Yesterday The Sunday Times newspaper (UK) had an article on page 5 of the main section entitled “40mph city cyclists defy speed limits” (in the paper) “City cyclists turn roads into racetracks” (on the website) written by Nicholas Hellen and Georgia Graham which repeatedly refers to a Segment in London where the average speed of the fastest riders is 41 mph. I was contacted by Georgia last Thursday and spoke at length to Nicholas about Strava and how it works and particularly about how you can’t trust the timings (and hence speed) of short segments. But from the beginning of the conversation it was very clear what their angle was going to be and basically wanted me (or someone) to be able to quote saying that Strava encourages me to break the law (speeding (which I pointed out to him isn’t actually breaking the law) and jumping red lights) in built up areas. It doesn’t and I don’t. In this post I’ll do my best to explain why that 41 mph should actually be more like 31 mph.
Holme Moss is a bit of a classic around these parts, particularly because it usually requires a fairly long loop and another major climb to get back home again, but also because it is one of the highest roads in the area and at 524m will be the
highest 2nd highest (Buttertubs Pass is 526m!) point visited by the 2014 Tour de France during its stay in England. Never ridiculously steep, the climb puts its efforts into psyching you out by laying out the snaking finale in front of you with the majority of the climb still remaining. The Mont Ventoux’esque transmitter tower that sits at the summit of the climb is so unmistakably apparent it is impossible ignore what’s in store.
Two very neat additions have been added to the Segment Details and Ride Details‘ maps: the option to go full screen and the option to overlay photos from Panoramio. Now your maps can go HUGE while you review your rides and check out everyone else’s pictures to see what you missed along the route, saves having to stop and take any yourself doesn’t it!
The Buttertubs Pass from Hawes in North Yorkshire will be one of the first climbs taken in by the 2014 Tour de France in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. I’m not going to attempt to regale you with tales of my epic ascent of the climb as I can only remember about 25 metres of it (and I don’t think I’ve ever regaled anything very well) so I’ll stick to what I know and provide the cold, hard stats!
Photo: Kreuzschnabel/Wikimedia Commons, License
The gradient profile is one of the coolest features on VeloViewer giving your own rides that Pro Tour feel. But did you know that the wider your browser window the more detailed the profile will become?
Segment on the right is Yorkshire’s Fleet Moss, one of the UK’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs and is as painful as it looks. 2014 Tour de France will go past the foot of this climb but unfortunately will be taking the much less dramatic climb to the north of Hawes.
So what type of segments do you tend to ride? OK, this isn’t really going to tell you that perfectly but it might give you some indication. As you can see the segments around here in Sheffield tend to be either climbs or descents, but that’s why I live here! Check out your own Strava segment word cloud on your new Word Cloud page. Update: Now has Ride option too!
Velo Flow allows you to view and interact with animated Strava rides. Getting started with Velo Flow can be a little confusing but the video below walks you through how to do it step by step. The second video shows you some of the hidden features in Velo Flow explaining how to highlight multiple riders and more.
In order to populate the data for this column you must press the “Check for new segments” button on the Update page. Until then you will just see a list of question marks.
You will also see the number of tries in the History tab header on the Segment Details page.
If you are new to VeloViewer or just want to know a bit more about Update page then this is the page for you. Basically you can’t go far wrong following your nose but read on for more detailed instructions.
First off, make sure you bookmark your update page (or one of your other pages) so you can easily return to your data without having to go back to Strava to re-find your ID.
Getting your rides on the site
“Why can’t I just upload them all in one go?” you may well ask…
- Because you’ll completely hammer my server and in turn Strava’s server. Batching spreads this load a little.
- Because some areas with very high numbers of segments per ride (>50) result in a large number of requests for data as all segment information is also pulled down from Strava. Once a segment is logged from one of your rides then it’s details aren’t pulled down again which is why your later batches are added faster than the first. There’s much more processing required than just getting the rides themselves.
A combination of the number of new segments covered by the next batch of rides along with your internet speed and also your browser speed combine to limit how many rides you can transfer at a time. If you encounter errors then try a smaller batch size. Might be painful if you are lucky enough to do a lot of riding but once the data is there then you won’t have to do it en masse again.
After the initial data transfer all your rides and segment info will be available for you with up-to-date placings for all of your segments. Click your Summary tab for an overview of all your Strava data or the Segments tab for the sortable list of all the segments you’ve ever ridden. Next step, if you’re keen, will be to start sorting out your inevitable list of segments with bad elevation or distance data..
When you add new rides to Strava then you’ll need to return to this page and transfer those new rides using these same buttons, they will not be transferred across automatically.
New rides, new segments and changes to your segment placings will all be shown in the history section below the buttons.
Keeping your placings up-to-date
The placings for your segments on VeloViewer will not be updated automatically, whenever you feel like depressing yourself you will need to come to the update page and check your placings. You might be lucky enough to find yourself moving up the leaderboard on a few segments (other riders removing their rides or having their rides flagged for whatever reason) but in the main you’ll be on an overwhelming downward plunge.
After your initial data transfer then all you placings will be up-to-date (rather than the placing at time of upload that you see in Strava for any of your rides).
A couple of options for updating your placings for the segments on which you have top 50 placings:
- 1-50 : if you haven’t got a huge number of segments in this bracket then you’ll probably be ok using this.
- 1-10, 11-25 & 26-50 : for those of you lucky enough to have lots of segments with top 50 placings then sometimes the 1-50 option just times out as there are too many values to check. If so then work your way through these 3 buttons instead.
“Why is there not a single button to check all placings?” – see point 2 above. Maybe in the future but not for the time being.
I tend to update my placings once a week, there’s only so much bad news I can take.
Check for new segments
This is still my favourite button! Pressing this button will go through all your rides and look to see if anyone has added any new segments since you last checked (or when you transferred your ride to VeloViewer) that have been already covered by any of your rides. You may suddenly find yourself a few KOM’s that you never knew you had without having to lift a finger… well… you might need to lift your finger to press the button but that’s it!
This also picks up any segments you have added in Strava since transferring your rides to VeloViewer.
I tend to check this once a week as well, particularly if I need a little ego boost after being moved to tears while updating my placings.
Any new segments, along with your current placings, will be listed in the history section below the buttons.
Check for flagged segments
Segments can be flagged or deleted in Strava for a number of reasons and pressing this button will go through all of your segments and remove any it finds.
I tend to do this once a month at most.
Update ride dates
If you are still seeing this button then press it then it’ll disappear. More info on what this button is for is available here.
After being pointed out that the Velo Flow link from segments for some rides in Australia weren’t always returning results as expected I discovered I’ve not consistently using the right date from the Strava API. The majority of dates I use have been Greenwich Mean Time which is causing an issue when your ride happened to not be the same day as it was at the time in London.
Easy fix though – once only you will need to press the “Update Ride Details” button on your Update page and then this button will disappear then all your data should be in the appropriate time zones.