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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Angry Singlespeeder: Why Strava Sucks [mtbr.com]


Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt atsinglespeeder@consumerreview.com. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.
What do you call two people going for a bike ride? A race. What do you call two people with Strava going for a bike ride? A race that never ends.
In concept, Strava seems like a good idea; mapping rides and archiving them for people to reference is a terrific service. It’s especially terrific for out-of-towners who don’t know of any good places to ride and need a quick guide at their fingertips. But in reality, I think Strava sucks because of one main reason — humans can’t be trusted to use it in a socially responsible manner. It fuels the alpha-male ego in all of us, eroding the social fabric that makes riding bikes fun.
Whatever happened to the old days of training where you had a wristwatch and a segment you regularly rode? Some days you’d go out by yourself and hammer it, other days you’d ride with friends and enjoy the social aspect of chasing after the fittest guy, seeing if you could hang.
Nowadays people brag about being 10th out of 200 on a specific climb, as if it’s some kind of huge achievement. Who cares? On Strava, if you’re not first, then you might as well be last. And that’s the problem. The constantly futile quest to be first is ruining the pleasure that used to come with riding a bike.

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