How to view any Strava Segment in VeloViewer

This is one of the most commonly asked question I get but whose answer deserves more than just a place on the FAQ – “How do I view segments on VeloViewer that I haven’t ridden?”.  Maybe you’re planning a holiday or about to tackle a race or sportive and you want to check out what you’ve let yourself in for? Well, here’s how to do it.

There are two main ways to do this currently, each of which has its advantages in different circumstances:

  1. Using Strava’s Segment Explorer
  2. Creating a Strava Route

Lets look at those in more detail.

1. Using Strava’s Segment Explorer

This is probably the best option if you are scouting out a potential holiday location to build up a tick list of the classic climbs to take in.  I find using Strava’s Global Heatmap a similarly useful tool to see how much cycle-able terrain there is any location too.

  • Head to: Strava’s Segment Explorer.
  • Find your segment of interest and click on its name in the list or pin on the map.
  • Click the “View Details” button.

You will now see the segment’s details page and leaderboard.  Now here’s where you have to get a tiny bit geeky:

  • Put the focus into the address bar of your browser and replace the “www.strava” part with “veloviewer” and press go.

e.g.  becomes

The algorithm beneath this explorer was reworked in spring 2016 by the guys at Strava and although it is still limited to just 10 segments, it now provides a nice set of different segments rather than lots of duplicates that it did previously.

2. Creating a Strava Route

If you are heading off to do a known route (maybe for a race or a sportive) you can view the course in its entirety by creating a Strava Route and then drill into the segment details for even more detailed data.  If this approach works well for teams in the World Tour then it probably will tick most of your boxes too.

One of the huge bonuses of planning your rides with Strava’s is that it populates a list of all the segments ticked off by the route. The view of these segments is fairly limited on Strava’s site, but VeloViewer’s Route Details page steps up to make it much more useful.

Top tip: If you have a GPX file then you can automatically create a Strava Route on Strava’s cool GPX to Route page.  It doesn’t always get it perfect so might require a bit of manual adjustment afterwards.

Things to bear in mind when viewing segment elevation profiles

Segments are created by Strava users from their own activity’s data.  If they recorded their activity with a non-barometric device then the elevation data will be calculated from global datasets rather than taking the data recorded on the device.  This calculated elevation is usually pretty good at providing average gradients for full climbs but gets very noisy and inaccurate when looking at the detail.  Usually pretty obvious to tell if the segment is using calculated elevation data because you don’t get a very smooth profile.  If that is the case then have a look for an alternative segment that looks to be from barometric data.

VeloViewer Segment Explorer

This is something that has been on my to-do list since day one but in order to tick my main requirements I think I’d struggle to write something that would scale effectively.

One of my main objectives would be to provide a list of climbs (segments) in an area that I’m yet to complete.  The trouble is, writing a query that takes into account all of the segments I’ve already completed would be very slow to run.  One day perhaps.

0 thoughts on “How to view any Strava Segment in VeloViewer

  • GPX to route is kinda cool, but you cannot manually adjust it afterwards. I guess it defaults to using ‘popularity’ and it will mess with your original. TIP: try again if Strava messes it up too much – for instance, I’ve seen a 150 km GPX converted into a 190 km route the first time, but the second (or third) time, it got closer at ~154 km only…

    • I certainly get “Error computing route” from time to time but give it a few minutes and it’ll probably work. Once you’ve saved the GPX to Route then you should be able to edit it using the standard Strava Route page.
      From what I’ve seen it is pretty good at trying to match up the exact route from the GPX file but gets it wrong when the OSM routing is unable to provide a way along the GPX path. I do like watching it attempting to plot the route out, very neat from a technical perspective and I can imagine it would be tricky to make it work much better.

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