiderLevel Friends”.

Connecting with a Friend

There are three ways to connect with a Friend:

  1. If someone you are following on Strava is already a member, they should be listed under ‘Athletes You May Know”.  If they aren’t, try clicking the ‘Find a Friend’ button and we will run a scan of your Strava account to double check.  For any member listed under Athletes You May Know, just click on the ‘Add Friend’ icon on their profile thumbnail.  It’s that simple!
    If successful, you will receive a confirmation message just like the one below.

    Your Friend will both: receive an email from support@riderlevel.com similar to the one below (sent by Gavin to Andrew), and will automatically receive a ‘notification’ next time they LogIn to RiderLevel (also shown below as the red number beside the bell icon):

  2. If you know of a RiderLevel member who you are not following on Strava, you can use the search field at the top of the screen (enter their first name, surname, email address, or location) and any results matching your search will appears as profile thumbnails on the My Friends page.  This can also be used to find local riders.
    For example, entering ‘Holland’ in the search function produces a list of all those members who have Holland as their home location in Strava (at the time they registered on RiderLevel), AND any members with Holland in their name or email address (e.g John Holland).
    To connect, just click on the ‘Add Friend’ icon as described above.
  3. If you can’t find a Friend under the pre-populated list, and don’t have any success clicking the Find a Friend or by using Search, just click on the ‘Invite Friend’ button – which should have replaced the Find a Friend button.

    1. Clicking on Invite Friend will result in a pre-populated email template popping up on your screen:
    2. Enter your Friend’s name in the first box, their email address in the second box, modify the pre-prepared email in the third box (or leave it as is – it will already include your RiderLevel name in the signature line), and click ‘Send’.Your Friend will receive an email from support@riderlevel.com with all of the details you included in the email template.

When you have submitted a Friend Request, all requests that have not been Actioned will appear under your ‘Outgoing’ menu, with a status of ‘Request Sent’.

Accepting a Friend Request

If you are already a Member at RiderLevel, you can click on the link on the invitation you have received, or click on the Notification icon when you LogIn to RiderLevel.  By doing so you should be taken to the My Friends page, under the ‘Incoming’ section, and a thumbnail image of the profile icon of the Friend who has invited you to connect, such as the one below:

To accept the invitation, just click on ‘Accept Request’.  To Decline the invitation, click ‘Decline’.  That’s it!  Easy!

Viewing a Friend’s RiderLevel Activities and Statistics

Once you have established a Connection with a Friend, you can now see all of the details they can see about themselves (and they can see all of your details!).

To view a Friend’s Activities page, click on the speedometer icon in their profile thumbnail, which should appear under the ‘Friends’ section of your MY FRIENDS page.

To view their Statistics (if they are a Subscriber), click on the Chart (graph) icon.

To return to your MY FRIENDS screen, just click the Back Button, or click on MY RIDERLEVEL FRIENDS from the Menu.


Take a look around your Friend’s activities and History, and then maybe oneday you can Challenge them!

I'm a subscriber. Can you explain my ride analysis (e.g. descending performance)?

As a subscriber, you receive additional analysis on each of your activities.

This information includes:

  • RiderLevel Course Rating
    • This is a score out of 100 that considers the ride distance, and the ride’s vertical metres.  It is not related to your effort on the ride (as in the case with Strava’s Suffer Score), nor to the relative difficulty of sections of your ride.
  • Climbing Performance
    • We calculate the percentage of your total moving time that we measured as ‘ascending’.  For these sections of the ride, we determine your moving time, and the moving time that you should have taken if you had ridden to your Starting RiderLevel.
  • Flat riding Performance
    • we perform the same analysis as we do for your Climbing.

We do not provide information for your descending performance.  The method of calculating your RiderLevel RodeTo score for each ride assumes you do not need to brake, except when coming to a Stop.  Therefore, we have found that the vast majority of rides have a descending effort which is behind your starting Riderlevel’s target time.  Why? If you are riding up a steep hill, cornering has little effect on your speed (assuming no change in the slope).  However this is not true for descending.  When riding down a hill, you often need to slow for corners (sometimes considerably), to ensure you are able to complete the corner safely while remaining on the correct side of the road.

Today's ride was faster (slower) than my target time, yet my RiderLevel went down (up). Why?

It is possible that you will have rides in your history which have scored below your Starting RiderLevel, yet which result in the NEW RiderLevel being increased from its previous level. For this to occur, your new ride’s ‘RodeTo’ will need to be a ride which is included in your ‘best 8 score’ (see “How is my RiderLevel calculated”), having replaced a ride in that best 8 with a lower RodeTo score.

Equally, it is possible for your latest ‘RodeTo’ to be higher than your RiderLevel, yet your NEW RIderLevel drops from its previous level. This can occur if your latest RodeTo is lower than your RodeTo 33 rides ago.  The effort 33 rides ago would have to have been included in in the calculation of your previous RiderLevel, but is not included in the calculation of your NEW RiderLevel.

Does RiderLevel apply to all type of bike rides, including MTB and Cyclocross?

All of the development and testing to date at RiderLevel has been based on road data. MTB and Cyclocross should work too, but the accuracy of data will come into play: for example, the underlying algorithms uses data smoothing for altitude change, which assumes relatively smooth changes over distance of 100-200m. This may not work well for MTB. Also, we measure changes in speed to determine if a rider is coming to a stop (to promote safe and legal riding), which may not work as well on MTB or Cyclocross.

However, RiderLevel will allow you to generate separate scores for multiple bikes, so if you ride both MTB and Road you could have 3 RiderLevels: 1 for ALL rides, 1 for your MTB, and 1 for your Road Bike.

How can I use RiderLevel to compete on Handicap?

You can easily apply RiderLevel as a handicap system when riding the same route as others.

If you refer to the diagram below, you will see two rides completed on the same day by two riders (Ron C and Paul). Ron, with a RiderLevel of 55, rode the 13.24 kilometre WRTT (I assume this was a time trial) in 21:49. Paul, with a RiderLevel of 52, completed the same ride in 22:04. However, Ron’s target time was 24:26, compared to Paul’s target time of 24:57, so Paul beat his target time by 2:53, versus Ron’s 2:37. Therefore, on a handicap basis, Paul wins by 16 seconds!

Until we build the full functionality on the website, if you ever wish to compare your handicap time against a friend, leave a comment here with your ride details (date, time, strava id’s and ride name) and we’ll let you know how you go.

How to use RiderLevel for handicap events

RiderLevel and Strava

How do I get my ride history from Strava into RiderLevel?

Getting your full ride history into RiderLevel is relatively simple.  However, it is only available to subscribers.  Free Trial members are limited to the 3 months prior to their trial commencing, but can then build up rider details over time.

If you are a subscriber, and you wish to obtain your activity history from Strava, just do the following:

  1. Click on the ‘gear’ icon on the top right of the Activities Overview page.
  2. Click on ‘subscription info’.  A small info box will pop-up, with your current subscription term displayed, and 2 Additional options.
  3. Click on the button next to your preferred history term.  We provide a short term option, for those who have joined Strava since 2015, and a long term option for longer-term Strava users.
  4. Proceed with the credit card payment process.
  5. Wait while your ride history is extracted from Strava and processed into RiderLevel (this can take many minutes).


Why are some of my Strava rides missing from RiderLevel?

At RiderLevel, we only extract rides that are more than 8km (5 miles) in distance.  We also only extract rides completed outdoors (specifically, we don’t extract rides that have been saved in Strava as “stationery trainer”).

However, we rely on your gps data to calculate your performance. After analyzing over 50,000 individual rides, we have found the following issues with some of the extracted gps data:

  1. Sometimes the data goes a little awry
    • We have had time-travellers, who have two gps records with different latitude and longitude, but the same time (gifted cyclists!).
    • We have had rides where people have actually gone back in time (very gifted cyclists!).
    • We have had missing data (no latitude or longitude).
    • We have had major gaps between gps records (possibly a battery or gps signal issue).
  2. Sometimes the data indicates you rode indoors. [As mentioned, we do not extract rides which have been flagged as ‘Stationary Trainer’ on Strava].
  3. Sometimes the data indicates you left the gps unit on:
    • while driving in your car (the ride name of “Nissan” was also a  bit of a give-away)
    • while ‘riding’ up a chairlift (yes. it’s true!).
    • while taking a “very long break”. This is generally caused by cyclists pausing their gps unit while at work, or sleeping (I know.  I did this while riding Paris-Brest-Paris last year), or catching a ferry!
  4. Sometimes, you Log In to riderlevel.com after a ride, but before you have uploaded the ride details to Strava.  Currently, we extract all rides ‘since your last LogIn’, and use the actual ride date and time as it is recorded on your gps unit.  If you believe this is the reason a ride does not appear, click on the ‘gear’ icon on the top right of the Activities Overview page, select ‘Extract Recent Rides’ to re-extract all rides from the most recent 7 days, then click ‘continue’.  If your rides are still not available, please use the Contact Us page to get in touch and let us know.  We can work with you to ensure the ride is subsequently loaded correctly.

The logic we apply when calculating RiderLevel attempts to identify data issues such as those outlined in points 1-3 above, and if found, rejects the ride from further processing.

If you have a missing ride that you believe should have been processed, please use the Contact Us form here and we’ll be in touch to work with you on a resolution.

How should I edit my ride details in Strava to get the maximum benefit from RiderLevel?

Subscribers to RiderLevel have the ability to generate a variety of RiderLevel scores.  You can have a RiderLevel calculated for each bicycle you ride.  You can include or exclude your commuting effots.  You can calculate a RiderLevel for races, or for workouts.  And you can calculate a RiderLevel based on any combination of bicycle/commute/ride type.

Strava allows all its’ members to record a plethora of information for each ride.  Some of this information requires you to collect additional data while riding, such as heart-rate, cadence, or power.  But many items merely require you to manually enter the information in Strava after completing your ride and uploading.  This information includes: ride name, ride type, commute status, and bicycle.  And by entering this information, you can get a richer data experience from RiderLevel.

To enter this information on Strava:

  1. From your Dashboard, click on your ride map or the ride name to take you into your activity details screen.
  2. Click on the edit icon (the pencil).
  3. Overwrite your ride name with something a little more meaningful and memorable than “morning ride”.
  4. If this ride was a race, or a workout (e.g. fartlek training ride), click on the “Workout Type” drop-down and select the ride type.
  5. If this ride was a commute, Tag it as such (click the commute button).
  6. If this ride was completed on a bicycle other than your ‘default’ bike (you can add a bike or change the default by clicking on your avatar on the top right, and then click Settings and select My Gear), select your bike from the dropdown.
    • If these 3 editable fields don’t give you sufficient options (for example, you want to differentiate group rides from solo rides, or time-trial races from criterions), you could create ‘virtual’ bikes such as “BMC Roadmachine Group” and “BMC Roadmachine Solo”.
  7. Finally, click on Save & View Your Activity”.

That’s it!  As a subscriber, you can now analyse your RiderLevel by any combination of the above criteria.

I sometimes ride in Group rides or races. Can I differentiate these rides?

Currently RiderLevel does not support tagging rides as Group rides or Race events (it is coming!)

However, as a Subscriber you may be able to highlight these rides, and thereby generate a RiderLevel unique to these types of ride.  We have identified two ways to do just that.

The first method is to use the ‘commute’ field in RiderLevel.  The caveat is that you would not be able to identify a true commute, as you would have to use the ‘commute’ field to identify your group rides. So, if you already record rides as commute on Strava, the following is probably not an option.

However, assuming you don’t use commute…..

Use the commute Y/N as Group Ride Y/N OR Race Ride Y/N.  This would then enable you to generate separate RiderLevels for Group or Race rides (and non-group or non-race rides) by selecting ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘All’ in the Commute drop down.

To use the Commute field:

On the (new) Activities Overview page, click on ‘edit’ (only available to Subscribers), then select Yes or No on the commute field (I suggest ‘Yes’ to indicate a Group or Race ride), and Save.  Do this for a few relevant rides.  When you return to the Activities Overview screen, click on the Commute drop down and select Yes.  After a short wait, the details on this page will be updated (including the RiderLevel calculation) to reflect only those rides with a Commute=Yes.  You could also check your performance history in the My RiderLevel Stats page by following a similar process of selecting Commute=Yes.

And if the commute field is not an option….

If you are using the Commute field already, a second but more time-consuming work-around would be to create a new ‘virtual’ bike (or bikes) on Strava (under ‘Settings’ and ‘My Gear’) for your Group rides AND/OR your Race rides, and then manually edit all your rides on Strava.

To see the results based on your virtual bike/s, you would click on the ‘Bike model’ drop down, rather than the Commute drop down, and select the relevant virtual bike.

I have added a new bike to Strava (or changed my Profile in Strava). How do I get this change to show in RiderLevel?

Any changes made to your Strava account are not automatically duplicated in RiderLevel.  Therefore, if you change any of your Strava Profile, including your avatar or email address, or if you have added a new bike (congratulations!), you need to follow these simple instructions:

  1. Log In to your RiderLevel account,
  2. Click on the ‘gear’ icon (top right of screen),
  3. Click on the option to ‘Synchronize with Strava’,
  4. Wait patiently for the screen to refresh.

If you have added a new bike, the above actions will ensure that any NEW rides are recorded correctly in RiderLevel.  To ‘fix’ rides that have already been loaded into Strava and previously extracted to RiderLevel requires a little more work on our end.  If you do have rides that are not linked to the correct bicycle in RiderLevel, please Contact Us with the ride details and we’ll work with you to get it fixed (it’s quick and painless!).

My RiderLevel Challenges - Routes, Challenges and Events

My RiderLevel Account

What do I get from a subscription in comparison to the Free Trial I currently enjoy?

The list of additional benefits from a subscription to RiderLevel, compared to the Free Trial offer, is long and growing.  Details on the benefits of a subscription can be found here, but for a summary, the table below outlines the major differences:

What is the Price of a Subscription?

Subscriber Pricing:

At RiderLevel we have undertaken pricing analysis based on the benefits we intend to provide to our members.  The full price for an annual subscription is just over US$1.00 per month.  For this low price, you not only receive the many benefits available to a subscriber, but you also contribute to the continuity of RiderLevel as a small business trying to cover its website hosting costs. So thank-you!

Subscriber Membership: 

Yearly: US$12.95.   Six Month: US$8.95.  Month: US$2.15.

Strava Data History:

Your ride history (excluding rides rejected by the RiderLevel extract and calculation process) since 01/01/2015: US$4.95

Your complete Strava ride history (subject to above exclusions): US$9.95

I've forgotten my password. What do I do?

At RiderLevel, we store your password in an encrypted form.  This means that we are unable to see your password, and therefore cannot tell you what it is if you have forgotten.  However, we do provide you with the means to reset your password yourself.

To reset your Password:

  1. Click on Member LogIn.
  2. Click on the “Forgotten my Password” link from the LogIn pop-up page.
  3. Enter Your Email address at the prompt (this needs to match the email address you have registered at RiderLevel).
  4. Click “NEXT STEP”.  You should receive the message “We have just sent you an email with a temporary password. Please check your email.”
  5. Check your email for a “Password recovery” email from RiderLevel – if it doesn’t appear in a few minutes, check your Spam emails.  The email includes a new temporary password, and further instructions on resetting this password to something more memorable.

That’s it!

How do I delete my account?

How do you what?  Delete your account?  What? Why?

Seriously, if you would like us to remove all record of your account from RiderLevel, just drop us a short note through our contacts page and we’ll take care of the rest.  It would also be great if you could tell us why you want to leave, as this may help us improve our service to those who remain.

We will be sad to see you go.