Designate between a "Group" and a "Solo" ride on Strava

This would allow Strava cyclists to tag a ride as a group ride or a solo ride, and also be able to sort segment leaderboards by those filters.

 

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  • I also vote against for the reasons Steve and others pointed out. It's: 

    1.) Not enforceable,

    2.) Not realistic,

    3.) Irrelevant,

    4.) Misses the point of the app.

    This is a wonderful motivational tool, not an online race. If it were an online race, then all sorts of rules and regulations would apply to keep the competition fair for all involved. Think about the insane levels you could take this to. What if you couldn't be KOM unless the weather conditions were just right? What if you had to have evidence that you weren't actually driving the route in a car? What if you had to prove you weren't riding in a group and drafting? What if you had to piss in a cup before you could upload your data? Get my drift? 

    I've requested a "Group" feature where you could just compare you results against a group of people that you identify. If we get that, then you'll be able to compare apples to apples, because you'll be able to set your own rules for your group and police that yourself to your hearts content. 

    Ride safe,

    Michael

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  • I don't 1) is a good argument because *nothing* on Strava is really enforceable. I could draft behind a truck... or just get *in* a truck. Strava already has no counter-measure for deliberate liars. We'll never be able to fix that. What we're talking about here is a way to mitigate the problem of honest riders who often ride in groups and who, whether they rode group or solo, regularly upload their rides to Strava.

    Regarding 2), I think it's very realistic (in the sense that it's a realistic goal... it's achievable). Strava already notices when you did a ride with someone else. All they'd have to do is put those rides in a "group" leaderboard. Now, sometimes Strava erroneously thinks that you were in a group. So, they can just let you manually indicate "This person didn't ride with me". You could argue that they should already have that function. Now, the next argument people seem to have, regarding this, is that there will be some people who don't bother to check if their ride is solo or group. They'll just upload and forget it. Okay... but let's think that scenario through. Those riders are kinda half-hearted... possibly just uploading to Strava to track their weekly mileage, who knows. But they won't cause a problem. Why? Because the problem is group riders getting unfairly high rankings over the solo riders. Nobody is complaining about solo people beating up on the groups. And (here's the crucial part), when Strava makes a mistake regarding group-vs-solo, it errs on the side of group. I've never seen it take one of my group rides and say it was solo (unless, of course, nobody else in the group uses Strava). Whenever it errs, it takes one of my solo rides and says I rode it with some dude I passed on my ride (or who passed me). So, if I'm the type of rider who just uploads his ride and forgets about it, and Strava mistakenly thinks my solo ride was group, it's going to put me in the faster leaderboard, and I'll be ranked lower than I, otherwise, would have been. There's little risk of Strava taking my fast ride with a group and tossing me into the slower solo leaderboard.

    Taking 3) and 4) together (because I think they're saying the same thing), I think Strava loses its effectiveness as a "motivational tool" when you learn that the deck is stacked against you. Let me rephrase that... it starts "motivating" you to do something other than become a stronger rider. Right now, Strava is motivating me to find the widest cat-1/2 guys in my area who ride in groups over my local segments. I'd prefer that it were motivating me to train harder. :-\

    Now, I hear what you're saying about the weather conditions, and peeing in a cup, etc. But all of the things you mention place quite a burden on the rider. The feature we're debating here is just a change to some of the programming back-end at Strava, and then we're 90% of the way there. Most people won't have to do anything. In light of that, I actually would not be opposed at all to limitations on weather conditions... but something like that is much harder to implement and would be very unreliable (since there wouldn't be weather stations at all segments, and many segments go through a variety of weather conditions). So, the weather thing... I'm not opposed to that on principle; I'm opposed to it because it just can't be done effectively and without being a burden to users. But the group/solo thing is different. It's fairly straightforward for them to implement, puts minimal additional burden on the users, and, when  it errs, it errs in a way that doesn't piss anybody off.

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  • My point is that once you start collecting that data, it's meaningless because only a few people will bother to record whether it was a group ride or not. If the devices were smart enough to calculate rider pack density and position within the pack (drafting versus pulling), then you'd get the benefits you are looking for. 

    That said, I did think of a way to implement this that I think would make everyone happy. What if you took the idea and took a step back, made it more generic. What if they implemented generic tagging, just like on your favorite blog authoring software? What you're really talking about collecting here is metadata about the ride and having the ability to filter based on some category of metadata. Once you start looking at it that way, it opens up all kinds of possibilities. You and your buddies could all tag your rides with the name of your cycling club. Grandmas could tag their rides with "60+" or something to compare themselves with other older riders. Mountain bikers could tag their rides with "Mountain Bike" and compare others in that category (who have bothered to tag their rides). Etc. 

    At least this way, there isn't the perception that the system is going to magically take all the variables out of the data for you. If you want to correlate the data, the onus is on you to do that however you like. I would support an implementation like this. And it would motivate me to be KOM for "Nude Cyclist Wearing Silly Hat." YMMV.

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  • "You and your buddies could all tag your rides with the name of your cycling club. Grandmas could tag their rides with "60+" or something to compare themselves with other older riders...."

    Ohhhhhh! I think I understand the confusion now. I think you need to go here (https://www.strava.com/register/free) and create yourself a Strava account and start... y'know... using it. Umm... Strava already allows for age-based and club-based leaderboards (although age-based is a premium feature).

    "it's meaningless because only a few people will bother to record whether it was a group ride or not"

    • Solo people who are correctly detected as solo and who "don't bother" will get put into solo where they should be.
    • Solo people who are erroneously detected as group and who "don't bother" will get put into group, where people are faster, so it's their loss and nobody in the group leaderboard will mind.
    • Group people who are correctly detects as group and who "don't bother" will get put into group where they should be. 
    • Group people who are erroneously detected as solo and who "don't bother"...  well, I hardly ever see that happen.
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  • I'll just continue to drive all the segments in my car, enter them as solo and own the KOM's.  Problem solved.  

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  • Actually, that doesn't solve the problem. The this problem has never been about deliberate cheaters (Strava already has a mechanism to deal with that with the ability to flag rides). This problem is about honest riders who would properly categorize their rides (or whose rides can be automatically categorized) as group or solo (and, thereby, strengthen the competitive balance and, as a result, better serve as a motivational tool) if only there were a mechanism to do so. Sure, you're going to get some percentage of group riders erroneously ending up in the solo leaderboard and being ranked anomalously high. But, right now, that error rate is 100%

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  • Well now that you say it like that with italics I completely understand your point and will no longer cheat.  Bungies are cool right?  That's not cheating?  If I bungie myself to a car I'm still on my bike, so technically I still rode the climb and earned the KOM.

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  • The italics weren't to make you feel guilty. They were to emphasize that cheating is not the issue being addressed here. There is a huge difference between good-faith and bad-faith usage of the system. Bad-faith usage is a problem for another thread. This thread is about letting good-faith users better categorize themselves and their rides to as to provide a better community of competitiveness and motivation.

    Let me give you an example. Did you know that the women, by default, get their own leaderboard? If your account has you listed as a woman, and you go to the leaderboard for a segment, Strava just shows you how you stack up against the other women. You'd have to deliberately switch the view to "Men and Women" to see the whole leaderboard. And all of those achievements (like QOM, of course, but also placing in the top 10) that are listed on your dashboard are taken from the women's leaderboard, not the co-ed one.

    Using the arguments I'm hearing in this thread, we could ask "why bother"? It's unenforceable, right? We can't do a chromosome check on everybody... any reasonably-fit dude can list himself as a woman and then go crush the leaderboards... gobble up all of the area QOM's. Nothing to stop him. So, because the system isn't iron-clad bulletproof against such abuse, then the very notion of having a women's leaderboard is: "1) Not enforceable, 2) not realistic, 3) irrelevant, 4) misses the point of the app", so it should be removed, right?

    But, y'know what? That's not what happens. As astounding as it might seem, men don't go and list themselves as women. The women's leaderboard has just women on it, and a friend of mine is up around #3 on some of them, and she's working her ass off to try to catch #2 on those segments... and she's becoming a stronger cyclist in the process.

    Clearly, she's "missing the point of the app"

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  • No offence (hope it works) but I think this whole debate have become quite childish. It boils down to a simple software feature  that you can  use or not (but Strava will apply some artificial inelegance to prevent some of the cheating)

    I guess that the next level of this "debate" will be of the typical online debate, where the main focus is typing errors..

    I am personally in favor of the suggestion this discussion is based on, but I am not sure that Strava will implement the change. Therefore I have rechristened myself by adding (solo) to my name. (Not a flexible solution, but I make a statement by doing it)

    How about spending your energy on other Strava shortcomings and errors? (yes there are quite a few, like segment matching, evaluation of GPS data integrity, average speed calculations and user interface errors), or just put down some miles/Km

    Personally, Strava helps me by making the training at an intensity that is associated with levels of lactate exeeding 4 mmol/litre (anaerobic) more fun and measurable.

    I know there are quite a few who measures their abilities as a cyclist based on Strava results. Its kind of saying; I am the champion of the world, in Norway.. I don’t know what marked saturation Strava has, but in my area its not too high, so my KOMs are KOMs because 1. Not all uses Strava, 2. If they use Strava they don't bother to crush me, unless accidentally :-)

    Last: If you really want comparable results, start swimming. No wind, standarized gear, the same course every time (25 or 50 meters/yards) , and you have to use your speedo :-) Kidding, I also love to cycle!

    Btw: did you know that its possible to "skip" the hard parts of a segment by stop the GPS from logging, and then get an average speed of the missing part based on your speed at the bottom and after the top of the hill. Guess I shouldn't have told you that, but the flip side is that if you look at the "performance tab" the missing data shows up as a "plateau" or flat line.

    Guess I made my self a few "enemies" by this posting, but feel free to criticize my NORenglish. It would be the next natural step in this debate :-)

     

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  • Torbjørn, take heart... you NORenglish is much better than my ENGnorwegian, so I'm not going to criticize. :)

    Funny that you should make your post at this time, because, over the last few days, I've been asking myself "Why won't I let this go? Why does it seem that I've become the champion of this cause, posting long replies to each argument that anybody posts?". The answer I arrived at was this: If Strava decides not to implement something like this, I'm okay with that, as long as it's for legitimate reasons (maybe it would bog down their servers... maybe the HTML guys think it would clutter up the look... who knows?). But all of the reasons I've heard so far are nonsense, and it would be a shame for an idea to be discarded because of fallacious reasons. Just for fun, let's revisit them...

    1 - The leaderboards shouldn't matter to you, anyway, because they don't represent all the riders in the world, they don't even represent all of the riders in your area, and the rides weren't conducted under controlled conditions. This argument is very disingenuous, I think, because people who post this don't even believe their own argument. After all, if you didn't care about Strava's leaderboards, you wouldn't have clicked to read this thread, read it, and then bothered to post something pleading to keep things the way they are. Someone who doesn't care about the leaderboards doesn't care what happens to them and, thus, isn't posting here. Once you post in this thread, you've "outed" yourself as someone who cares about them. More generally, however, I argue that the leaderboards (even though they're very inconsequential in the grand scheme of things in this world) are the most motivational feature of Strava. Like it or not, everybody I personally know who uses Strava pushes themselves harder on the segments than they otherwise would have, either to move up the leaderboards or to set a PR. Leaderboards matter to the users, and they serve as a great motivator for a large portion of them.

    2 - People can use it to cheat. The problem with that is that people already can cheat, but they don't. People could draft behind (or ride in) cars, but there's little evidence of that. I had a KOM, once, and the poeple who took it, they really are faster than me, and they had a good tailwind that day. I was knocked off legitimately. Sure, you get the occasional "65mph KOM", but that's just some dude forgetting to turn his app/GPS off on his drive home from his trail ride... it's not someone being sneaky and driving just a little faster than the KOM speed. Also, guys could list themselves as women and get all of the QOM's, but they don't. I know the people at the top of the women's leaderboards around here. I haven't seen them naked, but they look very girly to me. People already can cheat, but they don't, so there's little reason to worry that they'll suddenly decide to cheat with this feature.

    3 - Strava doesn't know, for sure, which rides are solo and which are group. But it already tries to, though, so this isn't a huge extra step. Look at your rides and you'll sometimes see "Ridden with 1 other" or "Ridden with 2 others", etc. It's already checking your ride against others in the system to search for a match, so they can choose what leaderboard to put you in upon whether or not it found other riders on your ride. Now, sometimes it finds a matching rider(s) when you didn't really ride with them. All they'd need to do is give the user a way to indicate that they didn't ride with them (you could argue that they should add this anyway), and that would be the way that a user marks a ride a "solo". Furthermore, usually, when Strava makes a mistake, it errs on the side of thinking you were in a group. So, Strava users who aren't careful about checking which rides were group-vs-solo will get their solo rides put in the group leaderboard, where competition is tougher, where it's their loss, not the loss of the other people in that leaderboard.

    4 - This isn't a widespread problem. Oh, yes it is. You bet your ass it is. Go check the segments in your area that you know are relatively flat. Look at the leaderboards and look at the dates of the efforts of the people at the top. There's a good chance it will look like this one (http://app.strava.com/segments/873593) with 6 of the  top 10 all on a March 11 ride, or this one (http://app.strava.com/segments/1207140) with 9 of the top 14 all on a March 10 ride. You don't have to do this just for your local area, either; explore with the map and look for segments where the grade is between 1% and -1% and check the leaderboard. Of all of the ones I've checked, about half of the flat segments I've looked at have leaderboards which look just like what I've described, with more than half of the top-placed rides all being on the same group ride.

    5 - What you're advocating will be the start of a slippery-slope where there will be dozens of leaderboards for all kinds of criteria, and we'll all have to pee in cups to prove we're not doping, and we'll have to show that we didn't have too much of a tailwind, etc. Peeing in cups and obtaining proof of weather conditions place a burden on the user. The feature suggested here does not. If a user doesn't care enough about Strava to notice if their ride was categorized correctly, then some of their solo rides will end up in the group leaderboard where they won't hurt anybody. It's completely voluntary whether you do that extra little check. Also, we already do have multiple leaderboards, when you consider that we can see it limited to our age group or weight class. I think the only difference, here, is that it's being suggested that there be an additional leaderboard for awarding achievements... but there's even already a precedent for that, as the women get their own leaderboard, from which the QOM and 2nd through 10th place badges are awarded from.

    6 - You're never going to make it compeletely fair. That's right, but that's no reason to not try to make things fairer. After all, none of us are going to be Lance Armstrong, yet we're out there with our PowerTaps and our bladed-spokes and whatnot, trying to get a little better than we were... and to measure up a little better against the local competition than we used to.

    What did I miss?

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  • The point you've missed is that development isn't free, resources are finite, and the burden of proof rests on us to prove a feature SHOULD be added, not on the lack of strength against. While I agree with many of the arguments against, the bottom line is that the case for the feature isn't strong enough. No worries. Now let's get out there and grab a wheel!!!
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  • And that's an excellent point. Goals do have to be prioritized. If the feature loses out to other, more-pressing, features. I'm okay with that. However, I do want to point out, however, that the software is already in place to recognize when you were on a group ride. "Half-done is well-begun", as I like to say.

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  • Sorry guys, i've got to unsubscribe to this discussion.

    You are all killing me.

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  • Joe the technology is in place to recognize that you were near other people at some point, not whether you were on a group ride or whether you benefited from any kind of draft at any particular time. Like I said, I get random people showing up as having ridden with me all the time. Today I tied for 7th on a segment riding next to someone, so no draft (http://app.strava.com/activities/17932811#327092375). Auto-detection simply won't work, and requiring people (e.g. me) to have to go through all their segments and turn off some group flag just because they passed someone at some point in a long ride is busy work that they (e.g. me) won't want to deal with. I'm all for a flag that someone can turn on and filter the leaderboards based on it like age weight and sex, but all these complex rules to vet segment efforts as solo are just silly.

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  • "...the technology is in place to recognize that you were near other people at some point, not whether you were on a group ride or whether you benefited from any kind of draft at any particular time"

    I realize this. This has been mentioned several times. Only the actual rider can really judge if an effort should be group or solo. If they don't care, then the system would err on the side of putting them in "group", where they'd be ranked lower, but they wouldn't care, anyway, so everything is fine. If they do care, then they're also the type of person who will linger around on the segment page... check how far they are behind the next dude on the leaderboard, check to see how far off their PR time they were, etc. Now, imagine if, next to the link which says "11 others", there was also a link that says "No, I was solo". I don't think that's a huge hassle to just click on that while someone is admiring their place in the standings (especially if clicking it would immediately improve their place in the standings).

    "...and requiring people (e.g. me) to have to ... turn off some group flag ... is busy work that they (e.g. me) won't want to deal with"

    So, I notice that you name all of your rides. Dude... where do you find the time to do that? That's a lot of busy work! Seriously, now... the feature being discussed here would ask that a user (in the cases where they A) were riding near other Strava users, and B) rode on some flat segments, and C) weren't drafting off of them during any flat segments, and D) cared about their place in the standings on those segments) make a single click on a link when they are on their ride page. That's a lot less hassle than actually typing out a multi-character name for every ride you go on, which you're already doing and you don't seem to consider this to be an oppressive burden.

    Oh, and the segment you use as an example was a climb. Nobody is suggesting that the group/solo distinction be made for climbs (since drafting doesn't help, there). If you don't care how you place on flat segments, then you'd never need to click. If you did care, then a single click would probably immediately advance you in the standings...  which is a lot less hassle than trying to round up a bunch of fast, fat dudes to draft behind to get as fast at the peloton crowding the top of the leaderboard.

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  • It's so simple. Strava should work exactly as it does now with one added thing. The ability to tag a certain segment as an Individual Time Trial. Then when you select the ITT filter you will see the leaderboard with results that have been tagged as ITT rides only.

    Enough said??? Sheez. It's not that complicated.

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  • Yeah... as I have thought about it more over the last week, I started realizing that the way to do it without freaking anybody out is, perhaps, to not try to auto-detect group/solo. Everybody, by default, ends up in the same old leaderboard that we are all used to. Only when a user specifically indicates that they were solo would Strava put them into a separate leaderboard.

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  • Not sure if this was mentioned in all of the other comments, but you could duplicate the segment in STRAVA with a name designation of "SOLO's Only' or 'GROUP's Only' - that might work - I'm sure most riders would be glad to only upload the ride that applies.  No developement costs and riders get what they want.

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  • You don't "upload ride that applies" to a segment, you just upload your rides to  and it automatically matches segments for you,

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  • You don't "upload ride that applies" to a segment, you just upload your rides to  and it automatically matches segments for you,

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  • You don't "upload ride that applies" to a segment, you just upload your rides (to your profile) and it automatically matches segments for you,

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  • For clarification to my earlier post I fully understand how uploads and segment matching works - my point was that when both segments match up then save the one that applies to your ride - solo if solo of group if group.  Doesn't sound too difficult to me.

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  • One of us (either you or I) doesn't "fully understand" how uploads and segment matching works, then.

    As far as I understand it, when you upload a ride, Strava puts you on all segments which your ride covers, and you do not get to select, individually, which of those segments you actually want the ride to apply to. In my area, we've got a decent hill that a lot of people climb, and it has about 5-6 overlapping segments ("Lower Prefumo", "Upper Prefumo", "Prefumo: The steep part", "Prefumo, from the fire hydrant to the top", etc.). When you ride the whole hill, your ride gets put on all of them. If there's one you don't want to be on, your only option is to delete your whole ride and disappear from all of them.

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  • I would like one of two options. Either a toggle that puts a (drafting) tag on my name on the leaderboards, or the ability to take myself off the leaderboards all together. At this point if I want to beat my current lap, I need someone to draft behind or be A LOT faster than I am now, and that defeats the whole purpose of the challenge.

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  • That was a fantastic proposal!

    I ride sometimes my segment alone and sometimes ina pelaton. I just cannot compare my results anymore... My "singel" performance has increased, but I do not notice it...

    Additionaly, please allow to identify how many bikes formed the pelaton.

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  • There is no ETA for it. Even for features which everybody wants, the lead time seems to be about a year. In this case, there are a lot of people who seem to think that this is the stupidest idea that they've ever heard of. With a mixed support like this, its very doubtful that Strava will devote any resources to this. This is especially so because we're talking about a change which could dramatically upset leaderboards site-wide. The initial community uproar would probably be pretty loud. Contrast this with other features like, say, having Strava automatically notice when an uploaded activity is marked as a Run... or supporting the MotoActive GPS format. These are features which would be noticed by nobody other than those people actually using them, but Strava hasn't even implemented those.

    In short, don't expect to see this feature show up on Strava...   ever. It may, however, be available on whatever service displaces Strava at the top of the food-chain, someday (which isn't going to be RaceShape, by the way...).

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  • Joe, you assume the role of expert a little too eagerly. If it was done right, the only change would be the ability for the athlete to designate/tag a particular segment as a solo effort, unassisted by a car or other rider/s. Then the athlete could apply a filter which rebuilds the leader board showing only those who have tagged that segment as an Individual Time Trial (ITT).  Without tagging a segment "solo", everything else would stay the same.

    I'm not saying you're wrong about whether Strava will implement this or not but it sure would be good to know when you are comparing your ITT results against an ITT, as opposed to ITT vs group.

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  • I'm with Steve. There's a reason why they REMOVED this feature in the first place.

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  • This feature request isn't important to me, and as previously stated, falls into the same category as a number of other potential random advantages that cannot be controlled (tailwinds/weather conditions, whether other group riders even log their rides on Strava, etc).  Also, Strava often says "Ridden by [you] and 2 other people" on my solo rides, simply because some other people were on part of the same course at the same time.  It doesn't mean I actually rode with them.  

    I'm in favor of keeping the leaderboards simple and straightforward.    

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  • I agree groupride is easier to make a record. I also see KOM's that are not posible 71 km on a climb, uphill! Strava should filter those "records". I also know that people ride behind the car to get a record that's unfair too, but what can Strave/We do about that? I know that it never going be fair but there should be rules and some kind of control.

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