Strava again

December 16, 2017 at 19:25 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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So with my new commute, I fired up Strava again, as I was curious about my new rote to work. After about ten minutes trying to remember my password, I managed to log in, and used it to record my journey to work for the first week or two.

So I now know my journey is fourteen kilometres, and quite flat. I have to say, Strava can get a bit addictive. For a while there, I was scrolling after each ride, revelling in the awards and personal bests. I even got a teeny bit competitive about one stretch, pushing harder and harder to try to get on the leaderboard. Which I managed to do – apparently I’m the 8th fastest to ride that stretch. I can only think it’s not a very popular bit of path, because mostly I languish around the ‘489 of 859’ mark…

However, after a while I realised it gets harder and harder. As you do more and more rides, the chances of getting a personal best get less and less. That little ‘Achievements’ icon becomes harder and harder to activate. And most segments are so ridiculously short that it has more to do with traffic lights and wind direction than it does to do with fitness. So, as the number of little award icons started getting less and less, I pretty much stopper using it again.

Oh well. In a few years perhaps I’ll have a new job, and can do it all over again.

 

PS – thanks to those people who gave me kudos. I’m not sure why, or who you are, or even what it is, but I felt a warm glow seeing it…

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Strava

January 5, 2013 at 11:59 | Posted in bicycles | 3 Comments
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So I put Strava on my phone. Strava, for those not acquainted with it, is an app which tracks your route, how fast you go, how long you take and so on. And then the really evil bit – it compares how fast you ride each ‘segment’ with other riders who have followed the same route (or bits of the route). If you are fast enough, you get an award, a place on the leader-board and a ‘King of the Mountain’ (KoM) badge. This has also sparked some controversy, as it may encourage people to ride too fast or take risks in order to improve their score. Given the somewhat competitive nature of Australian commuter cyclists (something from which I am not immune) I’d say this is pretty much inevitable. Still, I thought I’d give it a go, as being able to measure the distance and speed of different routes to work seemed interesting.

So far, I have used it twice. The first time I was riding the Radish, the second my fixie. So what interesting things can we glean from this experiment?

strava1

Well, on the Radish my average speed was 17.6km/h, whilst on the fixie it was 24.2km/h. This means it took me an extra six minutes to get to work (even though it was a slightly shorter route). However, it takes me about 10 minutes to have a shower, and on the Radish I can ride to work in my regular clothes – which confirms my suspicions that a slow, cruisy ride on the Radish actually gets me to work (as in ‘at my desk’) quicker than the fixie.

strava2

Here’s the speed graph for the two rides – Radish on the left, fixie on the right. Bizarrely, I hit a faster speed on the Radish – and rather near the end of the ride. I wonder where it was? I used the route map function to work out where I managed to crank a cargo bike up to 50km/h in the CBD, and it was here:

strava3

I don’t remember making that detour from the Kent St bike lane, but there you are. From memory there’s a cupcake shop on that corner with Erskine St, so if you were in there buying a dozen mini frosted cupcakes when a guy on a cargo bike came hurtling through the display at 50km/h, please accept my sincerest apologies.

I can also use Strava to find out how I compare to other Sydney racers commuters.

strava_anzac

Apparently I am the six-hundred-and-fifty-first fastest person to ride over Anzac Bridge – and am about 25 seconds faster on the fixie than on the Radish. I’ve no idea when time of day David Evans screams over at 40km/h, (nor what kind of legs he has), but I can only hope either it’s at three in the morning when there are no pedestrians on the path or he’s riding on the road.

Apparently if you pay for a premium Strava subscription, you can see different leaderboards for different categories. So for example I could feel good about the fact I am actually the fiftieth fastest in the ‘old curmudgeons riding cargo bikes in thongs’ category, or tenth fastest in the ‘obsessed with fixies but have very weak legs’ category. It costs $6 a month for such ego-boosting features.

So there you are – my experiences with Strava. So far I’ve only used it those two times, and to be honest, I probably won’t use it often. Whilst I tried to resist I was not immune to the temptation to push a little harder (well, on the fixie at least. On the Radish I just cruised along as usual), and whilst that’s be fine in some circumstances and on some routes, I can’t help feeling Anzac Bridge at rush hour isn’t one of them. Still, if you love Strava and it helps you train more often and harder good luck to you. I can see how it could be motivational. Just be careful out there, and remember beating your personal best on some phone app is less important that the comfort and safety of both yourself and other road and path users.

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