Over the past few years, I’ve been writing about Rouvy a couple of times to keep you informed about how they were becoming a serious contender in the online training platform market.
I started using Rouvy in the winter of 2014 – 2015 I think. At the time, it was still ‘under construction’ and the quality of their video footage was no match for Tacx TTS, so I didn’t spend a lot of time in their virtual realm.
In the beginning, I wasn’t really aware or serious about the ‘career mode’ they offered either, but when I eventually started participating in their challenges, I also started to work on my career and I reached Legend status somewhere during the 2016 season.
By that time, I had already been chatting a lot with Rouvy’s ‘support’ staff, which wasn’t always a positive experience. They were often slow to respond, or responded with nonsensical answers.
Well, at least in my not so humble opinion 🙂
I guess that the language barrier didn’t help either. Rouvy is a Czech based company and I’m not implying that (all) Czechs are bad at English, but their messages seem to be composed using Google translate at times and we all know what that looks like.
This also frequently leads to questions on for instance the challenge discussion pages too, as it simply is unclear what the rules are and if they ‘elaborate’, it only gets worse.
But overall, I liked the experience and the effort they were putting into making Rouvy better and I gladly promoted them. Hence my pieces on them and my ‘involvement’ on the various social platforms, answering questions from other users…
Sadly, with a growing user base, the number of ‘problematic accounts’ also grew and this became worse when Rouvy introduced (substantial) prizes to be won for completing challenges.
Also, the quality of the routes being added, both video and (grade) profiles, was getting harder to control and was deteriorating as a result.
I would frequently point them to the problematic user accounts and flagrantly bad routes, and coupled with my public involvement, I was all but ‘officially’ added as a support source at some stage.
I even got a free premium account in return, but the official announcement never came. For anyone else, this would probably have led to a shrug and an ‘Oh well, suit yourself – I got me a free account’, but that’s not how I tick…
On top of which, it became increasingly clear that solving the ‘little’ quirks, implementing tips I brought forward or improving communication, did not really have any priority. So, as a result, I became increasingly annoyed with them.
Nevertheless, I became a ‘Double Legend‘ in June this year, but by that time, it didn’t really feel as a milestone anymore.
Rouvy was working hard on a ‘game changing’ technology, which turned out to be the introduction of Zwift like cartoon characters as avatars. This ‘augmented reality’ (real roads. real riders. real feelings – um, what?) maybe innovative in itself, but personally, I couldn’t care less.
Anyway, that is another story, which I will not write.
As the public beta of the AR functionality coincided with the start of the new (career) season, the latter was poorly introduced and even adapted after it had already started.
Much to my dismay, as this meant I had to do extra rides, after which I – we – got stuck, because online racing was banned during the public beta and finishing online races was a career requirement.
I was told to take a vacation…
So, because I was already irritated, I got into several – fruitless / pointless – discussions with them on user ‘achievements’ during challenges. I will not repeat myself here, but you can have a look at my Facebook feed for some of the publicly shared issues.
For 95% of Rouvy’s users, all this is not even worth the waste of energy – if you are happy with your achievements in challenges, races or career, no matter what other users do, cheating included, Rouvy is offering the best value for money.
They will probably continue to enhance the AR and overall experience and hopefully they will get a grip on (the quality of) the release of new route uploads.
They are trying to ban cheaters – when pointed at them – and to put a lid on ways to take easy shortcuts through challenges, like coasting exclusively downhill to complete a distance challenge.
But for now, especially the latter is done in wordings chosen so poorly, it is pathetic. Plus, there actually is no check – despite the wording, you can still pretty much do whatever you want.
And as I can’t just let it go or sit and wait, at the end of the day, this means that my experience with Rouvy is so tainted, it is best to say goodbye.
Which is what I have now done – I have deactivated my Rouvy account and requested all (my) records be deleted, including rankings and the legend interview they published.
I can’t / won’t promise that this is the last time I will write about Rouvy, but for now it looks like it probably is – there are far better things either myself or Rouvy can waste energy on…