Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Strava Struggles and Stats

Becky Jo (Columnist) by on February 4th, 2020 at 9:59 am

north portland bike ride

Data is fun.

A couple summers ago, our family would go on big bike outings down and around the Smith & Bybee Wetlands area (it’s fun, you should try it!). My tweens and husbeast would go speeding up ahead of me, while I struggled behind, pulling the hard-bottom Burley trailer, our picnic stuff, and our kindergartner. It was easily over a hundred pounds.

I’d get home afterwards and my husbeast and I would compare notes and it would just irk me that Strava recorded me having a leisurely bike ride with minimal effort while it recorded him, half as sweaty, as having a vigorous one. I looked all over the app trying to find a way to change some sort of effort or cargo-pulling settings, but there was no such thing.

I have no plans on going pro. I realize I am privileged to say I don’t diet or track much of anything health-related in any earnest effort, but data sure is fun. Why is it that just because the data is there to observe, we need it? Or we need it to be correct? It’s not like I was going to change anything in my life if the data was accurate. I just wanted my little gold star, dammit
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Springwater path is one of Strava’s top ten segments in the U.S.

Avatar by on December 19th, 2017 at 11:18 am

BTA New Year's Day Ride-13

Riders on the Springwater at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge during the The Street Trust’s New Year’s Day ride in 2010.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s most iconic paths has made it on the list of Strava’s all-time busiest bikeways. Referred to as “segments” by the popular ride-logging app, a 1.6 mile section of the Springwater Corridor between the Ross Island Bridge and Oaks Bottom Park in Westmoreland has been ridden 144,392 times by 11,878 people (as of this morning).
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ODOT embarks on “big data” project with purchase of Strava dataset

Avatar by on May 1st, 2014 at 11:32 am

A valuable bicycle planning and policymaking tool?

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is the first state transportation agency in the United States to ink a deal with Strava, a leading website and smartphone app used by people to track their bike rides via GPS.

Last fall, the agency paid $20,000 for one-year license of a dataset that includes the activities of about 17,700 riders and 400,000 individual bicycle trips totaling 5 million BMT (bicycle miles traveled) logged on Strava in 2013. The Strava bike “traces” are mapped to OpenStreetMap.

If all goes according to plan, the data could revolutionize how ODOT makes decisions about their policies, plans, and projects. At the very least, forging boldly into the realm of “big data” and pushing the boundaries of bicycle planning marks an important step for an agency that’s facing a very different future and actively looking to shed its old-school, highway-first reputation.[Read more…]

A closer look at Strava’s ‘heat map’ for the Portland region

Avatar by on April 30th, 2014 at 10:44 am

The Strava heat map: What secrets does it hold?

A map showing where users of Strava ride has become a web sensation in the past few days. And it’s easy to see why. The Strava Labs Global Heatmap is an amazing visual resource that shows the route of well over 77 million rides. We decided to take a closer look at the map to see what interesting nuggets it revealed about the Portland region.

But before we do that, it’s worth making a huge note of caution about how this map should be interpreted. Keep in mind that — despite many media outlets claiming it shows “where cyclists ride” — it actually only shows where people who use Strava ride. Because of that it captures only a tiny subset of a city’s overall riding activity. The vast majority of everyday riders don’t even know about Strava. It tends to only be used by more serious riders as a training and route-finding aid. That being said, it’s still a lot of data and it’s still pretty neat to ponder…[Read more…]