There are many ways to track your training routes to keep tabs on how you are doing, Strava, Endomondo,
iMap my ride etc, to state but a few, most of them will work in conjunction with phone or gps type devices.
They are a bit like Marmite and it has good and bad bits but on the whole are brilliant pieces of software.
Gone are the days of keeping a log book of your rides or the need to remember them, you can record all your rides and times and you can pit yourself against others while learning new rides or use it when you visit new areas.
But, it is at the discretion of the user, there are areas where it falls down, the software could do with advice
and guidelines to follow, most of which are common sense.
Try to make sections so they finish well before a road crossing or make sure it doesn’t merge onto a road, I
wonder how long it will be before someone rides straight into a road chasing an ace that finishes just at the other side of the road only to be T-Boned by a car?
Would you roll a ball out into the road for a kid to chase?
Users sometimes have no local knowledge, so rides could do with a hint of its difficulty in its title, trail centre
grading like green, red and black could be put in the title.
There are people doing routes and uploading them to their chosen site having done them on or off road on motorbikes or in cars etc, it’s usually obvious when this happens, but there are people trying to beat times so lets make it humanly possible.
Road rides are dangerous enough without adding the risk of chasing times in amongst traffic, there have been
legal proceedings linked with a fatal accident in USA where Strava was involved and the rider and motorist
involved in the incident went through red lights so beware of traffic and road conditions.
If you slipstream a vehicle when you do a route down a road you may as well be in it so there is no point in
putting your time up on record, so don’t, all you succeed in doing is making all your other rides look suspicious, It is great for training on many levels, but only if riders are honest, not just with others, but with themselves.
It’s a very good tool to keep people interested in local trails and records usage, this is handy in keeping trails
open, but be aware that footpaths are alright for running or walking on but not for bikes, it may be a good idea to switch your device off or not upload those sections for fear of incriminating yourself.
If you are out on a trail chasing a time give yourself a braking gap or thinking time as there may be someone
around that corner, not all trails are like trail centres with one way traffic, stop If it looks like you are going to upset others by going fast, have a go another time.
You can choose to keep your training private, it may be advisable to do so until you know all the in’s and out’s, you can still view other peoples efforts in stealth mode.
Be careful not to do rides that highlight where you live, I discussed this with a mate of mine and he described a meeting with his friend before a ride, they discussed Strava and he said not to use it from home for the theft
implications, he said “It’s ok, I only set it off when I get to your house’’ so also remember not to set it off near a friends house, you could be leading thieves there.
A secure zone can be set up on Strava but be aware that it is a circular zone which you will be at the centre
of and it won’t be hard to work out where you live, what type of bike you have, your riding habits, when you are likely to be out.
If you are out using an android phone and do an instant upload to see how you did, just think how far away from home you are before you upload your ride, and is your home secure.
I’ve done some rides lately and stopped to chat with people and they seem to be disenchanted with a minority of Mtb’ers who are on a mission and ignorant to the needs of their fellow trail users, almost barging their way past, I wonder why?
When you do this type of training bear others in mind it is not a race, if you want to race there is only one place for that, we may be doing more harm than good turning the clock back to the early days when mtb’s had a bit of a bad rep.
Remember conditions are different on any given day, as always the guy in front is not always the fastest and not all the people on the list knew they were in a race, some riders don’t prescribe to or have the equipment to take part in this sort of training, a whole lot of riders are missed off the chart, so don’t get too obsessed, be objective and ride safe.
So in short to keep yourself safe on Strava or GPS apps,
1. Don't create off road sections that involve crossing roads to finish or merge onto roads.
2. If you create a ride give it a grading in the title, i.e: green, blue, red, black as trail centres do.
3. Make segments humanly possible, don't do them in or on motorised vehicles.
4. Don't include footpaths, or switch the device off for them sections, don't incriminate yourself.
5. On roads adhere to the law, speed, traffic lights.
6. Don't highlight where you or friends live.
7. Don't upload your ride while your on it, to keep your home safe.
8. Be considerate to other trail users, its not a race.
9. Avoid using your real name, or putting too much detail in your profile.
10. Remember it’s a record of your movements that almost anyone can view.