Policing E-Bikes

Anyone have ideas on how to police E-Bike rides being uploaded to Strava?  I've been watching lots KOM's go bye-bye recently.  As E-Bikes become more popular this will continue to be a problem.

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  • The issue is with riders not labelling the activity correctly. I think part of the initial signing up to Strava (for cycling) should be adding a bike to gear for rides, and then declaring it as an ebike. This will prevent a lot of the nightmare of incorrect ride types, however there is still the issue of existing rides.

    I want to compete with people on a even level, and when I look at segments I’ve tried hard on and see someone who has been hitting DH trails and then whizzed up a hill twice as fast as me on their way home it takes away from the enjoyment of using Strava.

    Something definitely needs to officially be done so that people don’t have to take a wild guess and flag every fast ride they see thinking it’s an ebike.

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  • Robert, one thing you can do is set your privacy settings so only your "followers" can see you activites.  You can do this from your Profile page and "Privacy Settings" tab on the left.  That way, others may be able to search for and see you name, but they can't follow you or see your details unless you allow them to. 

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  • Hi Jason. Thanks for the reply - happy holidays!  I've already done that.  Strava continues to send my name out to people I don't know as "suggested friends." Strava gets my name from people who follow me.  I can't get them to stop this, can't get them to allow me the option to turn the "suggested friends" feature off (both receiving names and sending my name), and can't get them to reply.  But this thread was about e-bike riders and the common theme seems to be "no Strava reply."   robert

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  • Where is the official reply to this thread??? Come on Strava, we love your app but you are going to lose a lot of members if you don't sort out these ebike cheaters.  Ebikes have their place and are a great idea, but finding them on challenges and leader boards is disrespectful to people who do it the hard way on normal bikes without mechanical assistance.  Give ebikes their own leader boards, and encourage members to notify Strava when they suspect ebike cheating on their favourite segments.  Most people know what is a good time for the segments they ride and you can easily tell from looking at others ride profiles whether or not they are riding an ebike, even if they try to hide it.

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  • I'm a long-time Strava runner and I've just bought an ebike, and having my CR runs constantly beaten by people in cars or on bikes, I can understand the frustration of cyclists with ebike riders! :D And it's frustrating for me too, having to change my ride from bike to ebike every time just because I don't have/want a fancy Garmin just for cycling.

    So I've just put together a userscript that ebike riders can use: ideally it will automatically find any bike rides and convert them to ebike rides whenever the user goes to their athlete page on Strava. Please let me know how/if it works. Though I'm an experienced programmer, I'm not especially good at javascript and this is my first userscript (not having known they existed till just now...)

    Step 1: Install tampermonkey as an extension on your browser - just google the name and you'll find it quickly enough. I use chrome, no idea how this will go with other browsers - the other alternative I know of is greasemonkey.
    Step 2: Visit this page:

    https://github.com/nickbeeton/garminstuff/raw/master/Convert%20bike%20rides%20to%20ebike%20rides%20on%20Strava.user.js

    If you have tampermonkey it should automatically ask you to install it - otherwise download the file and see if you can manually install it.

    Step 3: Visit your athlete page - whatever bike rides are visible on the page should be automatically converted, one by one! If you want to convert bike rides from further back, go into your activity history (either by clicking "Monthly" or choosing an earlier week/month)

     

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  • No. We also don't have different categories for Hardtaily, Carbon-Full-Suspension-Bikes, Crosser, etc. We even don't have a different category for road (racing) bikes, which would make most sense in my opinion.

    As far as I can see, there are much more than 1% S-Pedelec E-Bikes around.

    And even silly to think that so called Pedelecs would be a fair compare to normal bikes. Most of all uphill MTB segments can be ridden much faster with an E-Bike, even if it's only 250 watts extra power. No no, e-Bikes have to have separate leaderboards. Real power on the one side vs. real power + electric power on the other side.

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  • What is the point of strava these days if the fundamental are not fixed, most of the bikes segment are topped by electric bikes and run segments by bad GPS, no new features  anymore and no fix, are we paying strava premium only for server hosting ?

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  • Folks, thanks for all your comments. I launched this topic because of my concern that Strava hadn’t addressed the e-bike issue. I understand the challenge for Strava. Leave it up to the Strava users to police? Or set up an algorithm to automatically flag e-bikes. The resources probably don’t exist at Strava to put a team on this task.

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  • As it's easy to select your bike when you save a ride, the simple answer is for Strava to add an electric bike type option in My Bikes. This would automatically allocate any rides to "E-Bike Ride" instead of "Ride".

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  • I’m that E-bike rider and I completely understand the complaints of those here about how an E-bike corrupts Leaderboards, etc., and I’m glad to see most if not all here have not sought to ping the E-bike riders because that wouldn’t be legit. Strava is great for us E-Bike riders too, and I’d hate to see some types locked out.

    This is fundamentally a problem of Strava’s, the app’s limited settings, and the company’s near complete disinterest in making some early and simple adjustments, which seems at this point woefully negligent. ...and I’d ask why?

    I listed my “Equipment” as an E-Bike right up front, but even at 61 I’m a geek and I know plenty well how to deep dive technology, and I’ve yet to find anything on Strava’s site, Support, or the web that clearly and obviously tells users how to mark their profile or ride as an E-Bike catagory.  ...again, why Strava?

    There are filters for Age and Weight, why can’t I simply check a box in my Profile, or my ride for “E-Bike” to add an “E-Bike” or asterisk next to my profile image/name and my Profile in the Leaderboard lists? Then too others would be able to select a box to filter out E-Bikes, or filter for only E-Bikes on Leader Boards, etc? And it’s plenty obvious those sorts of changes don’t need to be based on algorythm adjustments, or some complex coding. These are super simple filters based on profiles. If Strava is thinking “but then those metrics for the E-bike riders is woefully inaccurate” well, who cares right now? Do the first thing first.

    All that tho does count on trusting users to be honest with their entries, but then so many factors relating to one’s outstanding ride do too. Did you hit all the signals green? We’re you riding some full carbon 15lb feather others can’t even afford? We’re you drafting other shorter distance riders at points in your ride? What was the temp on that day?

    I just hope that most will realize that at the end of the day some of us 60+ Old Skool Roadies who haven’t been on a bike since they sold theirs to buy their first car have found a new way to get out on a bike, enjoy a spirited ride in an otherwise woefully hilly, otherwise motivation killing area, and would like to see their results on Strava too for themselves. This bionic thing has changed my life and gotten me back on the road, and that’s something everyone should be championing, even if it includes some assistance.

    At this date, this problem is not one to be blamed on E-bike riders, but Strava’s lack of response to the changing environment and they should realize their popularity counts on constant product improvements if they don’t want to be seen in the same light as Facebook and their “Who cares” attitude to their users.

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  • I ride both normal bicycles and, more recently, in my retirement, an e-bike, which is a wonderful invention, altogether different from a motorcycle, incidentally, though I sympathise with the vexation of the person who made that point. I always record my e-bike rides as e-bike rides, in order not to create confusion on leaderboards, moreover on the one occasion when I forgot to do this, my position appeared so far up the list that I looked like a ridiculous fraud. Needless to add, I corrected this at once. What concerns me is that those e-bike riders who appear willing to distort the overall picture fail to realise that whenever they look in the shaving-mirror, they are looking at a fraud. My question is this: is there now also an e-bike leaderboard, because this afternoon I found myself ranked sixth out of eight on a segment (I had recorded this as an e-bike ride!)?

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  • Lyndon, the e-bike leaderboard exists since years. Of course someone has to create e-bike segments before you can find yourself there.

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  • Jan, Many thanks. I wasn’t aware of that. I may create some myself.

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  • I just want to record my opinion here in case anyone from strava looks at it. I agree with most of the comments. This is not a problem caused by e-bike riders, its cause by strava making it too difficult for e-bike riders to separate themselves out.  

    Strava should understand  that segments are THE key differentiator for strava. This issue is degrading the value of segments and that has to hurt strava in the long run, whether by losing users or not attracting as many new ones. 

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  • Since Polar Personal Trainer is doomed, I had to switch to Strava since most my fellow exercisers were renewing equipment or switching to other brands like Garmin etc. My main interest is fair comparison with other people that does not mechanically assisted equipment of any sort.  The extended group ä la facebook etc is not my driving force. This situation with e-bikes you can perceive  as sport "trolling" imported from social applications. I do not like the mixing !.  Many people will do  this on purpose for bragging rights.  The why´s for these eludes the purpose of my post.  If I can only get 556 place in a segment so be it. Honesty and classic sportmanship is less common nowadays which I abide by. Altruistic: yes, Old school :you might name it that way. Modern : There is no justification for this kind of cheating.  It should be easy for people to label a ride as e-bike by the same token there must be a way for Strava screening  e rides that pretend to be standard bike rides. Wishfully thinking there is going to be an improvement in this regard.

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  • So, I've started to create E-Bike segments and there is no way to search or filter them in Segment Search and Segment Explorer.

    It's super dumb to make new segments for every Activity type, there just have to be some filtering of results, that's it! So I stopped doing that, it's easier to save activities as usual Ride - there are thousands of Segments and Efforts I want to see.

    I still want to compare my time to other cyclist or e-bikers, why shouldn't I? It shouldn't be my problem, show me the times matching my activity type, or let me filter, and we can use already existing Segments!

    How can I pay for the product that is broken and experiencing so much feedback without any action? Nothing is changed from last fall, as I can see. It seems like getting all that money from Summit subscribers taking so much effort, they don't have enough resources to do actual job. 

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  • Strava is for training and competition. In fact I don't know any E-Biker who is paying for Strava. It the athletes that keep this service running. E-Bikers can create segments, if they like to. (In my sense it's completely rubbish, because we have 250W machines, 500W machines and so on, but, well, if they like to ...). They can compare their times. But please keep us regular bikers out of that business. Thank you.

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  • SO, on the flip side of this; how do we keep people from *assuming* someone is using an E-bike when a segment achievement is made? 

    This had been happening to my son last summer to some degree.  Granted -- EVERYONE on Strava has the ability - nay, the responsibility - to report and question things which look "odd", in order to help police our own community.  I have no problems with that concept; but, it is frustrating to watch a young, college-aged kid basically riding his backside off on cheap steel because he loves riding and loves pushing himself and using the Strava app on his iPhone to record it; but, instead of being able to enjoy it, he found himself getting challenged every time he was finally able to best someone's KOM, after weeks of trying. 

    In short, it's demoralizing in an age when we're trying to get more U-21 people even remotely interested in racing, and they are immediately faced with "no way, you're on an E-bike" mentality, because they don't own a power meter and HRM and can't otherwise "prove it."  Each time this happened, we had to open a case, wait for a review, ultimately having each one cleared after Strava's reviews and found no evidence of wrong-doing.  Last summer it was exhausting, and his enthusiasm was really hurt.

    I am basically venting here, absolutely cannot control what other users report / do not report - but, in some cases we aren't supporting one another, either.  We need to trust the algorithms Strava is using.  I appreciate E-bikes for their purpose; and maybe I'll invest in one... when I'm 80.  But, as a cycling fan and someone trying to improve my fitness,  and my son being a sports nut, Tennis player, and fresh cycling enthusiast, well ... "e-bike" is a dirty word in our house.  Not only are we not "cool" enough to own one .... (if I had that kinda cash, we'd both be rolling on Zipp 404s and SRAM Red, for cryin' out loud) .. we sure as heck have enough self-respect and decorum to NOT use one to go snatch up local bike trail segments.  That sort of behavior likely happens, but it's absurd, deplorable, and frankly embarrassing.   

    For pete's sake, though -- let the boy ride hard and get some trophies without crying foul and tossing "E-bike" around.  We are cyclists.  Not cheaters.

    Maybe I should just buy him a heart rate monitor already?

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  • Keith - Unfortunately there won't be anything that works for everyone. Sorry you son is having that problem. One thing he could do that might help would be to take a photo of his bike every once in a while and post it with the ride when he uploads. People that question the results can then see the bike and it may help to keep them from flagging it. Probably won't solve all of it, but might reduce the instances.

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  • I want to use existing segments on the E-Bike, why shouldn't I? I'll continue to post my E-Bike results, because I want Strava to see the bug, and stop hiding the head in the sand!

    When I start my morning commute and I see that my evening ride is not finished, I won't stop to select the parameters from drop-down menus, I'll just hit "Finish", deal with it. And when you flag my activity, I'll move it to Private and immediately back to Public, and your flag is gone. This is software bug, don't blame the player, blame the game.

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  • OK... didn't get to read all the comments, but it should start here:

    Give the rider the option in his profile to choose an E-bike. At the moment you have road, mountain, and cross bikes. Under setting and My gears add an e-bike, and such profile, by default, will not be selected to participate in KOM segments. Also give us the option to flag the ride base on e-bike

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  • Javier - When someone uploads a ride, they DO have the option of choose e-bike. Also, there already is an option to flag a ride and you get to note what the reason is, just say ride was done on an e-bike.

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  • Has Strava made an official response to any of this? Not seeing much effort there. What made Strava so fun was competing with my friends on segments. Strava's lack of response here is starting to render it's most unique feature meaningless. Now you see Joe Blow who's ridin' all of three times in the last six months taking KOMs, not just by a couple seconds but by minutes, especially on long uphills. Strava was fun while it lasted, but maybe it's time we all quit Strava and start entering some real races!

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  • Hello Jason
    I can see recreational riders or beginners using the app, but the vast majority use head unit to record the rides such as Garmin, Wahoo, ETC; therefore, all the rides will get upload automatic after save. Yes, I can flag every time I get one stolen after spending a great time in the computer comparing efforts: HR, speed, power, duration, stops, traffic light, the graphic analysis I want to also give the other rider the KOM for all his effort, but I have one particular rider in town that commutes to work that I just found out he rides an E-bike. He has taking several of my KOM for the past 2 years. Now I have to go back to find those rides and flag them. What I’m saying is, it is better if this is done by default by Strava

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  • I would almost prefer a scenario where Strava will not add a ride to a segment leaderboard's top-ten places if that ride was not recorded with additionally-verifiable data, like cadence and heart rate.  Power would be good, but not all athletically-motivated riders will necessarily have a high-zoot power meter (yet). 

    Instead, if someone achieves a top time without this additional data, the burden of proof for a KOM would lay with that rider --- not the current, opposite case for proof *against a KOM* falling on Strava or the rider community.  For the E-Bike riders that DO record heart-rate, there is likely enough data for any given segment to demonstrate that "rider X achieved an ET of x:xx, they are XX years old, and should therefore exhibit HR data for this segment between (upper-and-lower control limits)" -- and if they do not fall in that range, Strava will ask them for additional verification before updating the leaderboard. 

    In short, reverse the burden of responsibility.  Users end up reporting/flagging fewer rides, and those that REALLY want to snatch KOMs are motivated to collect good data and justify their efforts if something is out of whack. 

    Admittedly, there is probably a LOT I am not considering here.  Thoughts welcome.

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  • I don’t think forcing people to use hr monitors to be able to qualify for Top 10 spots is the way forward, someone pushing as hard as they can on an ebike is still going to record a reasonable heart rate, which is fair enough. The fun of Strava is being able to jump straight in and compete against each other, be it assisted or non assisted pedaling. I have got a few KOMs in the past using just the iPhone app and no extra data, and to have those taken away because I can’t prove I wasn’t cheating isn’t fair.

    From reading the many responses to this thread (albeit none from anyone official) the suggestion of predefining a bike as electric in your gear seems the most feasible from Strava’s point of view. Algorithms based on age/weight/gradient will be a nightmare, especially as you can’t factor weather or slipstreaming a car or another rider into that. Perhaps if a user didn’t flag their bike as electric and their activities were correctly flagged by another user, Strava could try and prompt people to set up their gear correctly.

    Obviously there is no fail safe for this, people are going to cheat for whatever dumb kick they get out of it, but at least this could go a long way to making regular Strava users life’s more bearable.

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  • Do recall that some people are using a *watch* rather than something mounted on a bike. Strava needs to work with Garmin and the like to ensure that watches include the option to pick "bike" or "ebike" *on the watch* before data capture starts. I pick whether I am swimming or riding a bike or walking or running. But those are the only options. From the Garmin perspective biking or ebiking is the same because the way one moves through the GPS track is the same (different from swimming back and forth for instance) but from a Strava perspective it is not the same.

    This has to be done with these companies working with each other IMHO.

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  • Team, hate to say it but Strava isn't going to do anything about this.  Policing e-bikes has been a topic discussed for more than two years.  As you know, Strava approves each of these comments before they allow them to be added to the discussion.  So, obviously the topic has been seen by Strava and hopefully the issue discussed.  I guess our opinions, concerns, and cares don't count and they don't give a hoot.  We never even got a reply better than "We're working on it" from Strava.  Oddly, I believe that post/reply has been removed.  

     

    I only use Strava to record my miles and display some photos.  The data is all GIGO and the interface is lame.  What about those annoying "follow this guy" things?  Lame.  Edit features for rides? Lame.  Map edit functions?  Lame.  You get my drift.

    Robert

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  • Relatively, the eBike category gets more unusable every day. (EU-Pedelec, S-Pedelec, motorbikes, US-Pedelec, all in the same eBike category, as if the same traffic laws would apply)

    Searchable segments and heatmaps or an AppleWatch category would be nice but that's less important than eBike categories. Waiting longer will completely mess it up.

    eBikes rule the markets, by turn-over, the rest are old-timers or designed for a special competitive purpose. You have become a niche and eBikes are here to stay.

    eBike riders frequently burn more calories than oldtimer-riders, just differently, more than 10k runners, just differently, they often run and needless to say they use Strava Summit.

    Greets to you in the Yesterday World. Sorry but it's over, however, enjoy. :-)

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  • Dirk, maybe try more oxygen and sunshine. just because you don't know Strava Summit users with an eBike doesn't mean I don't know of some dozens in a 2 kilometers radius alone. This threat is about improving the very beta eBike categories. If you never even tried an EU-Pedelec, which is overly obvious, maybe it's just the wrong threat for you and you should go riding more. :-)

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