Strava insights – US focus but still an interesting read

In 2015, 5.3 activities were uploaded and shared on the social network every second.

Data trackers extraordinaire Strava has published its annual end of year insights for 2015, and there is some pretty info in the report.

Comprising millions of individual uploaded rides, the data offers unique insight into the habits and behavior of cyclists in the United States. For example in 2015, 5.3 activities were uploaded and shared on the social network every second.

This immense depth of data allows documentation and analysis of Strava’s growth in the world of cycling and running in the United States, while also providing direct comparison with the Strava community on a global scale. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most interesting information.

2015 Highlights
  • Globally, Strava athletes uploaded 5.3 activities every second
  • Over 26 million rides uploaded in the U.S.
  • Average speed for U.S. male cyclist is 14.6 mph, female U.S. cyclist is 12.7 mph ­
  • Average cycling commuter distance in U.S. is 10.5 miles
Global Cycling

Across Strava’s global platform, cyclists shared a total of 115.8 million rides in 2015, accruing a total of nearly 2.6 billon miles — almost enough for a one-way trip to Neptune. Strava’s cyclists together accumulated 133 billion vertical feet in elevation gain.

Strava 2015 Insights

U.S. Cycling

Cycling uploads on Strava continue to grow and grow as riders in the U.S. logged 26,320,103 individual rides throughout the year, logging 539,112,239 miles along the way. Saturday, July 11 proved to be the year’s most popular day for a ride. From the hills of Vermont to the high Rockies of Colorado, riders in the U.S. climbed an 25.6 billion vertical feet.

For average distance, men recorded 23 miles for each ride, while women averaged 20 miles. The average ride time was yet another significant difference, as the men’s 1:54:00 put them in the saddle for longer than the women, who registered 1:38:00 in comparison. Women recorded an average speed of 12.7 mph for an individual ride, with men registering 14.6 mph.

Not known as a traditional cycling state, Louisiana emerged as surprisingly the fastest state, with an average speed of 15.2 mph, joined by flatland Florida atop the ranking for longest average ride with 24.2 miles. Also surprisingly, Vermont topped Colorado and California as the biggest climbers, with 1,460 vertical feet gained per ride.

Strava 2015 Insights

Strava also revealed that California was the most active state in the U.S., with 7,172,721 rides logged, a considerable margin of difference over its nearest rival, Colorado, where they totaled 1,465,414. Sausalito, California, was home to the most popular segment in the U.S. in 2015, with 15,327 attempts on the “7-11 Bump.”

Bike Commuting

For many Strava members, commuting is a large part of their daily routine, with an average of 95,878 rides recorded as commutes to and from work every week. A pacey average of 15.0 mph ensured riders made it in on time, tackling an average 10.5 miles door-to-door. Winter was an unappealing affair for many, axing commuter activity by 63.3 percent as people returned to more comfortable methods of transport.

“This latest release of Strava’s data demonstrates once again the great depth of insight which is available when collating the activities of the world’s cyclists and runners,” says Andrew Vontz, Strava brand manager. “The Strava story offers us an unprecedented opportunity to analyze and interpret a broad spectrum of data, helping to understand behavior and habits of athletes in the United States; as well as providing real-world feedback on how people utilize their local roads for both exercising and commuting.”

Why less women cycle.

Think this could apply to Brits nearly as much as the US as families live in a ‘daily mail’ fear culture at the best of times ……

Amsterdam cyclist  ©Richard Crawford
Amsterdam cyclist
©Richard Crawford

According to the UCLA report, women with children make twice as many child– serving trips and nearly twice as many grocery trips as their male spouses. Even when women earn more, are better educated, and work more hours than their male partners, they still make 1.5 times as many child-serving trips and 1.4 times as many grocery trips. These findings reflect the fact that in most US families women still shoulder the responsibility for caring for the household, and that responsibility is hard to manage on a bike.

Dutch women can use bikes to get around because they are less pressed for time than American women, in three fundamental ways. First, thanks to family-friendly labour policies like flexitime and paternity leave, Dutch families divide childcare responsibilities much more evenly than American families. Second, work weeks in the Netherlands are shorter. One in three Dutch men and most Dutch women work part-time, and workers of either gender work fewer hours than Americans.

Lastly, Dutch parents do much less chauffeuring of children and elderly family members than American parents. Neighbourhood schools and high-quality bike infrastructure in the Netherlands make it easy for Dutch kids to walk or bike to school, unlike their counterparts in America, where rates of bicycling and walking to school have been declining for decades. Dutch elderly are also much more independently mobile than their American counterparts.

If American cities hope to improve mobility by ushering in a European-style bike renaissance, improving bike infrastructure and promoting cycling will be necessary, but it probably will not be enough. The lack of women on bikes is a symptom of much deeper societal differences that, sooner or later, American urban planners will need to confront. Here are three policy changes that could help shift the culture.

First, reduce the burden of housework — and its associated trips — on women. Family-friendly policies such as paid paternity leave make it possible for men to help at home, and they set the pattern for the rest of parenthood.

Second, step back from our “always-there” work culture, and also pay workers a living wage. Reducing total work hours and encouraging more flexible schedules for men and women alike could free up the time necessary to get around by bike. And imagine what a game-changer it would be if low-income women could work one decently paid job rather than two or three, or if high-income women weren’t expected to be at the office 60-plus hours a week.

Finally, design communities that everyone — children, parents and grandparents alike — can navigate safely without a car. Local schools, safe streets and easily accessible activities help encourage independent mobility, and reduce the expectation that women need to serve as family chauffeurs.

Amsterdam cyclist  ©Richard Crawford ©Richard Crawford[/caption]

Admittedly, these ideas have far-reaching implications and require serious value shifts, but there’s no reason that bicycle advocates and planners shouldn’t be part of that discussion.

To build sustainable transportation networks that work for everyone, policymakers will need to go beyond what they see on the street itself. They’ll have to look into the Dutch home where a husband is changing a diaper on paternity leave; into the Dutch workplace where a mom on a flexible schedule can leave before the sun goes down; and into Dutch schools where children receive universal education about how to ride a bike to school, freeing up their parents to ride to work.

Touring Bike Build #4: The Frame Arrives and Dynamo Light time

out the box - and slip the handlebars on
out the box – and slip the handlebars on

The frame has arrived and 2 forks although think I might stay colour matched for the moment … Here it is in splendour (though nice Fuji Xpro1 and a 1.4 lens and some LightRoom tweaking)

hand cut lugs
hand cut lugs
named lugs
named lugs

mercian frame details-3mercian frame details-6

Nitto Rando bars
Nitto Rando bars
flayed bars
flayed bars

mercian frame details-4

and then bought a dynamo and light for the tourist setup – will piggyback the tail light off the back. Best thing is it generates full power at lowish speed and once you stop it has a stand light which stays on for 10 minutes – enough time to get a tent up ….

hub and revo light
hub and revo light

BLURB The Revo is an all new concept for Exposure Lights. For the first time Exposure Lights is doing away with batteries and embracing the latest in dynamo developments. New super-efficient dynamo hubs enable the Revo to be used both on and off road.

800 Lumens
Ride duration
Dynamo Hub


Diablo – the light needs a fix

My USE Exposure Diablo light is kaput – well it works still on the low setting (2 of the 3 bulbs) but it is broken at 11 months.


Got in touch with the chaps there (they did great service for my USE Exposure Flare front light when plastic front was cracked. They were happy to fix it but as it was under a year old they said i should speak to the shop as replacement would be quicker and easier so the light was posted back to Wiggle today ……..

Hopefully back very soon

for more of this


British and Irish cities suck in the european index of cycle friendly cities

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin are amongst the most car dependent in Europe. The four capital cities of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom plus Dublin in the Republic of Ireland are among the worst of 13 major European cities surveyed by the Campaign for Better Transport Car for its Car Dependency Scorecard 2011. Only Rome, in 13th position, was found to have more reliance on the motor car than London, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast, which respectively occupied 8th to 12th place.

The scorecard ranks cities on 16 indicators grouped into five main areas – car use, public transport service, public transport cost, side effects of car use and cycling/walking – with each indicator ranked individually then combined with the others to provide an overall score.

Stockholm emerged as the least car-dependent city of the capitals surveyed – Copenhagen, for the record, wasn’t among those studied – scoring well on all indicators other than the cost of public transport. The modal share of walking and cycling was said to be particularly high despite the city’s poor climate in winter.

The Swedish capital was followed by Helsinki, Prague,
Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam
and Madrid on the list.

At the other end of the scale, the cost of public transport was the one issue on which Rome scored highly, although the network itself, and issues with reliability and coverage, among others, dragged it down. The Italian capital was said to have a particularly poor record for road safety.

The cost of public transport in London, plus poor air quality and levels of congestion, contributed to the city’s poor performance and are expected to be topics that feature in the mayoral elections next year.

While cycling was seen as an alternative mode of transport in all the UK cities surveyed, the study’s compilers said that uptake was low and singled out air pollution, the expense and low uptake of public transport and levels of congestion as factors behind their low ranking.

On the positive side, London scored well for low car ownership, Edinburgh for journeys on foot, Cardiff for road safety and Edinburgh for passenger satisfaction with public transport.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, comented: “Car dependency damages communities, affects our quality of life and has huge environmental consequences, so the UK cities’ poor standing should be of major concern to politicians.

“To catch up with the best in Europe the UK Governments need to recognise the economic benefits of good air quality and road safety, and ensure public transport, walking and cycling are comparable to car use in terms of cost, journey time and quality.”

The organisation outlined a umber of steps it believed UK governments should take to address the problem, but pointed out that currently, cuts to local bus networks have left many people without local transport and that train fare increases above the rate of inflation will prevent others from using that form of transport.

The recommended measures are:

  • Making public transport fares affordable, with smart cards valid on different modes and operators
  • Improving public transport journey times through bus priority, and investment in trams where appropriate
  • Giving pedestrians and cyclists real priority over other vehicle traffic, including at junctions
  • Supporting a good public transport network during off peak times, including evenings and weekends
  • Recognising the wider factors which affect car dependency, such as planning regulations.…

Exposure Lights Flash and Flare Review

Flash and Flare

I bought these lights a while back for the Brompton as I thought their neatness and compact dimensions would make them perfect as they wouldn’t interfere with the fold.

The parcel came and I was impressed by the build quality of the units – It is £70 for the pair which is quite spendy but then I am using them everyday in winter so they need to be well made.

The back (flare) light is 75w lumen and has a very nice flash mode where it doesn’t go on off but rather there is a steady light and it flashes brighter.

The light clips into its moulded bracket quite firmly and the bracket is attached to the bike with a silicone band that will fit all seatposts from 25.0 to 34.9 apparently. It’s real easy to get on and off the bike, no need for screwdrivers or allen-keys here – you can leave the mount in place and just click it on or off and put it in your front pocket. If you are a  multiple bike user or you don’t want a light bolted on their bike all the time for security reasons, then this is a godsend.

neat under the brompton saddle - no fold issues

Turning it on is a simple matter of twisting the lens clockwise, and turning the Flare off and on again within three seconds will change the mode from constant to flashing or vice-versa, and once turned off (by screwing the lens anticlockwise) the light will automatically turn on again in the mode you turned it off in. I found it a bit tricky to do on the move as when you twist the light the casing twists in the mount … again this is because I go through a darkened tunnel on my commute and want to be seen. The work around is to leave it on.

Flash on

The flare front light is not quite as good for a brompton as there is a bit of light spill which ruins night cycling. I know the front is designed so that light is seen side on but this interferes with eyesight on brompton as head is directly above light. The bottom spill also then reflect back off the S-bag so doubly compromised.

Saying that a tiny bit of gaffer tape cures any night vision worries – most users wont notice especially if they have street lamps as well – it’s only the country jaunts in pitch black that is an issue.

Battery time at the moment seems fine – bought a pack of 20 batteries for £12 (on expenses) but will probably get a rechargeable set in the long run.

RED means ....

Update: Front plastic lens on FLASH front unit since cracked – emailed USE and they told me to mail the light back to them …. what great customer service – new replacement arrived 2 days letter with comp slip and no charge. Fantastic – won’t hesitate to support them again.