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Northern Ireland sees longest and fastest rides in UK, British give more kudos to abandoned Year record attempt than Olympic gold medal

Strava has issued its third annual End of Year Insights report that looks in detail at usage of the ride and run sharing network both globally and in the UK – and as usual, there are some intriguing nuggets hidden away.

Among those is that across the UK, the three areas with the highest average speed of rides logged on Strava during the year are all in Northern Ireland – Ards topping the list at 25.4km/h followed by Banbridge and Coleraine.

Two of those areas are also where the longest average rides tool place – Banbridge at 44.9km, followed by Ards then another area in Northern Ireland, Newry and Mourne.

Those figures are calculated not on where the Strava user is based, but on where the activity uploaded to the network took place – and our suspicion is that last June’s Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland may go a long way to explaining why areas there dominate.

[Ed - See s_lim's comment below the article; it turns out our suspicions were incorrect, local knowledge is always appreciated]

Zig Zag Road on Box Hill in Surrey, meanwhile, has lost its crown as the most popular Strava segment for cyclists in the UK, with two segments in London’s Richmond Park topping the list, with nearly 1 million attempts each.

They’re followed by a pair of segments along London’s Cycle Superhighways (though they could also be ridden on the road) – one called ‘Bunch Sprint Away from the Lights!’ at Millbank, while the other runs from Temple to Embankment tube on the new East-West route.

All 10 of the most popular segments are in central or south west London or Surrey, several featuring on the route of the annual Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 which doubtless gives the Strava numbers a bit of a nudge once training rides are factored in as well as the general popularity of riding in the area.

Globally, it was Greg van Avermaet’s Olympic gold medal-winning ride in Rio that gained most kudos from fellow Strava users.

Here in the UK, however, and perhaps conforming to the national stereotype of the British admiring someone who tries but doesn’t quite succeed, it was the final ride of Steve Abraham’s abandoned attempt on the Year Record, announced via an emotional video, that got most kudos.

> Video: "It isn't working" - Steve Abraham abandons Year record attempt

Strava users in the UK logged 27.4 million individual bike rides during the year for a combined distance of 800 million km, with men averaging 41km for a ride and women 34km.

The most popular day for a ride was Sunday 8 May when the temperature hit 25°C – 10°C higher than the historical average.

Worldwide, 9.6 activities were uploaded to Strava each second of the year, up from 5.3 activities per second in 2015.

Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager for Strava, said: “The Strava End of Year Insights report shows the healthy growth of the Strava community and how the UK continues to lead the way in cycling and running in terms of participation levels.

“From the thousands of parkrunners uploading their Saturday morning runs to our first Global Bike to Work Day, every one of the 27.4 million rides and 16.9 million runs in the UK tells a story and the End of Year Insights shows the cumulative impact of the Strava community.”

The full report is attached below.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.