Tuesday, January 6


I have to tip my CAP (not Hat) to STRAVA for doing a wonderful job subversively marketing mostly everyone (using social media) with their 2014 STRAVA Story thing.

I watched (kinda) maybe two of them, Jon Stang's being the first of course... because he is the most interesting cyclist in the world (that you've never heard of).

The people sharing their STRAVA stories were not necessarily marketed themselves, in as much as they are already valued "customers."  They were given the opportunity to share their year in STRAVA with the click of a button, they clicked it, and we saw it (or we didn't, but we at least had an idea of what we were ignoring).  They were STRAVA'ing before, and they'll probably STRAVA once again regardless of the boredom factor that resulted from seeing ones' accomplishments streamed before us in units of measurement over stock footage and images.

The people that were marketed?  They're just like me.  Outside the loop, holding the technology that would make it so easy to join the club, on the outside looking in.  I'll admit that my my mind is susceptible to this, whether I like it or not.  I recall something I read in this book...

about our instinct to want to belong and how it can be used as a weapon against our wallets.  In all of us is a part of the brain that's hard-wired with the desire to be like the others.  We can try to fight it, but it's part of the survival of our species.  Lizard brain stuff.

So I watched two (okay, maybe one and a half) of these STRAVA Stories, and was befuddled by the data.  So much of it.  I have none. 

And then I started scratching my head and ass.  2015 around the corner.  I haz phone that is smart.  I've been staring at Garmins like a small child stares at candy.  I could join the club... but how and why?

The majority of my miles are my commute to work, extended for "training" purposes about 7-8 months a year.  I do get some miles at work, but they are random.  I might ride four blocks, then two, then seventy blocks round trip.  Then two more.  It's so random, I can't imagine STRAVA'ing these moments, although five days a week/fifty two weeks a year would add up, so it would be hard to leave them out.   So much data left on the cutting room floor.

But what would I do with all this data?  Dunno.  Would I change my riding behaviors?  Doubtful.  Would I review the numbers and use that information to make me a better "athlete?"  This is also a dubious notion.  I could use stats gathered in the Pisgah to make better PMBAR, but that sounds like a lot more thinking than I'm willing to do... data acquisition that I'm sure if I did my research on STRAVA looking at others' ride information, I could figure out without ever turning a pedal in the woods.

But still, I feel that longing to join the STRAVA Club in the way that I dreamed I had a gigantic bag of McDonald's french fries Sunday night.  I can't control it.  Stupid lizard brain.

I wouldn't want to use my phone on every ride, so I would need a Garmin or similar device.  That's where my lizard brain takes a kick in its nuts.  That requires money and some desire to learn how to use it.  Money, I haz some.  Desire to learn how to use something that for the most part will be nothing but the acquisition of useless but interesting (to me) information?  I haz little, and what I did have, I might have used up learning how to utilize the complicated point and shoot camera I picked up last year to make great blog post.

Don't get me entirely wrong.  I love riding with someone that has their Garmin mounted majestically on their bars like a technologically wondrous boner (even if they have to explain to me why it's better than a cycling computer as they adjust the distance in their head by some random percentage).  I like hearing how many feet I climbed and how far I went after a ride.  I remember being fascinated by how long the climb/how many feet of climbing there is from the bridge down on FS Road 982 to the top of Raspberry.  It was amazing.  I'd tell you, but I can't even remotely recall.  It was a lot, I assure you.

My inability to connect time and distance to my ride plan is TRBL.  I plan a Pisgah route and people ask me how far it is or how long we'll be out, and my answer is generally something like "20-40 miles or 4-6 hours."  I don't know and I don't really care... that is, unless you have a Garmin, in which case, I'll ask for all that information at the end of the ride and forget all that information while I'm eating my post-ride burrito.

So in the end, thanks in advance.  I hope STRAVA wins, more people buy Garmins and more people that I ride with can amaze me with their numbers, even if it is very temporary.


BigRedClydesdale said...

The Strava Story thing was a great marketing idea. But in practice they did it wrong. They encouraged people to click it a week before the close of 2014. But then the "movie" is set in stone; it doesn't take into account anything else for that last week of 2014. I know you're thinking "Big deal, it's just a week of data." But their target audience are numbers junkies who won't "share" the movie if it just discards a whole week.

There are some things Strava is great at. If you are a data nerd you'll love it. If you are training yourself to be better, it's great to track those changes. It is "social" in a sense that you get to see who's also riding where you are. And of course, it borrows a lot from other social media (Kudos instead of likes, etc.). So if you hate or love Facebook you'll feel the same about Strava.

Their smartphone app leaves lots to be desired though. Won't show cadence during the ride. No offline maps. Burns battery like crazy. Using a Garmin is probably the best way to use it.

Anonymous said...

The Strava App barely affects my battery at all. I have an HTC One. Don't know if that makes a difference or not? I hate the whole Kudos thing. It's like getting a pat on the back and I feel obligated to return that pat. I do enjoy tracking my progress over given segments and get some degree of satisfaction when I take a KOM away from gearies on my SS. I especially enjoy taking them from seasoned roadies on my track bike! :-) The worst part of being on Strava is being tempted to go after a segment when I'm supposed to be riding easy.

BigRedClydesdale said...

I'm packing a Note 2, it has a pretty decent battery. It could be that I'm also using bluetooth 4 for additional sensors (heart rate, speed, cadence etc). I just remember Strava draining my battery dry after a 3 hour ride. Since then I switched to another app that's more battery friendly that can also auto-upload to Strava.

I plan on setting up some Strava segments on the frozen river; That will be an easy KOM to keep all summer! :D

Anonymous said...

NO Strava