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In case you haven’t heard of it, Strava is a website/mobile app that allows you to share information about your mountain bike rides using GPS data collected during the ride. The social network is built around the idea of tracking your fitness progress and challenging friends (and even strangers), which makes the whole thing pretty addictive for a lot of riders.

When we first published this article back in 2012, Strava had already made a significant impact on the sport of mountain biking after being in existence for only a few years. Now, almost four years later, Strava is the single most prevalent fitness tracking app in existence–and especially in the sports of road and mountain biking. These days, it’s less common to meet a fellow rider who doesn’t use Strava than one who does. As a result, Strava’s effects on our sport have only been amplified.

Improving Fitness

Perhaps the biggest positive effect Strava is having on mountain biking and endurance sports in general is making fitness fun. Adding a competitive element to every workout, even if it’s just trying to set a new personal record, makes everyone stronger. It would be interesting to see how ride times trend for Strava members over the course of their membership… my guess is they improve trail times much faster than for those who don’t use it.

Strava!

In Atlanta where Jeff and Aaron live there’s a pretty good group of folks who use Strava, but in outdoor hotspots like Denver, Strava use has truly exploded. In fact, we’ve heard from multiple people (including staffers at IMBA) that it’s not unusual for riders in Colorado to fail to yield the trail while shouting “Strava!” to let you know they’re trying to set a new PR on a particular trail section. With Strava, every ride can become a race, with the resulting ego clashes and occasional conflicts.

Some riders have taken things even farther, risking personal injury to themselves and others. In 2010 a rider died after losing control while trying to set a new speed record for a descent in Tilden Park in Orinda, CA because someone had recently posted a faster time. His family sued Strava, saying the man was “obsessed” with Strava… which could easily describe a lot of folks.

Back in 2005 we tested out a similar concept here on Singletracks called “Virtual Bike Racing” (you can still see the page here). As you can see from the disclaimer, we understood that some riders might ride out of control in pursuit of a virtual title.

Secret Trails Exposed

Admittedly, some of us ride off-road in places we aren’t supposed to ride. Whether it’s a trail that’s officially closed to bikes or a gray trail that is on the down-low, Strava sees all and by default, makes the ride public to all. I haven’t heard any reports of land managers using Strava to identify trail poachers but it’s certainly a possibility.

There are a few trails in the Atlanta area that everyone knows as “the secret trails,” and it’s sorta like Fight Club, where the first rule is you do not talk about the secret trails. One of the local secret trail builders is famous for asking riders he doesn’t know, “Are we on the internet?” But even if no one posts these trails to a website like Singletracks, you can bet the trails are mapped and cataloged on Strava–it’s basically automatic every time you use your phone or GPS.

Now, it is possible to mark a ride as private, but hardly anyone does this since it defeats the biggest draw of the app which is to challenge other riders. With Strava, secret trails will never stay that way for long.

Strava’s Global Heatmap

Since this article was first published, Strava has released new technology that unfortunately only exacerbates this issue, revealing less-than-legal trails for the entire world to see. This new technology is their Global Heatmap.

Strava Global Heatmap for the Crested Butte, CO area.

Strava Global Heatmap for the Crested Butte, CO area.

The Global Heatmap aggregates all public ride data (there’s a running map as well) from all of Strava’s users, and puts it onto one massive, global map. The brighter the line on the map, the more people have ridden that route. The fainter the line, the fewer number of people. Some lines are even so faint that you can’t see them unless you zoom in all the way… but even if one person has ridden it, it’s there, if you zoom in far enough.

While this can be a very useful tool for locating the most popular legal routes in an area, if you are intimately familiar with the trails and roads in your local area (like an experienced mountain biker or a Forest Service ranger), you can easily pick out lines on the heatmap that aren’t actually present on the official trail map. Some members of the Singletracks Staff have confirmed this to be true in their local areas, and at times the highly-popular illegal (or illegal-ish) routes are brighter and more bold than even the legal trails and roads.

So, the moral of the story is: if you’re riding a trail that’s even so much as questionable, don’t go posting your ride as public on Strava!

Mountain Bikers Banned from Existing Trails

A brand-new development in the plethora of contentious mountain bike access issues is the banning of mountain bikers from trails which are currently bike legal, based on the speed data stored in Strava. Think I’m making this up? I wish. That’s exactly what just happened in Los Altos, California. (You can find final confirmation of the bike ban in this article from February 23, 2016.)

From the original article:

“Blame it on Strava. The mobile app – and the cyclists who use it to brag about achieving top speeds on trails – weighed heavily in Los Altos Hills city councilmembers’ unanimous decision Jan. 27 to entertain an ordinance prohibiting bicycles from Byrne Preserve.

I’m done with this as far as I’m concerned,” Councilman John Radford said. “The speed numbers that were talked about tonight are just incredibly unacceptable. I can’t even believe. Sorry, whoever’s done those apps and whoever puts that together – that just put a hole in the whole argument.”

Although Radford and his fellow councilmembers expressed considerable reluctance to deny an entire class of enthusiasts access to the popular open-space area, Strava-broadcasted boasts of trail speeds topping 20 mph and concerns about safety ultimately influenced their approval of a motion introducing the ordinance.”

While we at first avoided discussing this in a public forum for fear that more anti-mountain biker groups would take this same approach, this is a critical issue that needs our attention. Mountain bikers being banned because of the sheer fact that we’re mountain bikers, even if we’re not doing anything illegal, is a very real threat.

So what’s the takeaway? If you live or ride in an area where you know the access issues are contentious, again, it might be best to mark your ride as private. You might not gain any virtual kudos, but on the flip side, you won’t lose access to any of the very real and tangible mountain bike trails that you enjoy on a regular basis.

Exploring New Places

While Strava can be used as a way to compete against other riders using the segment feature, it can also be used as motivation to get out and explore new (legal) trails that you might not even have heard of before. Simply by watching my Strava news feed, I’ve seen cool rides posted in locations unbeknownst to me, that have prompted me to want to go and check that place out for myself. I’ve even observed one person in my friends list riding a relatively-new, unknown trail, and then a cascade of other Strava friends riding that same trail, seemingly inspired by the original explorer.

Greg's personal heatmap near Dahlonega, GA.

Greg’s personal heatmap near Dahlonega, GA.

While the Global Heatmap above can be a great resource for finding trails and scouting routes, your own personal heatmaps (pro feature) can provide motivation to explore new areas and connect the different sections of your map with various lines. Personally (Greg speaking), this is my favorite Strava feature, and more than anything else it has motivated me to explore and experience new trails and routes both locally, and far afield!

Race Scouting

Strava has become a valuable tool for scouting competitors before races and creating strategies based on past performance. It’s also a great tool for previewing race courses and getting segment-level detail showing how you compare to others, which is helpful in post-race analysis.

Strava also makes it easy to “follow” other riders, particularly pros who have signed up for the service. For the pros, mountain bike racing is ultra-competitive, and it would seem that giving away too much information about training routines, routes, etc. might give rivals a leg up. Based on the few pro riders I follow, it seems many of them limit which rides they post, which seems like a solid strategy.

Of course it’s not just Strava that’s impacting the sport of mountain biking–internet and mobile technology is everywhere, and it’s changing our entire world. What’s the next big thing? I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out…

See Also
By Greg Heil
 

Your turn: If you use Strava, has it changed the way you ride? What other technologies are impacting mountain biking today?

This article was last updated on April 4, 2016 at 7:12am MDT by Greg Heil. Greg added the sections “Strava’s Global Heatmap,” “Mountain Bikers Banned from Existing Trails,” and “Exploring New Places.”

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  • mtbgreg1

    Great article Jeff! Every since you got me hooked on it, I’ve been using Strava religiously.

    For me, it’s not as much about competing with others… maybe I’m just not fast enough (although I’ve gotten two emails this week saying I’ve lost two KOMs). Personally, I just love tracking my own personal statistics, and Strava is a great way to do that. Being able to go on there and see that I’ve ridden almost 1,700 miles this year is satisfying.

    Re: secret trails (or trails not open to mtbing): I think this is ridiculous. It’s people who record everything they do, via Strava and with gopros posting it on youtube or posting photos on their facebook pages, including when they’re doing something illegal, that will create all sorts of fall out. I posted a news article on the forums a few months ago about a super popular jump spot in an urban area out west that got bulldozed because videos of it were popping up all over youtube. The spot had been around for close to 20 years, but people who don’t know how to keep their mouths shut when they log on to a computer got the place demolished.

    In my opinion, if you’re going to go out and do something questionable (which I am not condoning), at least have the decency to have a closed-mouth and electronics-free ride. Keep the cameras off, the GPS off, and the facebook statuses off. Or at least, if you run the GPS to log your stats, remember your miles and your time, don’t save the file, and just enter them into your Strava manually. That way, you can still keep track of total mileage, time, etc, but don’t run the risk of outing secret trails.

    Anyhow, my $0.02!

  • JSF

    Strava has had a huge impact on my mountain biking, and also the way I train. I’ve become a faster rider because of Strava, no question about it. I’ve made my bike lighter, I’m lighter, I’m constantly searching for the fastest lines in segments, my cornering skills have improved considerately, my cardio is better than it has ever been… the list goes on.

    This morning I took down a KOM and set a new PR on another segment, and I’m pretty much going to be in a great mood all day because of that. On the other side of the coin, when I get one of those dreaded “You just lost your KOM…” emails, I can think of nothing else but getting out there and getting it back.

    Strava is extremely addictive for a competitive person like me, but I still try to balance my riding time between balls-out riding for KOM bragging rights and just enjoying the trails for pure fun.

    • JSF

      *considerably

  • Jared13

    I think Strava is a great site, but I don’t use it. I figure everyone is faster than me so I don’t need a website to confirm that 😀

    I do track my rides via Garminconnect so I can see how much I’ve ridden and compare times between different runs. If I didn’t have a site that tracked rides, I would probably use Strava or the ride tracker here on Singletracks.

    • mtbgreg1

      @Jared13, I hear ya on that. Personally, I use Strava primarily to track my own personal stats. I’ve used Garmin connect a little, but I really like Strava’s graphical layout.

    • Jared13

      I have a Strava account to look for trails around my area (none were listed) and I haven’t looked at it since.

      I’ll have to check out the layout to see if I like it better than the Garmin’s site. It’s pretty bare bones.

  • Gronckle

    I started using Strava a few months ago and love it. I’m one of the slower guys out there on a good day, but I’ve already vastly improved my own times, and it adds a great element of self-competitiveness to every ride just trying attain a personal record (even if I’m only 193rd out of 207 overall). The ease of segment discovery and creation are great- setting you up automatically for any other trails or rides you come across.

    Racing dangers are there, but thats no different than any other competitive activity. Its all about personal responsibility. If Strava started pulling or limiting popular features that some folks use irresponsibly, a competitor would simply step in to fill the void.

  • StreakMTB

    I’m a big fan of Strava, and have seen Jeff (internet celebrity) on the site . Strava definitely spices up routine Silver Comet rides.

    There are more anti-social aspects of Strava beyond running people off the road while trying to set a PR.

    If I’m trying to set a time, I’ll tend to leave my girlfriend behind, or get angry that she is fumbling with the pedals instead of getting on with it.

    Having the GPS track you also alters your behavior. I’ll frequently leave my bike stationary and walk to the water fountain, so that it doesn’t register that I am “moving”, thereby skewing my average time.

    It definitely makes you go faster though, for better or worse. It’s shocking how fast some people are (although the segments aren’t always computed right).

    I wish they’d give you a list of all your times for a given segment – it’s not really a dedicated training program.

    • jeff

      Good points! I’ve definitely seen myself leaving the bike on the ground to keep my “moving time” up. 🙂

      I forgot to mention in my original post that a few folks have figured out how to alter GPS data to “cheat” on Strava. All the more reason not to take the KOMs so seriously.

    • mtbgreg1

      Also, there’s variance from GPS unit to GPS unit. I follow Jeremiah Bishop and a few other pros, and I remember seeing one of the GPS tracks from a race he did, and it put him 2nd behind another guy on Strava even though he won the race in real life. Interesting….

    • StreakMTB

      It’s definitely possible to cheat. I assume that they’ll eventually make you use their application to submit rides so that people can’t manually edit the files.

      Some edits are reasonably legitimate. An example is that on the main climb at Bear Creek, I accidentally went up the wrong fork, which then botched my ranking on the climb. I could edit the file to remove the inadvertent fork, and since I was still working (not resting) this seems ethically fine. In a place where you only get one shot at something, this might be worth it. On the other hand, the same methods are probably used by people to delete rests that they take on a 40 mile ride, or to just blatantly cheat and make their time much faster.

      That said, it would be hard to stop motopacing, drafting etc, although that is more relevant for road biking.

      Other interesting points:

      GPS will receive a big upgrade in 2014, making it significantly more accurate – 1meter vs 5meter of current accuracy. This will obviously impact the accuracy of GPS, and thus Strava speed/course data.

      Increasing numbers of phones and GPS devices have barometers, which assist with GPS lock and/or replace elevation info. This means much better elevation profiles, which should smooth out some of the “power” calculations and provide more accurate climbing data.

      To Greg’s point – Yes, there’s a lot of inter-device variability from device to device, and even for the same d- note how the tracks often deviate from the actual course you are on, so obviously they sometimes deviate “ahead” or “behind” where you are going.

      Jeff – Have you considered reviving the concept of GPS racing? You already have a database of “clean” GPS Trail Maps, which actually gives you a leg up on Strava. Their technology doesn’t even work that well for loops/out and backs, so the gap doesn’t seem insurmountable.

    • blades2000

      In the web based strava page you can see your times for each segment. Click on the segment then go to full leaderboard and adjust the drop downs to select only you. Don’t think that is possible on the app but it is on the web page.

  • dgaddis

    So how many of you who chase the KOM’s actually race in real life?

    I think it’s a neat tool, but some folks take it waaaaaay to seriously. In my opinion, it’s good for training, not virtual racing. If you want to race, do the real thing.

    • JSF

      Different strokes for different folks. So long as people are not riding dangerously/running people off the trails, I don’t see the harm in racing only on Strava.

      I’ve had to break off attempts late into a segment because of another biker or a hiker, and you just have to take it in stride.

      That said, Strava is what actually got me interested in racing XC, so that’s another aspect that makes it cool. I know I’m not the only one.

    • mtbgreg1

      It’s a lot cheaper than paying for race fees…

    • Milan Caban

      For me strava allows me to race uphill while not get killed downhill which would be required in real race. And of course it is more fun as you can return and race again other day and see your progress.

  • eamoore7

    Yep. Just checked and there are some Atl area secret trails listed on Strava.

  • Bubblehead10MM

    I’m just now hearing about Strava, and not sure I want to risk the addiction. I’ve used Cardio trainer to uplode stuff to my Facebook and Mytracks. I’ll have to give this some thought.

  • maddslacker

    I have tried a bunch of GPS tracking sites and finally settled on Strava. It hasn’t really changed how I ride, I just like having a place to accumulate and store data. It’s fun to be able to see how many miles I rode in a given month or on a specific bike. It’s also fun to ride the same trail with different bikes or gear setups and compare times for that. As for KOM, I know I’m the slowest, and I’m ok with it. 😀

    • mtbgreg1

      I love how you can graphically look at the year and the month and see how your rides and number of ride times compare. For instance, my number of hours on the bike in August was identical to that of March and April (23 hours)… weird. And of course, May, June, and especially July were way higher–50 hours in July!

  • fatlip11

    Oh god… guess I’ll have to be the old curmudgeon. That’s exactly the reason I ride… to get away from all of that. No electronics, no tracking, no gears… what can I say.
    I would like to know about those secret trails though. Hmmmmmm.

    • maddslacker

      That was me all last summer. I was into “just riding” no bike computer, no camera, and the phone only for an emergency.

    • mtbgreg1

      This is how I used to be… back before I got into Singletracks 😉

  • stillfat

    I’ve always been a bit of a Luddite when it comes to all things mountain biking, but I have to admit that I’ve really gotten hooked on Strava this year. Living in Denver, breaking into the top 10 let alone KOM can be pretty difficult given the competition around here. So far, my best effort has only yielded something like 40th out of 220 on one of the uglier metro area climbs. But, I love the personal challenges and the fact that I think it’s making me stronger. It also makes me look forward to riding some of the same old local trails that I’ve ridden a million times before.

  • stumpyfsr

    I use Strava to keep record of my rides. I’m not the fastest biker, not trying to race anybody except myself. Also, like others mentioned, neither my iPhone nor Garmin Oregon 450t provide me with accurate data. For example, today it showed the total distance 5 miles less, then cyclocomputer (total distance was 24.6miles). It works fine when rollerblading or hiking though. Maybe those Garmin Edge will do better but I’m not going to spend cash on it anyway.
    I agree, it’s addictive and makes me going faster. So, it does impact mountain biking too

    • JSF

      Just in case anyone else is wondering, the Garmin Edge (I have the 500 Red bundle with the HR monitor, speed sensor and cadence sensor) and it is far more accurate than the phone apps. One of my riding buddies who uses the Strava app is pretty consistently robbed of about 20% on miles, and up to 25% on elevation.

    • mtbgreg1

      I use a more accurate App (Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro) which allows me to upload my data to the web, download off of their website, and then I upload it to Strava.

    • maddslacker

      The app is only as accurate as the GPS chipset it is running on.

      The only difference is that some apps let you mark an actual trackpoint at specified times (I use 2 seconds) whereas some just post a “trend” line for lack of a better term.

    • maddslacker

      I agree, a dedicated GPS should be more accurate than a smartphone that does GPS on the side.

      That being said, the phone GPS chipsets have been getting a LOT better lately. Mine in my Blackberry even has WAAS capability for increased altitude accuracy.

    • FinnKid

      JSF, just curious what GPS system you are using now? Been looking at some of the Garmin options, and it’s interesting that the 500 and 510 are still fairly popular.
      thanks!

      Finn

  • DavidPeckjr

    I have not use Strava, (will today) but I do like Move! Bike Computer. I have been using that. Singletracks also has a training log. I feeling there is getting to many options here. I will just have to pick one. I would not want to ruin the ride because the one of my computers/phone was not working. I like the Life Cycles line, “it’s just circles turning circles”. I do not want to lose the freedom, or natural flow of things because I am wrapped around an axle worried about times. That being said, I can see where having the Strava also does give me an idea of how I would place in a race (mid pack at best). It would be nice to be able to break the times into ability class. A pro has ridden my local trail, and I cannot fathom getting even close to that time. Just a thought.

  • JSatch

    strava

    pros:
    1. you can be kom in more than your own mind
    2. beating your personal best is all the excuse you need to run people off trails, because they’ll understand that you’re ‘motivated’
    3. a great reason to go out and do some trail work. a sanitized trail is a fast trail.
    4. people will thank you for turning a once underground trail on to the rest of society, including officials finding out about and monitoring use of these ‘unofficial’ trails on their land parcels

    cons:
    1. you didn’t beat your personal best because:
    (a) the guys you ran off the trail were yelling such profanities that it drowned out the killer beats from your ipod and threw off your cadence,
    (b) the guys who built the hidden trail beat the piss out of you and your bike so you never finished your run, although the gps was safely fitted up your butt so you could find your way home, and / or
    (c) you got a summons from the officials who used your (or someone else’s) strava uploads for monitoring high density poaching
    2. you completely lost track of why you’re out there in the first place

    trails in my area have been ruined by sanitization for faster times. i’ve been run into the bushes by steely eyed rides not giving an inch. people are getting summonses on once hidden trails. you want to increase your workout, use your own personal info. mtn biking is (or was) it’s own app for fun. you need electronic verification, stay home and play video games. you want to laugh and have a great ride in nature, give me a call.

    btw- never enjoyed mtn biking as much as the day i took off mt cycle computer (ok, odometer) and just dug riding for riding.

  • jensliney

    If I ever encounter a rider failing to yield the trail while yelling “strava” I assure you that stravas*hole will soon be having one of the worst days of their pathetic ego-addled life.
    Nothing I have ever seen has done more damage to more trails as rapidly as strava has. I see no point in building new singletrack until this fad blows over and mountain bike riders go back to being people who care about the singletrack and the environment in which we ride more than they care about some bogus KOM or QOM title.
    Lots of us train hard and race hard and have been logging our mileage for years- since when do we need to share that with the rest of the world in order to feel like it matters? Oh- that’s right- on RACE DAY when we lay it all out on the line en masse with agreed upon rules in the appropriate setting. Strava is to racing what chat rooms are to relationships- nonsense.

  • Gronckle

    Most people seem to be complaining about the potential rudeness of those chasing KOMs. Its a problem for sure, but jerks will be jerks, with or without Strava.
    Ive seen others and myself run off trails by inconsiderate riders long before Strava came out, and I dont think that would stop if the program disappeared tomorrow.

    KOMs are really are just a minor part of the programs draw for me. For us slower folks, personal records are a great motivator, but the ease of use – tracking total miles/activities, finding new routes, automatically tracking you segments, and finding new friends are all more important to me than “race” times. Its a great accessory, but If you are riding only for Strava, you’re certainly missing the point of being out there in the first place.

    • mtbgreg1

      +1. Well said.

    • JSF

      +2. Zealots like jensliney are as bad as the Stravassoles.

      Everyone has a right to enjoy the trails as they see fit, so long as they are courteous to the other people out there and not damaging the trails. It shouldn’t be more complicated than that.

    • JSatch

      i think you should re-read jensliney’s post. a trail builder that has seen increased destruction/sanitization of his trails and the environment i don’t feel should be called a zealot. not only do i feel it incorrect and out of place here, but it does little to advance the conversation.

      if you don’t (yet) see less courteous behavior or more sanitization/damage to trails and environment, that is a valid opinion. however, jensliney and myself have seen an exponential shift. also valid opinions.

      i don’t know what areas either you or jensliney ride, and that may be a factor that should be considered.

    • JSF

      JSatch: I think the use of the term “zealot” was appropriate after reading the post in question. It was certainly not meant to be insulting.

      Zealot: “A person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.”

      Read his post again and tell me that definition doesn’t fit. I think people who show no desire to compromise and work through problems are not doing anyone who loves this sport any favors.

      Putting that aside, I am not excusing the sanitation of the trails. In fact, it angers me when I see it happen, too. I definitely see that as trail destruction, and I specifically mentioned that as something for which Strava users should be held accountable.

    • JSatch

      thank you for your clarification JSF.

      i just would like to emphasize we are all on the same page in our passion of mtn biking and share the same trails. i’ll mark up jensliney’s comments as angry and passionate, as i am too about this issue. perhaps it was my misunderstanding of zealot used in a more partisan nature, but may not have been meant in that vain.

      as has been mentioned strava can be an addictive and fun tool for both enjoyment and training. and you rightly mentioned it can also have less favorable side that the strava users should be held accountable for. as mtbgreg1 also mentions video/youtube can also impart a negative impact factor in exposing trails.

      commonsense would dictate not to use strava on other than sanctioned trails, and not to post youtube videos with the actual names of these trails. the impacts for not taking these simple precautions are obvious. but how to hold these users accountable and temper these negative issues i think is a cause of some frustration, at least for me.

    • JSatch

      although i agree with what you stated, unfortunately it is not that simple.

      jerks will be jerks- true, but the new kom determination runs people off the trails far more than pre-strava in my and others experiences. used to be both parties would yield and nearly argue who to go first. yes, an occasional jerk, usually someone who is a newbie not understanding the courtesy riders afford each other. but now it’s the spandex army guys on the gram counting, expensive bikes that run you over, not the newbies in t-shirts. but that i can deal with. in addition, as mentioned above, there are sanctioned events to properly race. virtual racing is not the same. bs some may more appropriately call it.

      tracking miles, etc: definitely a good and fun aspect of strava. so long as you use it only for legal, known trails. but even her, therein lies the rub, and only part of it.

      ‘hidden’ trails: perhaps you are more fortunate than us here in san diego where multiple land managers, parcels, gov’t bureaucracy, and other factors make it extraordinarily difficult to attain trails, whereas losing them occurs without issue. thus, most of the trails here are hidden, so to speak, on unused, vacant parcels. as anyone who has built trials knows, this can take some time and effort. having your trail go public due to strava is heart-wrenching. two of my favorite spots are now being monitored by the officials who are awarding those out for a ride in nature with very expensive summonses. thank you very much. of course you should not use strava on such trails. unfortunately people still do. and officials can readily monitor usage while sitting at their computer.

      sanitization: whether you ride on a legal or less than legal trials, there are obstacles that make trails challenging and interesting. it gives them personality. these sections are also useful to improve your riding abilities. due to strava trails have been sanitized for speed. for example, corners cut, rocks raked to the side, roots and larger rocks removed, natural drops cut down, until yes, you have the equivalent to a skinny fireroad. great fun. might as well ride the asphalt at the park. but a far more crucial aspect to sanitization is that it does away with the natural barriers of erosion. sections become guttered and unridable unless tended to. unfortunately those who build/repair are not those who sanitize. the builders know better.

      the advantages of strava are pretty cool. but from what i’ve seen here personally, the disadvantages are on a very different scale. prior to strava i used to check mileage, time, heart-rate, and altitude gained/lost. the day i got a new(er) bike i left off the odometer/time computer, started hitting more challenging trails and never looked back. i’m never in a hurry to get up a hill anymore. i stop more often just to enjoy the surrounding or a chat with my friends or son. i play around with features because i have the time to do so. i enjoy and appreciate riding for riding so much more and laugh a lot more too. i’m hopeful this fad will end before the trails do.

  • ecwashere7

    I’ve been using Motion-X on my iPhone for the last couple years and love it. Has anyone used both? Any comparisons? I’m not really interested in “virtual racing.” I just like checking out my stats each time I ride, so I can improve my pace, etc…

  • MTI

    I just got my GPS. I am using Garmin Connect now and will try Strava in the near future I am sure. I have not done any of the virtual racing yet…I would not win but I do love analyzing my rides. What used to just be another ride has turned into interesting stats. It adds another dimension into the sport.

  • pedaljunky

    I like strava and it has made me a more solid rider in the short year I can boast experience. I like to see my effort recognized and compared for all to see. Good tool when used as such.

  • scoobycarolan

    Thank you. Strava has ruined me. There’s no such thing as a leisurely ride anymore as I’ve broken 40 acres of land around me into segments and I MUST GO FASTER!

  • thrillafrommanila479

    Strava has increased my fitness by leaps and bounds. I love having a virtual trainer. After every ride my biggest fulfillment from riding is seeing where I end up on the leader board. Obsessed, maybe a little but it’s all about moderation. I have to ignore my strava for a few days or else I find myself trying to ride at every free moment and then the other responsibilities of life get neglected. My neighbors dont care much for foot tall grass in the front yard! Ride on!

  • Matthew Aires

    So I have started using Strava and love the app. It does everything people have mentioned it does for helping you to improve. I am not trying to be first on any trails. I do like to set goals that are more like… ok lets get into the top 25 or shave a minute off your PR. (Thats how much I have to improve.)

    I think a more casual atmosphere needs to somehow coexist. If I am riding and the trails are busy I am not trying to break a record. Save that for when I get off work early on a weekday 🙂

  • Luis Hernandez

    Being competitive by nature, I took to strava like a fish to water. Not the fastest by any means but this app helps to push you farther. Competition unfortunately though brings out not only the best but the worst in some! I think if used responsibly, it can serve a great purpose.

  • Tony Pietersma

    Hiya
    Our household has 3 riders, all on Strava, but 2 ride with phones and 1 with garmin.
    We have noticed that when we ride together, the 3 riders’ Strava data can be quite different.
    The main differences that we find are:
    – garmin tends to not record some segments, especially when riding on trails that are amongst tall trees and steep walls etc.
    – the garmin does appear to give fast times, particularly on segments that loop close to the segment finish point, this becomes apparent especially when your riding buddy that started and finished the segment within metres of each other goes and times a segment 30 seconds faster….

    Lately we have noticed snobbery between the garmin folks and the phone app riders.
    In all of our garmin vs phone discussions within our 3 device household, the consensus has settled on a belief that both devices have issues and each also has good points.

    I now ride with phone app via a Samsung S7 and find the gps to be super strong and accurate, as a test you could try and start a garmin while still in your shed (my garmin cannot gain satellite signal in my shed, yet my phone does gain signal in the shed) this is a simple illustration of why a garmin ride can give straight lines on the map or record segments that you didn’t even ride.

    Strava is the only social media that I use regularly and it has changed my life.
    I’m excited about rides, I love the data and in particular I enjoy the friendly competition and new friends gained. But more importantly it is part of a positive lifestyle that has made me, my wife (hubby is not chubby?) and my doctor happy.

    Would I still ride if Strava disappeared? You bet…..
    Would I get as much joy from riding? Probably not.

  • praha

    Strava from a diferent perspective.Everybody here loves it. It is addicted. Improves your skill….etc.etc.etc . I , and many I know, do not need strava to be in petfect shape, slim and have a light bike. We have a common sense.We are confident people, who do not need to beat a fellow cyklists questionable time. I, or we,challenge ourselves and it works. I ,long before strava ,always raced sgainst my best time on any local trail. Always.We go to the gym, do othersports , eat well…..if strava is causing some morons to get injured or killed, its called surviving the fittest. I am all for it. Otherwise, enjoy you strava .

  • williedillon

    I enjoy using it, but if I ever hear someone yell out “Strava!” on the trail I think I’ll quit the sport.

    No, not really, haha, but that would just kill me inside. It’s fun to see statistics on your riding and how you compare to others. It’s scary to think some places have an issue with the speeds they see in the data, but I don’t that’s too widespread and hopefully it won’t become widespread.

    • brett.williams

      I use and enjoy Strava. I’m mostly interested in my own data, but the social aspects are good too. It’s the only social media I actually use.

      But if yelling out “Strava” is a thing that’s appalling. Granted, I almost always ride early in northern Colorado. This means no crowds, and the general (if irrational) feeling that every other rider out there is my bestie (seriously, almost no negative experiences).

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