Spring has finally happened and, as I noted last week, I've got back into cycling. My route to work has grown from the most direct route I could find to a pretty cycle along the River Thames. The detour is worth it.
I have also been encourages to download Strava onto my phone. It hooks into the GPS on the phone and records the routes I take, speed, elevation, etc. It's really handy to look back after the ride and see the route overlaid on a Google Map and to see other potential routes to try out.
However, the real killer feature of Strava is the social aspect. All I have just described about has been available in Google Tracks for ages. Being able to see the other routes that your friends are taking is certainly a prompt to try out new rides, adjust your current routes to go over some of their stretches and just generally to go faster.
Another good element of this social network functionality is the segmentation of routes. As I cycle into work I go through 5 different segments that other cyclists using Strava all take, all the times are tracked and a leader board is created out of the times.
These time-trials are really playing to my competitive side, so much so that I have added a small detour into some of my routes so I can go up the 300m stretch on Barracks Lane… I think Strava may kill me.