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_JD_
Shkhara
Status: Gathering Kudos

Unfortunately cheating on Strava segments seems to be fairly common. Suggestion for cycling activties is to require a heart rate monitor and power meter to an obtain a leaderboard ranking. For running, etc., require a heart rate monitor. At a minimum, a heart rate monitor for activites would be a step in the right direction. This would help maintain the integrity of Strava. Will it solve the problem, no. But the change would definitely help expose cheaters. 

75 Comments
Status changed to: Gathering Kudos
Soren
Denali

Thanks for submitting your suggestion to make heart rate data a requirement to qualify for the leaderboards. It has been reviewed by our moderation team and is now open to voting.

Soren
Denali

I'd also like to point out some improvements we've made regarding Segment Leaderboard integrity: https://communityhub.strava.com/t5/what-s-new/we-re-improving-leaderboard-accuracy/m-p/10774 

ChrisBerry
Kilimanjaro

I don't agree that cheating is common, but there are quite a few instances of activities being incorrectly classified, people forgetting to turn off their computers and recording the drive home, and just bad GPS data. It is pretty easy to spot efforts that fit into one of these categories without needing to rely on HR or power data. Since every person has a different max HR, having HR data available is not a great indicator of whether or not an activity is legit. An e-bike rider wearing a HR monitor could still cheat by classifying their activity as a regular ride if they really wanted to cheat. A very large percentage of Strava users don't wear HR monitors, and the majority of users don't have power meters. There is no good reason to exclude these users from leaderboards.   

LandonE
Pico de Orizaba

There’s a fellow in my area with a private profile who rides an ebike and uses a heart rate monitor. He has many KOMs up steep climbs with a heart rate of 112 bpm which, lets be real, is fake. Either he is cheating on purpose, or is completely oblivious to the fact that he’s ruining the leaderboards, but either way, this feature would sadly not help. 

augierg
Mt. Kenya

Detecting outliers (aka cheaters) in the Segment Leaderboard could be relatively easy with a simple binary classification in ML, given the amount of data that you have available 

Food for thought to you developers at STRAVA

Jan_Mantau
Denali

On the whole I'm against that idea. I know many road bike riders that don't bother with any tech except recording the route, mainly because they use smartphone apps that don't make it quick and easy to connect sensors or they just don't care. Not to say the complete historical data of strava leaderboards without this rule would be contradicting to new efforts who have to apply to this rule. Of course there is some merit to the idea to give sensor proof that you really made an effort but it would be way to discriminating and like others said, it wouldn't apply to the case with ebike users with smart watches or hr bands.

Wjdm
Mt. Kenya

to satisfy the people who don’t want to use the tech, you could segment the leaderboard into all and ‘verified.’ 

Ian
Elbrus

I agree that heart rate data is helpful in identifying spurious KOMs, however, I would vote against it being mandatory to appear on a leaderboard.  I recently got a "smart" watch which gives approximate HR data, however, it is not infallible and its GPS data seems not as accurate as my phone.  Hence I record rides on both watch and phone and use the phone version if the watch data looks flawed (maybe 10 to 20% of the time).  The use of the backup phone data shouldn't disqualify me from a leaderboard.

On a related subject, I'm in the habit on doing a weekly check on the approx. 6400 Segments in my area that I have attempted.  I use the VeloViewer companion app to identify any Segments with a KOM improvement in the last week and check to see if those performances look valid.  In a typical week there are about 50 improvements and, of these, perhaps 3 or 4 have obvious issues (usually Strava left running during a vehicle ride after the bike ride), which doesn't seem too bad.

PeterH
Shkhara

I would like an option that implements some form of check/toggle for sensors. In cycling I see a lot of motorpacing in my area, when sensors are used flagging these rides is easy: they show low heartrates where a rider has higher rates on 'normal' rides. But without any sensors there's no real proof.

Earlier this week someone got a KOM on a segment I made. Where there was a 4BFT wind the rider had a nearly constant speed of 43kph, about the speed of a scooter.

So I would love an option to filter this, toggle it with default off, no listing for no sensors or the option to make sensors mandatory while creating a segment.

Jan_Mantau
Denali

Low heart rates doesn't have to mean someone didn't made a real effort. Especially older athletes can have a very low heart rate ceiling and very strong riders wouldn't have a high hr for speeds where vanilla riders are at their limit. The other source of low heart rates are wrist bands or watches, which often have a huge measuring delay if the heart rate rises very quickly.

PeterH
Shkhara

That is absolutely true, that's why you should look at values on the level of the athlete, not between athletes. When a rider that has tens of rides with a heartrate around 140bpm at speeds around 32kph and then does a ride with 125bpm at 40kph, it does mean the rider didn't make a real effort.

tkrupa
Mt. Kenya

I would be behind needing HR for leaderboards, or at least having top 10. For MTB power isn't realistic, I don't think I have ever run into someone with a powermeter on their MTB, I know some XC guys do it but Enduro, Downhill for sure dont.

Vince
Mt. Kenya

That's a good idea....then only rich people with power meters on there bikes can be top of the leader board. Or could we just buy a top position?

 

LandonE
Pico de Orizaba

A separated leaderboard for power and heart rate would be a very good idea and i think that the KOM should only be counted on the list with stats (to not have duplicate KOMS). Ive also seen something about private accounts should not be eligible for leaderboards and which i agree with, especially when the person has a tendency to post many suspicious activities 

danw
Pico de Orizaba

I would hesitate before imposing hardware requirements on leaderboard rankings as it will restrict participation in leaderboards to only those athletes who are (a) rich enough to afford the hardware and (b) dedicated enough to their sport to consider it a worthwhile investment. I would be interested to know what proportion of running and cycling activities on Strava already feature HR data and also what proportion of cycling activities already feature power data. I suspect that the former proportion will be quite a bit higher than the latter one, so requiring HR data might be a better compromise than requiring power data.