Pages Navigation Menu

Tucson's two-wheeled news source

Strava: Don’t be such a roadie

Tucson’s bike month may be over, but it is just beginning for the rest of the country.

Strava is getting in on the action by encouraging bicycle commuters to start logging their commutes during bike month and specifically Global Bike to Work Day on May 10.

In a recent blog post the ride-tracking giant said their “Metro” group analyzes millions of commutes a week and works with municipalities to offer insights into the habits of bike commuters.

Here’s how they explain it:

More than five million rides and runs are uploaded to Strava each week, and in cities, the majority of these activities are commutes. These activities have created trillions of data points on where people actually ride, run and walk in cities.

In 2014, Strava launched a data service called Strava Metro. Since then, Metro has worked with over 70 organizations around the world to understand how more than a half-million bicyclists and pedestrians choose to navigate through cities. Each of these organizations is using the anonymized data to understand the general flow of people across their streets over time.

Tucson’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner Ann Chanecka said the City of Tucson hasn’t partnered with Strava because for planning it has “limitations.”

“I appreciate them trying to capture transportation trips but my concern is that the data is limited to a self-selecting group,” Chanecka said. There are a lot of folks who use a bike out of necessity that I don’t expect will download the Strava app and use it to record their trips.”

Chanecka said the city aims to be as inclusive as possible when thinking of planning bike facilities.

If you are curious where people are tracking their rides in Tucson currently, check out the Strava Heatmap.

As for me, I stopped logging my bike commutes because it became too much work to constantly remember to charge my GPS and I didn’t need any help killing my phone’s battery. What about you? Do you track your bike commutes via GPS? Leave a comment.

 

8 comments
Ralph Durham
Ralph Durham

I've been using Strava to track my rides, especially commutes for several years. The data lets people who would care to look numbers for street use. his is much better than the once every so often or pre-planning road changes that might happen. Yes it is a sub-set of all users. I've encouraged others to log their commutes also. I can't say how successful that has been.

I have also set up ride sections that show long stretches of my commute or other major streets to see how many cyclists are going the full distance on what many would consider a  deadly street. I do understand the limitations of the data I can see. But you can go to the planning people and say that there are X riders on the road and probably more.

zz
zz

How does the city go about identifying folks who use a bike out of necessity and don't make any record of their trips?  If the city disregards 'self-selecting' agents' requests, isn't it just guessing at what infrastructure improvements will be useful?

ignorant drivers
ignorant drivers

The MTB trails really show up on that Strava heat map. Pretty neat to see that.

Guest
Guest

I think you should start tracking them again. "charge my GPS" is a thing of the past, your phone has one already. "I didn’t need any help killing my phone’s battery" new batteries do not die as old ones did. I tracked the 55 mile race for El Tour de Tucson and still had battery the rest of the day. ;)

arsolot
arsolot

Since I want to keep track of my miles and bike use, I do upload all of my rides to Strava, including my rather short commutes.

Keith Gonzalez
Keith Gonzalez

@arsolot I agree, I log my miles and don't call my commutes: 'commutes' for strava, since I think of it as saddle time.  Its true that Strava is largely self-selected and a bit intimidating for average commuters.  But, again maybe I'm a roadie snob, but, bike safety is, kind of, trickle-down and those of us who live on the roads bear the most risk.  Plus, we represent the cycling community moreso than the casual commuter. Does that make sense? The city really should look at strava heat maps for that reason at least.

zz
zz

@Keith Gonzalez @arsolot  That's it....regular folks creating data custom-made for the city and it labels it 'self-selecting'. Any person or group requesting services or improvements becomes a  'self-selecting' entity. Think no further than the bus riders union made up of people who ride the bus. The city looks to folks who don't ride to define cycling needs.