Skoda, sponsors of the Tour de France, has released an online platform designed to give British cyclists a taste of the action.

The ‘Little Bit of the Tour’ allows cyclists to map a route in the UK that closely matches a part of France’s famous race.

It’s a nifty little tool – here’s a quick overview of its features.

Accessible for all abilities

To map out a ride, the user simply needs to enter their postcode and select the options best-suited to ability and time constraints. 

While I found the site slightly buggy and a little slow to load, it is still in BETA, which explains why it’s a bit unpolished. 

One aspect I particularly like is that you don’t have to be an expert cyclist to use it.

While Skoda are clearly marketing it as an experience for dedicated fans, even beginners can get involved by choosing the easiest option.

The lowest gradient is labelled ‘chilled’ – which even sounds doable to me. But if you’re a competitive sort, you can complete the entire 21 stages of the course.

Uses data to map out rides

The tool works by taking the route data of the Tour de France and matching it with the gradients of cycle-friendly roads in the UK.

By cleverly making use of data, it promises to match the experience of a Tour de France cyclist by at least 80%.

With the sliding map, the user is able to see the respective routes side by side.

Visualising how you’re replicating the twists and turns of a professional cyclist certainly ramps up the cool factor.

Google Map and social shares

Once the user clicks on a specific route, a concise snapshot of the ride appears below.

Listing things like the approximate duration and the average gradient, it offers up information in an easy-to-digest way.

Similarly, the Google Maps tie-in is a very pleasing feature, allowing the user to click straight through to view the route online or the mobile app.

With prominent social buttons, the platform also inspires users to get friends and family involved. That, and to show off, of course.

By prompting users to post times and achievements, it’s designed to encourage others to take up the challenge.

Skoda’s strategy

A company known for its quirky marketing, the ‘Little Bit of the Tour’ is another example of Skoda successfully aligning clever content with a good understanding of the audience.

Building on excitement around the event and utilising data to great effect, it might not be the slickest tool, but it’s cool nonetheless.

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