Inside the Wild World of Strava

Strava data is a closely-guarded secret. Except for this stuff.

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Strava data is a closely-guarded secret. Except for this stuff.

For many of us the first thing we do when we’re done with a workout is upload the effort to the effort to Strava then wait for the kudos to roll in. But how does Strava work?

The answer to that is: only Strava knows and they like to guard the info like it’s the Coke recipe of endurance sports. The technology that turns your sweat and toil into an appealing series of graphs, charts, maps, and personal bests therefore remains a bit of a mystery. Representatives of the firm wouldn’t even divulge the physical location of the company’s server, which brings up the inevitable meta-question: Does the Strava segment server have its own segment?

Nevertheless, we were able to tease some info about the basics. For instance, how does Strava know when you’ve completed a particular segment? According to Davis Kitchel, one of Strava’s co-founders, “In the case of the start point of a segment, our software looks for the first recorded point of data from your GPS that is inside the segment.” In some cases, there are multiple points that are possible candidates. Kitchel continued, “After looking at all the recorded points that can be a candidate for the start, the software automatically selects the best point. Sometimes in a tight switchback, that can be a little tricky, but the software will ensure that it assigns the start or finish in that turn so that each rider has completed the entire segment.”

Fun facts and stats:

  • 16 activities are uploaded every second. 11 million are uploaded every week.
  • 627,239 marathons were completed worldwide in 2017 (134,966 in the U.S.).
  • 699 million running miles were logged worldwide in 2017 (151 million in the U.S.).
  • California, Colroado, and Texas (in that order) are the three most active U.S. states for Strava Cycling.
  • Kansas (20.4 MPH), Indiana (17.8 MPH), and Wisconsin (15.5 MPH) have the fastest average speeds for Strava Cycling.
  • California, Texas, and New York (in that order) are the three most active running states on Strava.
  • South Dakota (7:36 mile pace), Louisiana (7:42), and North Carolina (8:00) have the fastest average mile paces in the U.S. on Strava.
  • The most popular U.S. running segments are “Reservoir Mile” in New York City, “Rocket Mile” in San Francisco, and “2 1⁄2 to 3 1⁄2 Mile Marker” in Austin, Texas.
  • The most popular U.S. cycling segments are “Three Sisters” in New York City, “Hains Point Backside” in Washington D.C., and “Bridgeway Northbound” in Sausalito, CA.
  • 1.2 million century rides were completed worldwide in 2017 (206,200 in the U.S.).
  • Every 40 days another 1 million athletes sign up for Strava.
  • 8 a.m. was the most popular time for solo acivities in the U.S. 9 a.m. in the U.K., France, and Spain. Germans prefer 5 p.m. while Brazilians like 6 p.m.
  • 4.54 billion cycling miles were logged worldwide in 2017 (709 million in the U.S.).

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