Are We Condemned to Strava?

rdowns

Well-Known Member
My ”system“ is to set my Apple Watch (series 4) bicycle workout and compare its gps distance with my Allant’s Purion mileage or even what the trail map says. So far they are very close to one another. The watch/iPhone maps the route as close I’ll ever need, gives me splits, elevation gain, average mph, heart rate, time of ride, yada, yada. If I was like some and was just trekking out in the wild, I might consider a more accurate system.
My garmin forerunner is also very accurate. Just strava is inconsistent for me.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
You guys are so hardwired into this online or app based interactive sports tracking. It's called tracking for many financial reasons.

Just know your range , have a small bike computer and go either : South/North/West/east.
Know where you like to ride: natural areas, urban rides. Them go for it. Know the weather, carry your phone:

And then ride back, not same route or however you feel. Or mix it with a train ride to go further .

Nobody really cares about the Strava points or whatever digital trophys🏅
I am militantly non-competitive but find ridewithgps a useful tool for a number of reasons:
  1. It is one more useful tool for planning bike tours. You can either generate a cue sheet or do turn-by-turn directions on your phone, which more or less works okay, even without cell service.
  2. It is a fairly useful tool for letting you estimate how long a given ride will take. Which can get complex if you have a complicated ride with a lot of elevation gain and loss and varying road quality.
  3. Knowing how much you ride in a month and how long can let you pre-order things like tires and sometimes chains that have a long wait time right now.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I am militantly non-competitive but find ridewithgps a useful tool for a number of reasons:
  1. It is one more useful tool for planning bike tours. You can either generate a cue sheet or do turn-by-turn directions on your phone, which more or less works okay, even without cell service.
  2. It is a fairly useful tool for letting you estimate how long a given ride will take. Which can get complex if you have a complicated ride with a lot of elevation gain and loss and varying road quality.
  3. Knowing how much you ride in a month and how long can let you pre-order things like tires and sometimes chains that have a long wait time right now.
I not only agree with that but might add other points.

Ride Planning
For any enthusiast e-biker, route planning is the first thing to do before any longer trip. We need to know both the planned ride distance and elevation gain to estimate the battery range; it also helps deciding whether taking a spare battery would be necessary. With mountain (or hill) riding, it is also necessary to know what the most significant inclines could be met on the ride (I know I need to take my Trance E+ for the ride whenever maximum grade is > 13.5%). Good bike route-planners will help you select adequate route for your bike type (road-bike vs MTB) as well. A good bike route planner will display available bike paths, trails, and single-tracks. It is nice that it is possible to plan alternative routes, even to learn our neighbourhood better. Of course, if somebody rides out for the same 10 miles everyday, route planning is not necessary. With trips over 25 miles, route-planning becomes a necessity.

A good route planner will even inform you on the temperature, raining, and wind direction/speed for given route on given future day and time! How one could ride out for a long trip without such knowledge!

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A route plan for the trip in the area I had never been to before with a bike. Mapy.cz app & site (that work in English worldwide) told me the trip would be 82.5 km (50+ miles) long with 1510 m (ca. 5000 ft) elevation gain, and informed me on expected weather conditions for the ride. RideWithGPS would also tell you about the maximum expected incline of 13.5%.

Turn-by-turn Directions (GPS Navigation)

If you use GPS navigation in your car, what could I tell you more on similar GPS feature? A good app will even tell you where to switch from one bike path to another! If, for any reason, a given route segment cannot be ridden, the app will find alternate route for you on the spot. (Ever lost in the forest?) It is vital that your app can download offline maps prior to the ride. Otherwise you might get in trouble when the network coverage has been lost.

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An exciting and dreadful adventure of last Summer. I and my gf were returning from her Grandma to our hotel in Polish wilderness at night. Good we had high-power headlights on our e-bikes as it was totally dark! I misinterpreted the GPS navigation directions and we went deep into a forest. No slightest chance to make a shortcut to the hotel; not at night in that wild area. We survived thanks to my girlfriend's common sense: She suggested to go back to the junction with the railway and then we could find the right way out. There was as many as 4 km of "washboard" gravel to be ridden through. Ewa was moaning "Are we there yet?" -- to which I was replying "Three thousand six hundred... Two thousand two hundred... Eight hundred metres..." :D

Tracking & Recording; Post-Ride Analysis

It is so nice to know how far, how long and when we have been riding. It means memories, and we also can see how we're improving with time. It is a big motivational incentive to ride our farther, for longer time, and more frequently as well as discover our own limitations. That's why apps such as Strava have been made. I wouldn't assign any conspiracy theory to it (you are not that important @Ebiker01, you know) ;-)

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My current year summary (Strava).

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My best achievements (all have been ridden in 2020). (Strava has stripped some km compared to the Endomondo originals).
 
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minigrrl

Member
You guys are so hardwired into this online or app based interactive sports tracking. It's called tracking for many financial reasons.

Just know your range , have a small bike computer and go either : South/North/West/east.
Know where you like to ride: natural areas, urban rides. Them go for it. Know the weather, carry your phone:

And then ride back, not same route or however you feel. Or mix it with a train ride to go further .

Nobody really cares about the Strava points or whatever digital trophys🏅
I actually love all the data. I've had heart rate monitor watches from the very beginning and as soon as you could save that data and not just see it on the watch, I was in. It's my thing, tracking and analysing etc. I have a math degree, I'm a coder/information analyst, and it's just what makes me happy. Any new gadget that makes that tracking better/easier and I'm in! Yes, they can see me coming (and track me and my credit card all the way there) but I'm fully aware and I can afford to spend the money. So why not?! :)
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Regard the "tracking". One day, my wife (sadly late now) went on a long walk with our daughter (on a wheel-chair). Sheila was excited about Endomondo. For instance, when I was on my traditional bike rides, she could determine whether I was safe, and when she could expect me back at home. So, on that specific day, Sheila turned her Endomondo on and they went on a walk with Magda. On their return way, I tracked where Sheila was, jumped on my bike and met her and daughter where Endomondo showed. What a nice surprise! We walked together home. Sheila was amused and happy...
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
I would not characterize myself as a Strava fan, but it does work for most of what I want and that's basically keeping a record of what I've done.

It's certainly not perfect, but those few friends I have that are cyclists use it, so it's an easy decision. As a Giant owner, I'd hoped that their new App would be more useful and that I could export to Strava, but alas, so far, that hasn't worked yet. Neither has their implementation on the Samsung watch I have, but in both cases, it appears that it's the other guys, not Strava that are the problem.

I have been paying the monthly fees, but my subscription will expire at the end of the week. I'll have a good look at what features I lose, and then give some thought as what I'll do in the spring. We get real winter here, and although there'll be the occasional chance to go for a spin, I don't intend to pay a monthly fee over our winter period.

Next spring, after a winters research, I'll decide on next steps, as I do plan to do a lot more travel related trail riding. I currently do not use the route planning features as I usually just go where the spirit moves me when on the local urban parks. And when riding local pathways, I generally know where I am anyways,

Lastly - for me, it's not about any competitions. I keep that type of stuff for the golf course.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
BLEvo: The Dangerous Tool for Jealous Wives :)

Have you used the Strava Beacon? The tool that lets your trusted contacts see where you are and watch your ride? It really works. First I send a text message to my girlfriend Ewa and my friend @Jerzy Bańkowski, then copy the Beacon link to my trusted Facebook friends. Jerzy was excited to track my latest ride after I said good-byes with him, and those were his live comments on Facebook:

-- You rode through the lawn! Bad boy!
-- In several seconds, you'll reach a spot good for making a toilet :D
-- You were lucky to reach the green light at that junction!
-- I think he'd visit Monika Jaruzelski (the daughter of the late Poland's dictator) -- What a pity! He missed seeing her!
-- Ride on! Climb that hill!
-- I think he would visit our mutual friend in Okęcie... -- No, I was wrong, he rode in the direction of Piaseczno!
-- He's having another cigarette at Poleczki Street!
-- 16:00 hours. Time to get some grub at the gas station.
-- Do you have some post-ride beer at home? You deserved that! Nice that loop of yours!
:D

Yet, the BLEvo app, the Italian application for Specialized Turbo e-bikes turned out to be even more dangerous for unfaithful hubbies!

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-- I spent almost 20 minutes talking with Jerzy by phone at Mokotów Fields
-- Replacing gloves at Batory Street took me more than 3 minutes (Most suspicious! How can you replace gloves for three minutes?!)
-- I had had a cigarette for 7 minutes just 800 metres before I visited Jerzy (and he had been waiting for me at his gate!)
-- I spent one hour and eight minutes at Jerzy's place
-- I was connecting the powerbank to my phone and reading Facebook for 11 minutes at Poleczki Street
-- I bought and ate a hot-dog in Sokołów; that took me 8 minutes only :)

Now, I'm a faithful man now. My gf has nothing to worry. What if I were unfaithful? Nowhere to hide! :D
 
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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
I not only agree with that but might add other points.

Ride Planning
For any enthusiast e-biker, route planning is the first thing to do before any longer trip. We need to know both the planned ride distance and elevation gain to estimate the battery range; it also helps deciding whether taking a spare battery would be necessary. With mountain (or hill) riding, it is also necessary to know what the most significant inclines could be met on the ride (I know I need to take my Trance E+ for the ride whenever maximum grade is > 13.5%). Good bike route-planners will help you select adequate route for your bike type (road-bike vs MTB) as well. A good bike route planner will display available bike paths, trails, and single-tracks. It is nice that it is possible to plan alternative routes, even to learn our neighbourhood better. Of course, if somebody rides out for the same 10 miles everyday, route planning is not necessary. With trips over 25 miles, route-planning becomes a necessity.

A good route planner will even inform you on the temperature, raining, and wind direction/speed for given route on given future day and time! How one could ride out for a long trip without such knowledge!

Actually I use kind of a multi-tiered system for long-distance bike tours.

I usually start with guidebooks, online fora, and some youtube videos for inspiration. Then I start exploring with Google Maps. While Google Maps isn't the greatest tool for route planning, it is great for making rough evaluations of what a day's ride would be like: you can pretty quickly see how far it is between towns and how much elevation gain and loss, from satellite images and Street View you can get a rough gauge of how busy a road is and how good or bad the shoulder you are riding on might be. The bicycle option does a good but not great job of finding suitable cycling routes.

With Google Maps you can also size up pretty effectively where you might stay: if you are overnighting you can get a good idea of what lodging or camping is available at your destination, and also subtle things like is that lodging or camping convenient to a store or restaurant? A lot of American towns can be literally miles long and one block wide, and if all of the hotels are at one end of town and the grocery stores and Starbuck's are at the other end of town that isn't a great situation. If I am camping I personally like to grab groceries for dinner, breakfast, and possibly the next day's lunch late in the day and carry them to camp, rather than haul around a pantry all the time: better to live off the land.

To some extent I also use Google Maps to explore alternate routes: more interesting and less traveled roads, trails, and side trips.

Then the real research begins. I start making phone calls, asking questions online, and in some cases even sending a few emails. Mostly to get details about whether (e.g.) The Spruce Railroad Trail or the Willapa Hills trail is *really* open, or if a particular country store, campground, or hotel is open and if they are cyclist friendly.

At that point I can actually start planning day-to-day rides. Usually I don't plan out the whole trip, but perhaps the first couple of days. You should always plan your trip but always plan to ditch your plan, so overplanning isn't productive. I will regroup someplace with good internet and do detailed plans with rwgps every few days.
I would expect for a two week trip that it is reasonable to spend two days on planning and research.

There are things you can't really plan for, and just need to figure out. As an example, the San Juan Islands in Washington, USA are a popular cycling destination and actually are pretty well-set-up for the bike tourist. But there are some foibles that need to be worked out: while there is some pleasant and scenic camping, much of the camping doesn't have outlets available to charge your e-bike. And most of that camping is several miles from any store or town. Much of the lodging is very expensive. Worse, most lodging doesn't permit bicycles in their rooms, and there often aren't good options for securely parking your bike. And very few places have laundry. Figuring that stuff out from maps and guidebooks is tough.

One technique (well, I'm being generous calling it a technique) is what I call "Expedia Travel". I use the Expedia App on my phone not so much to make reservations but as a gauge of availability of lodging. If lots of hotels are open and lots of rooms are available I don't book a reservation, I just ride. That way if I arrive at my planned destination for the day with a few more miles in me, I'm not committed to staying there and can continue onwards.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Inconsistency Between RideWithGPS and Strava (elevation gain)

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RideWithGPS. The Elevation Gain makes neither head or tail. Also after converting the figure of 51419 from feet to metres.

1609527929216.png

Strava makes more sense.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Yes, You Can "Cheat" On Strava (If You Must)

I was actually infuriated in November last year with the Strava policy "Only valid GPS data count in the ride metrics". Although it is an anti-cheat feature (cyclists, especially roadies love to compete on Strava), I lost not a small number of kilometres ridden on the conversion from (now defunct) Endomondo and Strava. Here's why:

If you manually Paused your ride recording in Endomondo, and forgot to restart the recording, Endomondo (of course) had no GPX data for the "paused" segment. However, the app also stored a JSON file (one with metadata). If you knew better what your actual ridden distance and moving time were, you could update Endomondo stats; that would, however, not work on Strava GPX import.

On July 19th, 2020, I was on the most important ride of my e-biking history: Riding my first 75-miler. Although the recorded GPX actually read 75 miles, I actually rode 122.7 km, which is more than 75 mi. Of course, Strava deprived me of two kilometres... (The display in my EU Speed Vado 5.0 is extremely precise, when the certified & properly inflated tyres are used).

Now, I have been able to fix a GPX file to import the true history of my longest ride (it requires a subscription of Strava for the Split and Route Planning features). Steps:
  1. Open the incorrectly recorded Activity in Strava. Inspect the ride map in detail. If the ride has been paused but not restarted, there will be a straight line between points A and B, not leading through any roads. Export a GPX file for that ride for backup.
  2. Edit the Activity. If it was stored as "E-Bike Ride", you need to change the type to "Ride". Set the Privacy Control to "Only You".
  3. Use the Split into 3 Segments feature of paid Strava. Using the sliders, identify the wrongly recorded ride segment and do the Split. It will create 3 Activities.
  4. Delete the wrong Activity. Rename the first Activity to "Segment 1" and the last to "Segment 3".
  5. Open the Segment 1.GPX in Notepad. Copy the Latitude and Longitude figures for the last track point. Make them read latitude,longitude in another Notepad window.
  6. Follow the actions from point (5) above for the first trackpoint of Segment 3.GPX. Now, you have two coordinate sets for your missing ride segment: the begining and the end.
  7. Use Route Planning feature of paid Strava to make a route from A to B going over roads you have ridden on the Segment 2. Export a GPX file for that route. Rename to Segment 2.GPX
  8. Delete Activities Segment 1 & Segment 3 from Strava.
  9. Open the Segment 1.GPX, Segment 2.GPX and Segment 3.GPX files in separate Notepad windows.
  10. Go to Segment 2. Highlight and copy to Clipboard everything between the first <trkpt> and the last </trkpt> tags
  11. Go to Segment 1. Identify the last </trkpt> line and enter and empty row before the </trkseg> tag. Paste the contents of Clipboard there
  12. Repeat the actions to insert the track point data from Segment 3 between the last </trkpt> and the </trkseg>
  13. Set the file type to "All Files" and save the contents of Segment 1.GPX as My Full Corrected Ride.GPX
  14. Import the file to Strava. Change the Activity Type to E-Bike Ride and give the activity a meaningful name.
Here's how it worked for me:
1611665033627.png

Correct distance. There's discrepancy of just 170 metres with my display data (very high accuracy!)

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Corrected ride segment.

1611665415874.png

Original wrongly recorded ride segment (worth 2 km). It is a straight line not leading through any roads.