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So, what about the Strava Heat Map?

5/17/2014 11:08 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/17/2014 11:13 AM

I'm not a Strava person, but when I saw the Strava heat map for the first time, I was pretty floored. At first it was a "good floored", then it was "bad floored." I was stoked to see the activity in my personal region and also regions I wouldn't expect to have much activity (this map includes road bikes too, so you have to sift through a bit). But I was also let down to see some blue lines that I know probably shouldn't be there for everyone to see.

I was fortunate to be around a group of dedicated riders and trail builders early in my MTB history who taught me the value of working hard for trails. They also taught me the value in sharing "less-than-public" trail info either never, or only with riders who have the same level of respect for creating and preserving the secret gems. Prior to GPS/phones, we had some great memories on great "personal" trails that could not have happened with today's technology...not for as long a time at least. On the flipside, I'm stoked to check out some of the blue lines in my area that I may not have otherwise noticed or looked into.

I realize this is part of modern living and there's no way to stop the spread of info, but I'm curious to see what you all think about the transparency of info on basically any and every trail or riding area.

http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#4/-103.43480/39.85037/blue/bike





5/17/2014 11:22 AM

I was riding bikes before the wheel was invented.

But seriously, it's riding. The entire planet should be riding everywhere, all the time. As for trail exposure, be proactive about it. Educate the masses. Otherwise sit back, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the free ride. (i'm generalizing here)

5/17/2014 1:20 PM

Sure, it's nice to get stats on some of your rides with strava... But people need to realize that not all trails should be broadcast to the world. Lots of hours went into building those secret gems. Don't blow it for everyone by broadcasting them on strava. Leave it at home on those days, or at minimum make the ride private.

5/17/2014 2:18 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/17/2014 2:32 PM

Living in Santa Cruz, where nearly all of the fun trails are illegal, we have a long history of secret trails being discovered and eventually destroyed by the masses from all over the SF Bay area. Even trails hidden in the remotest areas of the county have been leaked and even exposed on the net. (Thanks Specialized and Santa Cruz Bikes.) Now we have two new trails built by local pro kids that are so far only known to about twenty people, if that. It will be a sad day for us the lucky and hard working few and the neighbors who just want to be away from the crowds, when they finally show up as little blue lines on that map. Shit. I just checked it out and our pretty much blown out World Cup worthy trail is on there and there's some faint blue near the other new ones. I really hope those are from roadies looking for remote roads.

5/17/2014 2:38 PM

Shrockie wrote: Sure, it's nice to get stats on some of your rides with strava... But people need to realize that not all trails should be broadcast to the world. Lots of hours went into building those secret gems. Don't blow it for everyone by broadcasting them on strava. Leave it at home on those days, or at minimum make the ride private.

That utopia has gone, though I totally agree with you!

The new breed of riders young and old are self selfie junkies set totally on themselves I see it on the trails constantly and its getting worse!

I use strava resisted for a long time but only on legit already listed strava trails by club etc. Always turn it off on secret stuff or stuff that should be respected out of respect to those who shared their hard work.

I get just as hacked off spending months building new features just to have some muppet walk all over them then walk around or worse move cut down nature to create a by pass on a trail they have no skill or reason being on other than being on an mtb bike insert A****e here so typical of the modern biker!

Recently found out no doubt due to Strava recordings by same muppets that signs will b errected on certain entrances to now known lines that were not built trails but just random lines ridden in legitimate areas eg between existing trails so no fowl other than being strava'd for peeps, now we all lose, these became awesome fun old school lines, seriously over this BS from all sides no common sense by anyone just reaction at the expense to mtb in this area.

People r just dumb. I dont blame Strava for this, unfortunately this is mtb like so much of our selfish society, just take e-bikes the next step in the selfie generation evolution..

XFusion Vengeance
The only verdict is Vengence, a vendetta held as votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.

5/17/2014 6:39 PM

I've found so many trails in my local area thanks to Strava. I understand that some people want to keep certain trails secret and that should be respected, but like it has been said before, this is not Strava's fault. Someone had to create the segment and that's the same as posting it on any other electronic medium.

My personal feeling on keeping trails secret is that it's mostly a waste of time. I've built and worked on trails for years and have felt the anger and disappointment of my work being destroyed or ruined which might not have happened if it was secret but I have also experienced way more joy and fun riding and sharing the creations with other mountain bike people. The pro's outweigh the cons for me.

I sometimes think keeping trails secret is actually a bit selfish, but it's not really justifiable.

My eyes got opened when my local council contacted me and asked me to please record my trail rides so they can see which trails are used (they asked many people, not just me). They showed me the map of trails they are aware of... I didn't even know a third of the trails existed and they knew all the trails I knew about. So much for "Secret". Haha, after that, I gave up keeping things secret. "They know were you rode last weekend..."

5/17/2014 9:20 PM

Yeah, that Heat Map Crap sucks! Way to blow it Strava.
There does not even need to be a segment, anyone can see where every strava user is riding. Really bad idea.

I don't even see why they would want to do this, what is the benefit?

Strava will soon be like fight club; if you are seen with GPS or posting trails that should not be posted, you will get the crap kicked out of you.
Time for some of the Santa Cruz surfer mentality on the dirt.

5/17/2014 9:38 PM

The one thing that heat-map is telling me is there's some trails out in the Atlantic Ocean directly east of Georgia and south of Nova Scotia. Atlantis???

5/17/2014 9:56 PM

I don't know if I'd go so far as Santa Cruz surfer mentality. I've lived here more than half my life and aside from needing custom board and suit, I just never wanted to bother with the attitude. I just ride and build trails with friends and DON'T TELL THE WORLD! I feel a bit strongly about this because I'm responsible for revealing to the the greater bay area one of our regions greatest gems. I was shown the trail by the builders and I asked if I could show my best friend, he told just the right wrong person and now it's out on that Strava map. I think that what the States need are places like British Ride Centers where a range of trails can be built and abused and maintained, so that the secret gems stand a better chance of survival. Something has to change. I feel comfortable guaranteeing you that more riding in Santa Cruz takes place on illegal trails than the boring legal ones, and perhaps commuting to boot. It's a ridiculous situation and a bit off subject. Carry on...

5/18/2014 11:58 AM

I have to wonder if this data set shows rides that were marked as private? Many Strava users will make a ride on illegal trails private out of respect for the builders. This essentially hides it to everyone, but still counts the mileage/elevation for personal tracking reasons.

I find the heatmap to be particularly useful if you're traveling to a new location and want to determine which trails are popular. Say you're on a road trip and want to know where to camp that's near some good trails. This makes it easy. Then again, so does calling a local shop and getting real beta.

Strava is selling user data to cities/counties, which may help with the addition of bike lanes in urban areas. I can also see them using it to hunt down/close non-sanctioned trails or to know when to show up to ticket users.

"Prior to GPS/phones, we had some great memories on great "personal" trails that could not have happened with today's technology...not for as long a time at least."

How so? Great memories are still made every day.

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5/18/2014 12:15 PM

re: memories that could not have happened -

the trails i'm referring to existed, well-hidden, for a handful of years, so the memories for the builders and those who rode there piled up. eventually the word got out to the general population and it basically took a season of traffic to get the trails closed down, therefore no more memories. this was pre-strava, so people will find out about trails regardless of technology. these particular trails had a good, long run in obscurity that i feel wouldn't have happened in today's climate.

i'm not implying memories can only be made on private trails. of course great memories are made on any trail any day.

5/18/2014 2:05 PM

The scariest part of the heat map is that there are clearly more people riding road than mountain!?!?!

Nooooooooo........

5/18/2014 4:13 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/18/2014 4:14 PM

F1234K wrote: The scariest part of the heat map is that there are clearly more people riding road than mountain!?!?!

Nooooooooo........

I don't see a problem with that. They can have the road.

5/18/2014 8:06 PM

Big Bird wrote: I don't know if I'd go so far as Santa Cruz surfer mentality. I've lived here more than half my life and aside from needing custom board and suit, I just never wanted to bother with the attitude. I just ride and build trails with friends and DON'T TELL THE WORLD! I feel a bit strongly about this because I'm responsible for revealing to the the greater bay area one of our regions greatest gems. I was shown the trail by the builders and I asked if I could show my best friend, he told just the right wrong person and now it's out on that Strava map. I think that what the States need are places like British Ride Centers where a range of trails can be built and abused and maintained, so that the secret gems stand a better chance of survival. Something has to change. I feel comfortable guaranteeing you that more riding in Santa Cruz takes place on illegal trails than the boring legal ones, and perhaps commuting to boot. It's a ridiculous situation and a bit off subject. Carry on...

Yo a lot of that remote stuff is motos using strava if you're wondering

5/18/2014 8:40 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/18/2014 8:41 PM

bturman wrote: I have to wonder if this data set shows rides that were marked as private? Many Strava users will make a ride on illegal trails private out of respect for the builders. This essentially hides it to everyone, but still counts the mileage/elevation for personal tracking reasons.

I find the heatmap to be particularly useful if you're traveling to a new location and want to determine which trails are popular. Say you're on a road trip and want to know where to camp that's near some good trails. This makes it easy. Then again, so does calling a local shop and getting real beta.

Strava is selling user data to cities/counties, which may help with the addition of bike lanes in urban areas. I can also see them using it to hunt down/close non-sanctioned trails or to know when to show up to ticket users.

"Prior to GPS/phones, we had some great memories on great "personal" trails that could not have happened with today's technology...not for as long a time at least."

How so? Great memories are still made every day.

Strava is a tool and like any tool there are good ways and bad ways of using it. For those who are required to track miles and time, it is a fantastic tool. Estimating those values before was vague, at best. I personally use it to track growth and fitness throughout the year, put a qualitative measure on my pain, and reality-check my ego when I'm feeling saucy. Point is, its use is mainly internally focused.

On the other end of the spectrum is the externally focused user. Logging miles, observing growth, and turning up the volume once in awhile to see where they're tracking is not their priority. Their priority is to be the absolute fastest guy on the trail and they only flip on the GPS when they feel they can be. For them, Strava is the racecourse and the horribly inaccurate timing that comes along with it is their stopwatch. I have no respect for that type of user because they have no respect for the trails and others on it. A real rider can knock out a big loop, throw down on a few segments during the ride, earn some top 10s, have the maturity to shut it down when other users are around, and have the respect to mark the ride as private - essentially throwing away the visibility to all those big miles and achievements - if any part of their ride touches a stash. That's a real rider, IMO, and if the heat map encourages more people to behave like that, I am for it. But I suspect it does the opposite and I am therefore against it.

"I have to wonder if this data set shows rides that were marked as private? Many Strava users will make a ride on illegal trails private out of respect for the builders. This essentially hides it to everyone, but still counts the mileage/elevation for personal tracking reasons."
Good question. I am interested as well. A good friend has a gem he built that a small group of us ride often and keep close to the chest. We know the rules; don't upload it to Strava, or if you must for miles' sake, mark it as private. On the heat map there is the faintest line showing his stash. Either one of us forgot the private flag or Strava ignores that flag when generating the heat map. It could go either way since there is no key that ties the color gradient and intensity to number of times ridden. Just sucks that it's on there at all. :-/

5/19/2014 3:17 AM

Ok,
After reading all this I have to say I am going to be 40 in two months and have been riding on two wheels since I was 6. I was born and raised in SoCal. and I have ridden so called secret trails way back in the day. I now in live in the flat land of FL. (married to a FL. girl) where clubs work with land managers to matain trails and, Ohh Yeah, then people like Ray from Ray's Indoor come down and build features for free. Now that is a true mountain biker that wants to help and give back to the sport that we love!!! But like other people have said on here. Mountain Biking is supposed to be about the "RIDE" weather alone or wit your crew.

And if you are riding illegal trails then you are doing a dis-justice to the rest of us MTBers that fight to get land managers to let us build great "Legal" Trails!!!! So who truly cares about your secret gems, I know there will be better built lines and trails to ride that will be open to all. But if you are a newbie and the skill level is above your head stay off of it a don't try to cut your own lines, be respectful and train and ride to become a better rider with skill to huck that gap!!!

But I have to say the biggest frauds out there are the transplants, so if you weren't born in Cali don't try to front as if you do. So tired of going back home to local trails and listening to people act like they own the trails that have only ridden for a couples years!!!! And finally getting back on topic, Strava is a tool to train with be it for competion or for challenging ones self. And yes it is going to stay and possibly get better. So Suck It Up and live with the change, you don't have to use it. If you are one of the people that are worried about some "GEM, Secret Trail", make a Big Step and buy some land and build everything you want that only you and your Cool Guy Crew have the combo to ride!!!! I have 5 acre and have built a little track and trail on my piece of my own America!!!!


Later,

5/19/2014 3:22 AM

dirty booger wrote: Yeah, that Heat Map Crap sucks! Way to blow it Strava.
There does not even need to be a segment, anyone can see where every strava user is riding. Really bad idea.

I don't even see why they would want to do this, what is the benefit?

Strava will soon be like fight club; if you are seen with GPS or posting trails that should not be posted, you will get the crap kicked out of you.
Time for some of the Santa Cruz surfer mentality on the dirt.

That's Lame!!!!!!!! Get off your soap box and just ride!!!!


Later,

5/19/2014 7:53 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/19/2014 12:56 PM

@OTB Race team - the "secret gems" in my original post existed w/ permission of land owner. there was not permission, however, for everyone to ride them, even though they were relatively easily accessible. once too many people found them, the liability grew too great and they were closed. no dis-service to MTB here and no one trying to be the cool guy.

5/19/2014 12:38 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/19/2014 12:38 PM

@OTB brings up a good point. What if all the time / effort spent building private trails was redirected towards advocacy and community organizing to get more public trails built for all?


5/19/2014 12:42 PM

patrickjmale wrote: @OTB brings up a good point. What if all the time / effort spent building private trails was redirected towards advocacy and community organizing to get more public trails built for all?


We'd have a million IMBA-style flow trails... Some things just can't be built on public land, at least in the States.

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5/19/2014 12:51 PM

patrickjmale wrote: @OTB brings up a good point. What if all the time / effort spent building private trails was redirected towards advocacy and community organizing to get more public trails built for all?


Yeah, true this would be rad. I bet the issue for lots of people is the advocacy route takes time. I've done limited legit bike club kinda trail work, yet I grew up building my own BMX trails. Now that I'm older I see the payoff of the advocacy long play. The whole legit trial building process isn't sexy until you ride a new trail that's legal and is built right.

5/19/2014 3:35 PM

All,
I am glad most of us agree, I was not trying to be a cool guy myself, I just want to help out our sport trhat we all love. I have been trying to get a MTB/BMX club started. If any of you guys have any suggestions let me know or hit me up @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/BRAVE-Florida-mtbbmx-riding-club-by-Only-The-Bold

Live-Life-Loud,

5/19/2014 4:56 PM

On a certain level this thread is doing a disservice to those of us who don't want others to know about our backyard trails. I'll admit I've searched on Strava for new trails, but it didn’t work very well, and depended on how close or far you zoomed in/out. I didn't know this heatmap existed, but now I do and so do tons of other riders. I’ve always been shocked that people upload to Strava when they ride questionably legal trails. And now we have THE map to all the possible trails…

I’d recommend deleting this thread and contacting Strava instead, see you in your backyard!
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