Strava as a trail advocacy tool?

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  • Strava as a trail advocacy tool?
  • Reminds me of that thread about red light jumping recently.
    The British road designer said “We’ve got a problem with cyclists jumping red lights”
    The Dutch road designer said “You’re designing your junctions wrong then”

    Who knows which way it would go.
    If you prove to the authorities that lots of people are breaking the law, which are they most likely to do, change the law or start enforcing it ?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    what would be good is a proper trail advocacy group

    mrmo
    Member

    i guess Strava can be used to show use and demand, it could also be used to show recklessness and with it that cycles need to be banned, controled etc.

    Examples, cyclepath near me, KOM is 30+mph on a shared path. I have no idea when this was set but IMO it is ******* stupid!!! too many dogs at most hours of the day to safely do much more than 20, and that is often pushing it.

    Rode the severn bridge a month or two back for the first time and it has speed limits on it for the footpath/cyclepath, yet look at the KoM times.

    On top of that what percentage of cyclists use Strava or similar, how can it be equated with real usage? Are Strava users representative of the “typical” rider? are they the riders the councils would want on any paths they created?

    Considering how many people local to me have an issue with MTBer’s riding footpaths, I can’t see how promoting “Racing” on them will help the case for sensible cyclists to use footpaths.

    Round me there are a few footpaths that could be re-classified and there are ones that should always remain footpaths, Especially round White Horse and Sutton Bank. There are too many that are too steep, steps and handlebar width.

    pingu66
    Member

    I agree with what has already been said.

    The majority of cyclists do not use Strava. Of those that do some of the evidence will show recklessness. Cyclists going too fast on shared use paths etc. If we, cylists, as a group want to be taken seriously then we should at the very least be sensible and some of the speeds shown for shared use paths are far from sensible.

    I definitely feel it could have the opposite effect and see enforcement. Could evidence from Strava be used retrospectively for offenses committed and dangerous / reckless riding.

    atlaz
    Member

    Examples, cyclepath near me, KOM is 30+mph on a shared path

    Have you seen the KoM on the canals/towpaths on the thames? It’s years since I’ve ridden along them but some are mental if there’s anyone else on them at all

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Read something in Privateer about people using numbers of rides registered on Strava as a way of convincing ‘the authorities’ that there was demand for legal trails.

    I realise that with a lot of cheeky trails it’s a bit of a two edge sword and that it’s also difficult to translate ‘number of Strava users’ into ‘number of mtbers’ but thought it was an interesting idea.

    Given that most segments are public would drawing a local authorities attention to an area with lots of cheeky trails with evidence of use plus a request that they trails be adopted as official be a ‘bad thing’?

    LA’s etc love to have things they can measure as a way of proving both demand for and subsequent uptake of projects that they are involved in – does Strava provide that?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    The above is probably all true but, tbh, it’s already all in the public domain so if anyone wants to they can view it and take action?

    I was thinking about something like the New Swinley trails where maybe monitoring of Strava use on them would indicate a level of use that could be used to leverage further development in the area?

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Examples, cyclepath near me, KOM is 30+mph on a shared path

    I’ve seen KOMs on canal towpaths (in fact I’ve got a couple!) which if you tried to set them during a busy time would result in total carnage. I’ve had a couple of near misses on the canal even riding carefully (usually with other cyclists when we both come round a blind corner going under the bridges where the towpath narrows and dips in).

    While Strava can be very useful I suspect if you tried to say “oh look at all the cyclists riding these footpaths, why not open them up to bikes” they’d actually take the complete opposite tack, pick up all the bits that show high speeds and then put in anti-bike stiles/gates etc or enforce the existing ban.

    The whole point of Strava seems to be to ride faster than everyone else.
    If you’re going to use GPS tracking sites as evidence of use by cyclists, then Endomondo, RideWithGPS, Garmin Connect etc. would be a better choice.
    In fact, anything but Strava.

    The whole point of Strava seems to be to ride faster than everyone else.
    If you’re going to use GPS tracking sites as evidence of use by cyclists, then Endomondo, RideWithGPS, Garmin Connect etc. would be a better choice.
    In fact, anything but Strava.

    well, no, maybe, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Strava’s USP were the ‘leaderboards’, but it’s probably got a much larger cycling userbase than any other, everyone from actual racers to fatties bimbling round fields seem to use it, whereas the others seem mainly used by people who had a GPS/App before STRAVA and haven’t changed simply due to inertia.

    Oh, OK, looks like I’m one of those with inertia then, if only because I like the playback feature on RideWithGPS. Give it a try, click the play button, bottom right, to see just how slow a tandem is over the Black Mountains.

    http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1475595

    The only advantage I can see to Strava is the ability to hide my route within 1km of home.

    If there was a similar site that overlaid the route on to an OS map, I’d probably use that in preference to all others.

    mattsccm
    Member

    Keep it low profile.
    M/c trail riding was happily going on for years until a new mag came out that was so successful that numbers multiplied over night. KTM’s became the new Fireblade/jetski/M series . What happened? Huge amount of legitimate lanes hacked away with no justification.
    (Not just that magazine as MCN etc also jumped on the band wagon but 1 mag in particular didn’t help I am sure)
    Do not forget that as many people or more are anti as for and the maybes won’t bother to say either way.
    Off to a m/c club meeting to drink beer out of rose tinted glasses

    I agree it’s not perfect (better maps would be a good start,presumably bing charge more than google for the map integration?), it’s like myspace/bebo/faceparty/facebook one of them just figured out how to be a fraction better than the others, and as a result attracted just enough of an excess of users to tip the balance and everyone else joined.

    For the OP, depends who you’re going to and their attitude, I imagine if you showed it to a warden in charge of an SSSI then you’d get short shrift and find every trail blocked by this time next week. A council and some wasteland might be more positive. But as others said, not every cyclist uses Strava, so they may actualy see the opposite of what you do, the new Swinley Strava shows a few thousand riders using it, IIRC Crown Estates figures are 10x or more that! Strava might show 1000 riders, but they might be expecting 10,000 for that kind of investment.

    STATO
    Member

    Oh, OK, looks like I’m one of those with inertia then, if only because I like the playback feature on RideWithGPS. Give it a try, click the play button, bottom right, to see just how slow a tandem is over the Black Mountains.

    http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1475595

    The only advantage I can see to Strava is the ability to hide my route within 1km of home.

    Garmin gives the playback feature. The advantage to strava is the user-base. Ridewithgps has much poorer take up in terms of the segments or rider use in my area, i.e Major road climb Strava 1200 riders, ridewithgps, 30 riders. And thats a road used on a popular sportive, at least 1000 riders on one day for the last 5 years.

    Kind of useless if you want to show a level of ‘use’ really?

    “legal trails” implies that there is such a thing as illegal trails. You’re not from round these parts are you? 😉

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    back to my first point, we have no single voice but lots of squabbling and in bitching about what we should can might really shouldn’t do. Back to the usual Strava users are nasty people who run over childrens faces etc (exaggeration but it’s implied on a few of the threads)
    An effective trail advocacy group would take all the evidence available, propose a solution and engage at the right level to effect a change. Perhaps we could sub contract to the Ramblers after they got what they wanted with right to roam.

    My general thoughts is that the England & Wales is too populated for the Scottish System to work. There is not enough personal responsibility for not riding poor condition trails which when multiplied by the increased number of users will cause more problems.
    Ancient historical use is irrelevant, current use & condition is important.
    It would also take a mindset change that people writing trail guides, reviews etc started to use Avoid after wet weather, not suited to a big group etc.

    Then again what are the chances of people agreeing with each other long enough to make a united stand and keep the pressure up for long enough without complaining about “Storm troopers” “Strava Bandits” “Racer Boys” “MAMILS” etc.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    I’m pro Strava, but still tend to think it may not be the right thing to show to the “authorities” (though the chances are the ones who are bothered may be monitoring it already). Apart from the recklessness issue there is the more basic one that they’re just as likely to see lots of “illegal” use as a reason to crack down as they are to open stuff up. There’s a lot to be said for not disturbing the current status quo where those who aren’t bothered about whether they have a legal right of way can just get on with it.

    It does occur to me that quite a lot of my Strava use is on routes with no legal right of way, and some where you could argue I’m riding on paths which have “no cycling” signs (I know the signs are there, but I don’t actually ride past them). However given my max speed is ~12mph on a lot of those rides my Strava tracks are probably ones you could use. On a similar point for fast KOMs on shared tracks – I find that even given a relatively low top speed it’s impossible to set PBs when it’s busy.

    Then again what are the chances of people agreeing with each other long enough to make a united stand and keep the pressure up for long enough without complaining about “Storm troopers” “Strava Bandits” “Racer Boys” “MAMILS” etc.

    Sadly, slim to none. And I’d have add my voice to the nay-sayers when it comes to using Strava as a mouthpiece for crusading freedom fighters. Already far too much bad press, even if 90% of the population has never heard of it. The CTC may not make front pages either but there’s history, expertise and most importantlY, an organisation.

    If it wasn’t such a total nightmare to contribute to stw threads on my HTC 1, I’d go on. But is is, so I won’t.

    bent udder
    Member

    The thing is, when we started talking to Hurtwood Control years ago about maintaining trails on their land – stuff like BKB and Yoghurt Pots – we were also talking to Surrey County Council and the Surrey Hills AONB about trail usage, and catering to mountain bikers.

    Their solution was to get the highways and GIS peeps to look at installing traffic counters on trees to measure usage of trails like Summer Lightning and BKB.

    A lot of this was done from the point of view of catering to a quite large group of people who brought quite a lot of cash to the area – while also getting an understanding of the scope of the ‘problem’ that some local residents saw. At no point was it about defining the bicycle menace or anything like that.

    Apps like Strava solve a lot of the problems that landowner groups had up until very recently – understanding where mountain bikers rode, and in what numbers. Strava et cetera means a huge cost saving – rather than getting out there with a GPS and trying to find stuff, it’s a case of a bit of desk research, instead.

    Taking a quick look, I can see that a segment of BKB was ridden 14,603 times By 2,558 people – proving that it’s a popular trail (Summer Lightning, in comparison, is getting a light pasting – about 4,000 odd rides). I remember someone doing a count of the number of riders that passed us on a BKB dig day years ago, and extrapolating a number in the hundreds on a warm weekend day.

    The outlier numbers (Fastest and slowest) aren’t as much interest as the mean or average speed, I’d say. There will always be people who race or ride irresponsibly, regardless of the vehicle they use – it’s about proving that a trail is a well-used resource, not whether it’ll get the Daily Mail brigade frothing at the clopper, that bothers the local authorities.

    farm-boy
    Member

    There was some recent discussions in trail advocacy circles in Western Australia (where I live, ride and am a trail advocate) about the use of this map, derived from Strava data, as proof of use of trails

    http://raceshape.com/heatmap/

    zokes
    Member

    That map’s pretty amazing, Farm-boy. I take it from the density of points in the UK compared to pretty much anywhere else that Strava is a UK-based app?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    They are US based Zokes, what it tells you is that most of the UK is accessible by bicycle, looking at Tassie we have lots of hot spots but not much in a lot of areas (bike banned from them or just pointless rides)

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    It’s also a reflection of population density, I suspect.

    Be interesting to see if Strava users/million of population is any different.

    I do agree with all the ‘Strava shows the worst excesses’ viewpoint but it’s already there in the public domain – if people want to use the information against cyclists they already can?

    I’m with bent-udder – it’s about showing demand is there. Clearly there’s an underlying ‘how many cyclists use strava’ question but I’m sure a quick stw front page poll would give a reasonable indication of the numbers for their demographic?

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    I do agree with all the ‘Strava shows the worst excesses’ viewpoint but it’s already there in the public domain – if people want to use the information against cyclists they already can?

    Yes, but a lot of the people who might be bothered by it are still ignorant.

    There’s two further points that should probably be made:

    1) showing that 1001 bikers used a footpath therefore it should be a bridleway is fine in principal, but if you can (legaly) ride it then they have to upgrade the path to cater for bikes/horses. Which means your bit of cheeky singletrack becomes a 3ft wide crushed limestone path. They can’t not do this, the access laws don’t differentiate between ‘seasoned mountainbiker gnarrr-meister’ and ‘todler on a tag allong’, the path has to be accessible, not fun/dangerous.

    2) Be very clear what you want to achieve. Do you want everything turning into a trail center like BKB or Swinley have been? Or maybe the best outcome is your secret trails remain secret and only ridden by a sustainable number or riders (rather than trying to make a trail sustainable).

    There’s a lot of MOD land in Surrey/Hampshire for example which probably sees as much trafic as Swinely used to get in the old days. But in terms of legality is cheekier than Barbra Windsors left buttock, the army has the right to confiscate your bike if you’re off the fire roads! The status-quo works because the current (small-ish) numbers are sustainable and there’s a good advocacy group.

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