Why I Strava: Heatmap

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved cartography.  In elementary school my mother worried about my obsession with drawing maps of the world…especially as they related to World War II and how aggressive the Germans were and the Allies’ response…  I know. Silly, right?

Today I get my cartography fix through riding my bike and utilizing the Strava heatmap feature for premium members.

The featured image above is the Strava Global Heatmap for Kansas (pictured here and above) of June 23, 2019.  What is really cool is you can see the plainly see;

bicycling in the United States
A quick glance shows the places I ride a lot. Further examination shows travel that I have enjoyed on my bicycle.

Take a look at the map above.  The blue shows routes…the red shows frequent use. Clearly, without knowing anything else about me, you know I reside in the middle of the country…Kansas! And you can clearly see that I have had great bike rides in;

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Maine

In addition, though it can be hard to see without zooming in, there are traces of blue in;

  • California
  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Washington DC/Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Tamarindo, Costa Rica

So, as a guy that loves cartography and bicycling you can see how I have come up with my #50Miles50States hashtag that can be searched on this bicycling blog. And clearly, I still have a lot of work to do.  Yet…that is the fun, isn’t it?

How can Strava heatmap help you create purpose and fun in your cycling?

Cycling Kansas
Clearly, I live in the southern suburbs of Kansas City and I get to ride quite a bit around Emporia, home of the Dirty Kanza and the Flint Hills.

Both of these Strava heatmaps are accurate as of June 23, 2019…except…

When I first started riding, I mean really paying attention to my riding I adopted Map My Ride. Map My Ride shows me with over 14K miles since I started tracking in mid-Summer, 2013.  And I still like Map My Ride. I just like the interface of Strava better along with the being able to track my miles per bicycle AND the heat map, of course.

I didn’t really start using Strava until the Fall of 2017…though I did go in and backlog some of my more significant rides…like Dirty Kanza, Seattle to Portland, Biking Across Kansas (BAK),  etc.  Strava has me at just barely over 9K miles.  Imagine how much more red the Kansas City area would be with those extra 5K miles!  Oh, how it pains me to think of all those uncharted rides.

Power meters and heart rate monitors  and the like are not how I interact with technology to make bicycling more fun for me.  Yet Strava heatmap is a classic case of how technology is helping someone like me to enjoy bicycling just that little bit more.  Thanks for reading.  I hope you feel inspired to turn a crank today.

Follow me on Instagram
bike compulsion


Be NOTIFIED of New Adventures