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Mobile app route building and more

stefansv
Mt. Kenya

The mobile route builder is very poor quality at the moment. Not being able to choose terrain is a no-go on many road bikes. If you're touring and have no easy access to the desktop version, it's basically useless. Last time it tried to guide me up a mountain through a steep dirt trail instead of following a slightly longer paved road. There is a lot of MTB around, don't get the heatmaps mixed up!

Speaking of gradients: also on desktop, why not have a filter based on max grade and not only elevation? Sounds like a neat idea.

Speaking of desktop version on mobile: constantly redirecting me to the LIMITED app is simply annoying. I am using my browser instead of the app on purpose! Just ask the user whether they want the desktop or mobile version when they enter the website, like most others do.

Speaking of heatmaps: it is not clear to me whether each activity type has their own or they're shared. If they're all mixed up, hikers, MTB cyclists and road cyclists will all be confused, as well as, apparently, the mobile version of the route planner.

At that point you might as well use something free like Google maps, as I ended up doing. At least it has live rerouting (Strava should implement this at some point to be more of a sports app than a social platform) and voice notifications before turns.

Basically, I am very disappointed of Strava as a navigation tool. 1/5 stars at best. The only way it works now is if you are on a training ride that has been planned and mapped some days prior on a desktop, synced, and if you never miss a turn, while looking at your display most of the time to not get lost.

Giving feedback is not easy and straightforward

Going into the support section from the app doesn't work due to security issue 403, whatever that means.

 

From a frustrated long term subscriber,

Stefan Vasilev 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Jane
Strava
Strava

Hi stefansv,

Thank you for your post!  We appreciate your candor and your feedback.  Sorry to hear you had a bad experience creating a route for a road ride using the Mobile App.

We incorporate crowdsourced data from OpenStreetMap to determine surface types on routes.  Suggested routes use the data we have available. They may not be perfect and conditions may change.

When you select the type of route you want to create (options for rides are "ride", "mountain bike ride" or "gravel ride"), we look for terrain that will be appropriate for that ride type.  The heatmaps shown are based on the sport selected.

Route_types.png

You might want to check out an existing discussion on the topic and there's also been a feature suggestion regarding a potential way to improve this feature.  

Sorry to hear you had trouble contacting Strava Support.  Visit this page for a variety of ways to reach us.

Thanks again for your feedback!  Your contributions are appreciated.

 


Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

View solution in original post

3 REPLIES 3

stefansv
Mt. Kenya

I don't know who accepted this as a solution but it surely wasn't me! It is NOT A SOLUTION. Choosing the type of ride does close to nothing to help the user as the heatmaps are useless. Why so? All rides exported from third party navigation devices default to "Ride", so every MTB rider with a Garmin/wahoo/whatever corrupts heatmap data for roadies unless they manually edit the activity and change the type of ride, which is unreliable at best. Since Strava lacks live navigation features, people are forced to use other navigation devices and heatmap data will never be reliable. Thus the current route planner is conceptually flawed and just needs to conform to the standard set by the desktop feature. Give control to the user, your AI is doomed. If I wanted to use AI for route planning, I'd use Google, as well as any sensible person would. AI is as good as its dataset (see my explanation on why strava fails above) and you will never match Google's dataset.

stefansv
Mt. Kenya

Hi Jane,

Thank you for the prompt response, but I hate to say it's not really a solution yet. I had a look at the topics you suggested, but I find the issue to be different. Strava knows the terrain in the vicinity. If I create a route and save it, I can (only then!) view a terrain and grade map, see that I've been suggested a dirt track, delete it, and start anew. I would hate to have to wait for years for the automatic suggestions to improve when I can simply have a button saying "paved" which would exclude that stretch unless there is really no alternative. It's simpler, immediate, and gives the user more control.

If memory serves me right, the splitting between the different types of cycling (road/gravel/MTB) happened long after heatmaps were around, so there are supposedly many activities from the time when there was only one type of "ride" that would corrupt the database if they're counted towards all categories. Even if they gradually fade, users will still have poor quality product during the transition period. And that's only if everybody is meticulous enough to log their activities in the right categories. I'd imagine that many people still log MTB rides as just rides out of habit, negligence, or whatever. And who knows, some people might just like to ride their road bikes in the dirt. I know I do every now and then.

Bottom line: if I have to choose between having a button that does something and having to wait for the masses to retain an AI, hopefully but not surely, in the right way, I'd choose the button.

All this is just one elaboration caused by the different app and web features. It's not new, it's there, only nobody has ported it yet! We still haven't touched on why fitness and freshness is just fitness in the app, too. As I have been living on my bike for almost two months now, freshness would be a very interesting metric to me. I've paid for it and it's not there. Even if I try using a browser, every tap on the screen redirects me to the app. Tapping fitness and freshness just opens the app with a message "invalid Strava link". Money well spent...

Stefan

Jane
Strava
Strava

Hi stefansv,

Thank you for your post!  We appreciate your candor and your feedback.  Sorry to hear you had a bad experience creating a route for a road ride using the Mobile App.

We incorporate crowdsourced data from OpenStreetMap to determine surface types on routes.  Suggested routes use the data we have available. They may not be perfect and conditions may change.

When you select the type of route you want to create (options for rides are "ride", "mountain bike ride" or "gravel ride"), we look for terrain that will be appropriate for that ride type.  The heatmaps shown are based on the sport selected.

Route_types.png

You might want to check out an existing discussion on the topic and there's also been a feature suggestion regarding a potential way to improve this feature.  

Sorry to hear you had trouble contacting Strava Support.  Visit this page for a variety of ways to reach us.

Thanks again for your feedback!  Your contributions are appreciated.

 


Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

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