To Strava, or not to Strava

I’ve been a loyal user of strava for years. But I’ve been thinking recently of dumping my premium subscription. Why? 

Well, in all honesty, it just no longer fits my use requirements. I’ve never really used the segments, other than beating my own times. I’m not interested in bragging rights or KOMS. One of strava’s issues is that there will always people out there who will game the system to get the bragging rights. The leaderboard is knackered due to this.

Garmin recently brought segments to many GPS units. I used to use it, but due to a bug with the garmin firmware and the inability to set a default target it fell out of favour.

So what else is out there? Well, there are a few logging sites. None of them have the same pull as strava, but my current usage is Training Peaks and Ridewithgps.com. 

Training peaks is arguably the grand father of them all. With no limits to the way you can view data, and the sheer amount you can do, it is the greatest at seeing your performance improve. But it can be a massive data overload. 

Ridewithgps is simple, but powerful. With support for ride tagging, gear management and maintenance logs. It’s recently started to gear itself more toward clubs, but it’s still a great choice for lone riders who arnt looking for a social aspect, although it does offer that, but so far has failed to pick up the type of following strava enjoys. 

And that’s what strava has going, the social aspect. It’s simply unmatched in that regard. And that’s why I’ll continue to keep a strava account, but not a premium. It just has no benefit for me. 

The week that was

So here’s the weekly stats. I beat the mileage and ride totals, however missing out on the time.

December 8th 2014 until  14th 64.6 miles total, 6 hours and 56 minutes

February 16th 2015 until 22nd 83.7 miles total in  7 hours 47 minutes.

Not to worry however, it’s all good.

Records Records

So, my previous best Weekly mileage was December of last year. That was 65 miles in 6.94 hours over 6 rides.

It does not look like I will be beating that record this February, with, so far 63.61 miles logged in 5 hours 55 minutes over 6 rides. Its certainly close, but I don’t think I’ll be seeing Decembers weekly mileage fall just yet. September was my previous best month for mileage, and it does look like I might be beating that however.

September 2014 saw me do 40 rides in total, for a combined mileage of 157, over 15 hours and 45 minutes. February 2015 has so far got 18 rides and 151.4 over 14 hours and 25 minutes. That one is as well, close but can certainly be beaten yet. I’ve certainly beat it based on distance and number of rides, but the time isn’t looking like it will be bettered.

We shall see what happens. But what ever happens, I’m lapping everyone that’s just sat there on the couch..

Statistics. Damn Statistics

I love pouring over data. I collect it how I can, when I can and as often as I can.

One of the tools I use to generate some stats when I’m cycling is my Garmin 510. I thought I’d just take the time to show how I have mine setup, as there are plenty of reviews on the unit already.

So, there are a few activity profiles you can choose from. The way I have mine setup is with three profiles, Train, Commute and Race. I use Train the most, followed by commute. Train is setup to show the most information on each of the available five screens.

The first screen I have as this. Showing:108

  1. Time Moving
  2. Current Speed
  3. Distance Covered
  4. Current Cadence
  5. Heart Rate
  6. Elevation
  7. Temperature

The last two on this, elevation and temperature are not important metrics, and can be removed. But everything else, is what I’d call an “At a glance Metric”, ie, something you want to see when you glance down. This is where I have the unit display data when I ride normally, as it is the most important set of metrics.

The second screen

  1. 40Elapsed time – The total time the unit has been recording, including auto-paused time.
  2. Average Speed
  3. Average Heart Rate
  4. Average Cadence
  5. Total Ascent
  6. Total Descent

This is the screen I take in when I stop, as it shows the information as a set of averages.

The Third Screen142

Shows a little miscellaneous information I find handy to have

  1. Time of Day
  2. Sunset. Handy so you know when the light will start to fail
  3. Maximum Speed
  4. Calories burnt
  5. Battery level
  6. GPS Accuracy

The Fourth Screen

  1. Current Heart rate148
  2. Heart Rate Graph over time
  3. HR Zone currently
  4. % of max heart rate

This is probably the second most active screen I use, especially when I’m pushing. I can keep myself in a HR zone, and closely monitor when I need to push, or calm down. I find the heart rate graph to be incredibly useful to see the pattern over time.

The Fifth Screen

154I show laps on the final screen, not really something I use a lot of, but its good to have it here.

  1. Number of laps currently recorded
  2. Speed of the last lap
  3. Heart Rate on the last Lap
  4. Last Lap Time
  5. Current Lap Time

I have the profile set to Auto-Lap at 2 miles. I dont often take much notice of laps when I’m riding, but it comes in handy on RideWithGPS when I review.

When I’m done with the ride, I’ll head on over to RideWithGPS.com and look there. By far RideWithGPS has the best data handling of the main cycling sites I use. (Strava, Endomondo, Garmin Connect and RideWithGPS).

Head on over, select one of my rides on the site, and see the power you can have, to break rides down into sections, overall stats, and stats on selected parts, it really is very powerful.