Strava segments - to flag or not to flag?

by Matt eaton   August 15, 2014  

I've recently joined Strava having been persuaded by a friend. I was dubious about it's merits but have to confess that I'm quite enjoying being able to compare my rides and even chase the odd segment, which leads me nicely to my question: when should I flag a segment?

Outside the obvious where segments are clearly dangerous or there are times on the board that are wildly inaccurate etc. what's the view on flagging segments that are just stupid or pointless? There's one in particular that I'm wondering about near me. It's 1 mile long and skims the town centre, so it's a fairly built-up area. My reason for considering flagging the segment is that it passes through a total of 6 traffic lights. 3 of these are pedestrian crossings and the other 3 are part of a gyratoty system. You could certainly pick your time and be able to be quite confident of a green light on all of the crossings but the chances of a clear run with no red lights is very slim. Because of this the segment seems pointless. Even comparing your own efforts with so many variables that are out of your control seems meaningless.

What's the done thing? Should we flag rubbish like this for the benefit of all Stava users or just hide the segment so that we, as individials, don't have to look at it?

26 user comments

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I think you just ignore them, I certainly do.

I live in Surrey so virtually every hill of note around my way has at least 10+ segments covering the same-but-slightly-different sections of road. Last time I checked there were at least 30 for box hill...

The bit that really annoys me, is all the buggers who insist on riding up the damn hills so much faster than me. It's just not cricket.

posted by sergius [75 posts]
15th August 2014 - 19:39

10 Likes

You only have segments on hills? We seem to have them on every possible stretch of road. There's another one that I've been puzzling about where the KOM was set a couple of years ago and the road layout has now changed (in a way that would slow you down). The KOM was legit when it was done but it would be harder to achieve the same time now.

I'm liking Strava but I do keep spotting these little things. I realise you have to take it with a pinch of salt anyway as people do cheat and it's daft to compare your times with others who may have been drafting or riding a high-end TT bike in the middle of the night with no traffic about.

posted by Matt eaton [414 posts]
15th August 2014 - 20:04

5 Likes

If people want to risk their own lives that is their business. If in doing so they risk others than a line is crossed. I have flagged a couple of segments on shared use paths after encountering segment hunters bombing through an area where young children were on the path walking with families. That's it - purely when others refuse to exercise judgment as to where they should be dropping the hammer or not.
As for people cheating, it's pretty obvious and if they want to out themselves as types who get off on cheating the way to the top of the pile so be it, it's meaningless really.
I only really compare performance against myself and a few similar cycling friends and that's it.

posted by arfa [517 posts]
16th August 2014 - 7:38

7 Likes

Yes, flag dangerous segments, times should be about being fastest on the flat or uphill, not how many risks going across roundabouts, jumping traffic lights, you can take.

posted by 230548 [19 posts]
16th August 2014 - 8:55

2 Likes

segments through lights meh, segments with lots of horses, pedestrians, kids, i will flag, though most of these are either off road downhill or shared use.

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posted by mrmo [1191 posts]
16th August 2014 - 11:04

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I think you are taking Strava way too seriously. It's a bit of fun and a useful means of logging rides and measuring your own performance under known conditions.

If you really want to know how fast you are compared to others then join a club and do some TTs.

posted by Joeinpoole [284 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:30

12 Likes

Matt eaton wrote:
it's daft to compare your times with others who may have been drafting or riding a high-end TT bike in the middle of the night with no traffic about.

It's just daft to use Strava to compare your times, other than in a very general way. Use it to compare your own times, get a sense of where you are and see what your friends are doing.

People who use it for competition are sad and deluded.

As for flagging segments. Unless your name is Sisyphus and you've finished your previous job and have some time on your hands, I wouldn't bother.

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posted by abudhabiChris [543 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:39

3 Likes

P.S. And yes I see the irony that I have the Strava thing in my signature. I like Strava a lot but I don't take it seriously.

I've never created a public segment and when I get an email to say I've lost a KOM I couldn't care less. I do find it useful to get a general sense about my times on a certain stretch if it is something I do regularly but mostly I use it to just track my rides and for the social/connection side.

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posted by abudhabiChris [543 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:43

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Leave them alone. Everytime a bloody holiday maker comes up here and doesn't get a good strava time, the section gets flagged and removed. There is no recourse to get it back either. Pisses me off that what someone else flags as dangerous, 100's of others think is fine.

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posted by Gkam84 [8957 posts]
16th August 2014 - 13:03

6 Likes

Cheers for the advice all. I'll leave off of flagging silly segments and just hide them.

I'm certainly not taking Strava too seriously, but planning rides to take in segments that I particularly want to have another go at or try for a decent time on has made things more interesting and I'll probably create a few private ones too which will be more useful.

posted by Matt eaton [414 posts]
16th August 2014 - 21:22

3 Likes

I have to agree with the previous post... what one man perceives as dangerous might be perfectly fine for everyone else. Who calibrates anyone's sense of whats safe and whats dangerous?

There are a few segments around me that have been flagged for no good reason I can see. One has been flagged as it uses a road that for about an hour a day is sometimes a bit busy... I really can't see how or where the danger could possibly be...

Yes I'm bitter about that as I had the KOM, but move on.

Likewise there are plenty of segments that I question the point/safety of... however, for me, its just not worth going for them... which I guess is the opinion of everyone else.

A lot of the time, I think these segements get created simply because a rider knows they've picked up a draft and had an unusually clear run through a certain set or sets of light... its like showing off their good fortune. Who cares I say, take responsibility for your own safety and trust others to do the same with theirs.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [311 posts]
16th August 2014 - 22:30

5 Likes

They seemed to have changed things a bit at Strava recently, you can now see the leaderboards for flagged segments as long as you agree with their waiver saying that if you crash or die you won't sue them.

posted by Anthony.C [14 posts]
17th August 2014 - 12:04

2 Likes

I've tried to flag some rider times where the avg speed was 70km/h or more (on the flat, in the city)... Strava came back and said no issue!

So, apparently doing them in a car or motorcycle is fine now Big Grin

Yeah, Strava is only really good for keeping track of your riding, KOMs and leaderboards are useless.

posted by jacknorell [471 posts]
17th August 2014 - 13:31

2 Likes

If you have a problem with other peoples times but still like the segment, just use the 'my results' filter Smile
Flagging or complaining about times is a bit sour-grapes.
Loads of people are faster than 'you'- get over it.

A lot of my training routes are on a TT course- imagine how gutted I am to get home after an awesome ride to see I'm still 300/1500 Wink Big Grin

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posted by Crosshair [11 posts]
17th August 2014 - 14:38

3 Likes

I mainly use Strava to gauge my own performances against myself, only I know which way the wind was blowing on a particular day etc. I have just attempted to flag a Segment as the 2 second QOM meant a speed of 299.5 KM/Hr, which as we know is just not possible. Anyway, you can't flag a segment for this, you have to flag the entire activity, so that's what I did and typed in the comments box 299.5 KM/hr is just not possible, I imagine it's due to a GPS error or such? I may be wrong but I think the 2 Second time has been removed already in the last few minutes?

posted by cbrookes75 [32 posts]
17th August 2014 - 15:22

1 Like

I flagged a segment which claimed inclines of between 30 and 50% (and is actually flat) in the hope that the boffins at Strava would look at it and correct an obvious GPS error.

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posted by Crosshouses [203 posts]
17th August 2014 - 18:38

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Anthony.C wrote:
They seemed to have changed things a bit at Strava recently, you can now see the leaderboards for flagged segments as long as you agree with their waiver saying that if you crash or die you won't sue them.

I didn't know that, thanks for posting about it! I was KOM through Parham House, which is like Richmond Park but a fraction as busy, and it has been flagged. I'm guessing it was flagged as dangerous because of dog walkers or maybe horse riders, but if you can flag that, then there isn't a safe segment in the country.

posted by Daveyraveygravey [73 posts]
18th August 2014 - 6:55

2 Likes

I personally think the analy retentive arseholes who flag segments should be taken out the back and shot. It's only your opinion that it's dangerous. There is a climb near me that ends at a roundabout. It has been regenerated and flagged several times now. The whole segment is on a normal road for F**ks sake. It's up a very steep hill for F**ks sake. How does making this a strava segment make it any more dangerous than if it wasn't? I'm still riding it at maximum effort (about 7mph by the way) regardless of it being a segment or not. Because some demented do gooder keeps flagging it I can't gauge my progress on this tricky part of my commute.

Bottom line the danger is all in the eye of the beholder. Many people are too afraid to ride on the road at all, so should all segments on roads be flagged? What about all segments on cycle paths, think about the children for F**ks sake.

Flagging segments says more about you than it does about the segment. Go ahead and do it, if you are an arsehole.

posted by paulrbarnard [136 posts]
18th August 2014 - 12:21

6 Likes

paulrbarnard wrote:
I personally think the analy retentive arseholes who flag segments should be taken out the back and shot. It's only your opinion that it's dangerous.

...

Flagging segments says more about you than it does about the segment. Go ahead and do it, if you are an arsehole.

Phew ! You know, just for a second I thought you might accidentally over-generalise things.....

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posted by fukawitribe [486 posts]
18th August 2014 - 12:54

8 Likes

I wouldn't flag a segment unless it was on a shared use path. It's the riders own responsibility to ride safely.
I do wish Strava would do more about duplicate segments, riding a lap of Richmond park you do get so many segments that are only very slightly different.

posted by thereverent [312 posts]
18th August 2014 - 13:08

2 Likes

abudhabiChris wrote:

People who use it for competition are sad and deluded.

Ah, there's nothing wrong with a bit of fun competition. I also think the uphill segments give a strong indication of who is best. Taking it way too seriously is a bit sad but it's great at brightening up the daily commute at times.

posted by BikeJon [51 posts]
18th August 2014 - 14:24

0 Likes

thereverent wrote:
I wouldn't flag a segment unless it was on a shared use path. It's the riders own responsibility to ride safely.
I do wish Strava would do more about duplicate segments, riding a lap of Richmond park you do get so many segments that are only very slightly different.

I'd been getting annoyed about this, and fired off an email to Strava's support team. The response is good and worth trying out:

Deleting duplicate segments has become rather labor intensive for our small support team so we are looking into ways that the community can help improve the segment experience. A few current suggestions we have are to 'hide' the duplicate segments and 'star' the popular segments. In time we hope to use this community feedback in order to better filter segments.

Here is more information on these topics:
https://strava.zendesk.com/entries/20945957-Hide-Unhide-Segments
https://strava.zendesk.com/entries/22110340-Starred-Segments

posted by s_lim [128 posts]
19th August 2014 - 8:31

0 Likes

paulrbarnard wrote:
I personally think the analy retentive arseholes who flag segments should be... for F**ks sake.

...you are an arsehole.

Nice to see such reasoned opinions. It's given me this urge to to flag everything everywhere, all the time.

posted by pj [141 posts]
20th August 2014 - 15:50

1 Like

My 2p worth : if its a segment where, if you cane it, you are likely to kill yourself or someone else, flag it. Otherwise, leave it alone. So a segment on a shared use path with loads of kids, dogs etc : flag it. A steep descent into a sharp corner followed immediately by a crossroads onto a major A-road you wouldn't be able to stop for : flag it. Anything else : 'I can't see the point', etc : leave it alone.

posted by edster99 [190 posts]
20th August 2014 - 16:03

1 Like

The only time I flagged a segment, was where some guy posted a time on a hill climb, 2 seconds slower than I could do it in my sequential geared car.
I did it for my cars sake, not to restore my KOM, 'twas merely a unintended bonus Wink

posted by ronin [151 posts]
20th August 2014 - 16:41

1 Like

Strava Palaver:
I go, I ride, I check my stats when I get back....if I happen to venture into a Strava zone....then, If I've bettered my last time that's OK...if not well, I just wasn't on form...don't care where they start or end...just out for the ride...

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

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posted by The _Kaner [472 posts]
20th August 2014 - 18:56

3 Likes