Stand up for Strava

Where the wild things are
Where the wild things are

I thought it was time someone made a stand for Strava. We see increasing amounts of bad press about speeding cyclists in public places or even the daft need for speed cameras on bike trails. And a blame of sorts is often landed on Strava.

I wont and can’t deny that Strava doesn’t allow and promote competition with its Cups and KOM Crowns; but surely these cyclists are competitive by nature and some how they would find a way of racing no matter what? Strava allows them to seek out other riders times and segments – yes. But if those segments are on shared paths and parks surely Strava is helping by highlighting where the problems are and who the riders are that cause the probelm?

Its an easy target, as are cyclists in general when it comes to public spaces – we should just ride sensibly or away from these locations and the problem wouldn’t exist.  Talk of banning or closing down the app is ridiculous in my opinion, the authorities should work with Strava to target the offending cyclists.

There are some negative sides to Strava, or the way it is used but the benefits of the app and the usefulness is far greater.

The Strava Effect

This article on SingleTracks covers it quite well. Strava has taken the soul out of cycling in some ways and it bugs me to see a bunch of cyclists at the end of a ride all checking their phones for their “results”. How many new PBs, any KOMs etc?

There is nothing wrong with this per se, but when it becomes the focus of conversation after a ride it really bugs me.  “I’ve hit my climbing challenge this month” “How many miles you done now?” “I beat you up that climb by 4 seconds”…  Yawn!

How about we talk about how great it was to be out together? How about we we talk about the stunning views from the top of the mountain? How about we talk about how technical that climb was and laugh at how someone fell in a puddle? How about we talk about when are we doing this gain? How about we talk?

Its not quite as bad as all that but it does annoy me.

And please don’t get me started on the constant shares on Facebook! Why?

ooh Well done mate you road your bike today.

Strava and Me

Since signing up to Strava I have become a little addicted to it myself, but I rarely talk about it or my achievements (or lack of). This doesn’t mean I’m not competitive and don’t strive to become quicker its just means that Strava is a personal thing for me.

I don’t really mind if you are quicker, though I am interested in how you manage to go so much quicker than I do.

“sometimes it is nice to smell the flowers, doesn’t mean you can’t measure how far you went to do it” – Nik

I rarely sign up to challenges either – If I do its to motivate myself as Strava gives a handy prompt to let you know how you are doing on a distance or climbing challenge. Not to compare my progress with others – it helps me keep track of my exercise, my progress on regular routes and gives me a gentle reminder to get out more.

Check out Mr Morzine’s thoughts on the same subject.

I am also a map fan so love looking at where I’ve been and where I could have been. Strava highlights segments and I have used the segment explorer on many occasions to plan routes – this ride was created using the Segment Explorer. Not so I can smash someones time, but so I can see what that little orange wiggly line is like in the middle of those woods!

You can use strava for this too
Smelling the flowers

Benefits of Strava

When I see others have been out and I haven’t it prompts me to ride. I check Strava to see where a few of my more adventurous biking friends have been to see if they have found some new trails. Now I want to go out and I know where to go!

Recording routes and trails is vital when exploring especially if you are far from home or want to easily explain the location to a friend – “Have a look on my Strava.” is a pretty common element of many a mountain bike conversation.

As mentioned above its also helpful for exploring new routes using the Segment Explorer…

Basically you get out of something whatever you put in – the same goes for Strava.  A number of people I know have given up on Strava as it was ruling their rides, I wonder why they let this happen and why fun biking and Strava can’t coexist for them and for the media as whole?

Oh well, I guess that’s their problem.

#StandUpForStrava

If its not on Strava…

Genesis CDF Cyclocross Bike
Did this ride really happen?

…did the ride really happen?

I realised this last week that I am a Strava Addict. Yes I admit it.

I didn’t really doubt it and let me get this straight, its not that I am addicted t o chasing down other peoples times and climbs. I am much more realistic than that. I ride for pleasure and fun, and ONLY OCCASIONALLY do I feel the need to try and beat someones time.

Last week my Garmin bike GPS failed to connect to my computer meaning that I lost a ride to the oblivion of the internal memory.  Now let me explain, this was only a small pedal out at lunch time not even 10 miles, but I enjoyed it and I rode down a section of hill on my cyclocross bike that I normally do on my MTB. I was desperate to see how the times compared as I felt like I was moving! This was the first reason I was disappointed, secondly I wanted to show that the CX bike doesn’t stop me riding off road and doesn’t make me a roadie.

IMG_6017
Its not a road ride

Thirdly, I do like to keep an eye on my exercise and while I know full well I went out and I took a photo (above) to commemorate the occasion, my Strava account doesn’t know!  I can’t add manual entries – everyone knows they don’t count!

After much searching on the internet (Googling as we have become accustomed to calling it) I found that i was not alone in my pain. While this doesn’t appear to be a known fault as such, its seems to just happen to these devices to some people. It could be a mechanical issue with the USB port – I don’t know.

What next, a new one? Certainly buying gadgets is great, but the Garmin actually works otherwise.  I know I can use a card reader and take the activities off the device microSD card. Excellent! Problem solved. I can ride again.

So two days later I rode and rode and rode (and took more photos) and got up to a fantastic high speed on a little road descent. Can’t wait to see how I compare with others and my previous times!

ARGH!  I didn’t have the device set up to record to the microSD card! Another ride lost to oblivion – that actually didn’t happen and the only record is another photo.

I have now fixed the issue and rides will be recorded to the microSD card from now onwards. And I have saved myself buying a new Garmin!

More new bike bits it is then…

A little something every day

Thats Me That Is!

So I said I needed to do a little something every day in June and today I did a little run.

6.1km after work took me about 35 mins. Doesn’t too bad but something was a bit dodgy about the first km as it looks like I had the Strava app paused for most of it!

I wore a pair of North Face cross trainers that I have had for a while, they seemed like they should be perfect for the job. I was wrong. While they are comfy to wear they don’t have enough bounce for running.

To add to the pain I climbed 90m over the duration of the run too – I really need to find some flat areas to run!

Tomorrow its June

Bike Village
Bike Village

Yes, tomorrow is the 1st of June 2014. That means it less than 3 weeks before I go to Bike Village again. I’m excited, but this year I feel totally unprepared. A rotten Winter and Spring have simply meant that the amount of riding has been lower than it should be and my fitness is not great. So I need to make some tracks over the next few weeks to soften the blow of a week of alpine riding!

We intend to raise some money this year for the National Autistic Society as my friends son has autism so we want to raise awareness of this complex developmental disability. All money raised will be donated to the National Autistic Society. They are the leading UK charity for people with Autism, and their families. Click on the Just Giving Page link below for details:

http://www.justgiving.com/thefoxers

Strava June
Strava June

We are going to attempt to climb the equivalent height of Everest during our week away and I’ve got to prepare for this. I need to do some form of exercise everyday – running, cycling, walking, digging the garden! Anything… I have joined a few Strava challenges to keep me motivated and this Thursday is Run 2 Work Day! What am I thinking?

A busy few weeks are ahead at work also, but I need to get fit. Watch this space and check my progress – if you are interested that is!

Not a bad start to the day

Sunny MTB Commute
Sunny MTB Commute

I failed to make the most of the sun and drier conditions and get out on a bike at the weekend. Not because I was lazy or anything, we were just otherwise occupied in some last minute preparation for our inaugural family camping trip next weekend. We thought it best to check the tent out and with some other activities the weekend just disappeared.

So I decided that I was going to ride the bike as much as possible this week, starting with a bike ride to and from the office today.

The sun was shining as I left home at 7am. I had planned a route that I guessed would take me about an hour and a half – it took me 80 mins – and would give me some climbing, some fun and generally a good work out before arriving at the office.

The route took in the Cherhill Monument, Yatesbury and Roundway and was perfect. I like my job but it was a shame to have to go to work at the end of the ride and not continue or loop back.

Here are some stats from Strava from the morning ride:

Distance 19.6km
Moving Time 1:18:09
Elevation 288m
Average Speed 15.1km/h
Maximum Speed 47.2km/h