Strava Tools and Apps

Most cyclists I know use Strava to track their cycling activities.  Prior to joining Strava in 2012, I kept a record of all my rides in a spreadsheet (dating back as far as 2002!), so when I found out about Strava, I bought a GPS and had it do the work for me.  I’m a numbers guy so I like keeping track of my rides, distance and progress each month and year. With the popularity of Strava in recent years, third-party companies have jumped on board with additional features that make use of Strava data.

Here’s a list of Strava tools that I use:

  • Veloviewer: The free version is limited to your most-recent 25 activities, but the Pro version is only 10 euros a year.  There’s also a Pro+ version for 20 euros, but I just pay for the Pro version, which allows visualization of all my Strava activities on maps, tables, charts.  In addition, individual activities and Strava segments can be visualized on maps in 2D or 3D.  It’s a small cost for quick access to all your Strava data.  Here’s my connected heatmap from Stratford to Erin to Toronto to Port Dover (from Veloviewer):

Strava Stats: I only recently discovered this website.  It contains a lot of the same functionality as Veloviewer: personal heatmap, annual summary.  And it’s free! Here’s my four-day COLT heatmap from September 2017.

  • Strava Multiple Ride Mapper: This website is another free personal heatmap visualizer.  You can select the start and end dates that you want shown on your heat map. The developer has other Strava tools, like an annual summary and Strava segment summary. Here’s a close up of my 2012-2017 heat map for KW.  Warmer colours are roads/routes that I have cycled multiple times.
  • Relive: This app creates an video of your Strava activity.  The video is an animation of the route of your activity and it cleverly adds any photos you added to your Strava actvity, and includes data such as fastest speed, maximum heart rate and elevation of your ride.  Here’s a Relive of my gravel ride from last weekend.
  • Doarama: This isn’t specifically a Strava app, but you can take your GPS data (GPX file format) and load it to their website.  Then you’ll be able to create a video (similar to Relive). For my four-day bikepacking trip in September 2017, I combined all four days into one file and you can see it here.  Be warned, if you play the video at a slow speed, it will be long!  You can control the playback speed in the lower left-hand corner.  It’s four days of riding/breaks/camping, so if you play back at 1X speed, it’ll be a four-day video! (I recommend 1024X playback speed).

The Strava website has a list of other third-party tools that can be used with Strava data.  There are dozens of tools for visualizing, importing, analyzing Strava data,

Strava also has something called Strava Labs, where there are cool features like:

  • Global Heatmap: Billions and billions of miles of activities from all Strava users plotted on a single map. Here’s the Strava heatmap (all Strava users) for Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge and Guelph. Notice the hot spot for the Hydrocut mountain bike trails west of Kitchener-Waterloo, and a second hotspot east of Cambridge for the Puslinch mountain bike trails.  This heatmap was recently updated by Strava (October 2017).

  • Strava Roster: A list of the people with whom you’ve cycled with (or run, hiked…) the most.  From 2012-2017, here are the Strava users with whom I’ve cycled the most, based on the Strava Roster:

  • Strava Flyby: A cool visualization of your activity, along with other Strava users you rode with (or crossed paths with). Here’s a Flyby from one of my October 2017 gravel rides.
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Gravel Grinders – How to get started

We’re now well into fall and winter is starting to arrive.  For many, this means setting up the trainer or signing up for a spin class and riding indoors.  For others (like me), it means getting out the warm clothing layers and getting out on the gravel roads!

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The Simple Pleasures of Cycling on Gravel Roads

First, a bit of history:  I started cycling in the 1990s as a mountain biker (discounting rides around the neighbourhood as a kid).  I used to ride once a week in Dundas Valley before mountain biking was popular. When I joined the Waterloo Cycling Club in 2002, I bought a used road bike and joined the group rides, although my passion was still on the trails. Continue reading