Posted on September 4, 2019 by staff

Tech platform will be like a ‘personal trainer for cyclists’


A former international cyclist has predicted his new tech platform will be to cycling what personal trainers are for the fitness industry.

Richard Lang competed for Australia in a glittering career before moving to Manchester and forging a new career as an entrepreneur.

The 30-year-old quickly found himself in demand as a cycling coach but realised he could only help a limited number of clients – so turned to tech to find a solution.

The result is SPOK’D, a flexible online cycling coach to help users get fitter and faster.

Cyclists input a range of data sets, including distances travelled to hours slept, and receive a weekly training plan, all backed up by a support centre.

Subscribers pay a monthly fee of £9.99 and Lang predicted it could help find a future Olympic gold medallist or Tour de France winner.

Developers are currently creating an app version of SPOK’D that will be available in the App Store.

Lang said: “It can help everyone from the beginner to the experienced cyclist. In the gym you have a personal trainer. This is the equivalent for cyclists. I’m getting lots of positive feedback.”

The cyclist said he’s drawn on his own cycling experience in cresting the tech platform.

Lang, whose mum is English, was raised in Sydney and started his cycling career at 16, representing Australia at the U23 World Road Championships, the Australia Omnium Championships and the Oceania Championships.

At the age of 24 he moved to England to pursue his career but pushed himself so hard he literally crashed and burned.

“I over-trained, under-ate and put that much pressure on myself I probably crashed,” he recalled. “A contract fell through so I entered the real world and it was a shock to the system. All I knew was cycling so it was a real culture shock.”

He initially launched a corporate cycling event business called Haute Rouleurs before getting interested in technology and setting up SPOK’D.

“I’m a cycling coach and I can only coach so many people because of the restrictions on my time,” he said. “If I want to help as many people as possible I thought I must be able to automate part of the process. That’s where the idea for SPOK’D came from.

“I realised there were so many people cycling that didn’t have any support.”

Lang said cyclists generate so much data that it’s easy to track improvements in performance and believes the software could be expanded to include dietary advice to maximise performance.

“SPOK’D is primarily aimed at people who want to improve,” he said. “We help them achieve their goals. Running has the ‘Couch to 5k’initiative and if someone wants to start cycling we want then to use SPOK’D.”

Lang said he’s running a pilot project with British Cycling and working with a number of cycling clubs.

They’ve already received a small amount of seed funding and employed a developer but Lang said the ambition was to scale the business.