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Why is Strava's estimated time so idiotic?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Why is Strava's estimated time so idiotic?

Old 01-25-21, 03:47 PM
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ZHVelo
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Why is Strava's estimated time so idiotic?

Maybe they specify somewhere how it is calculated, but as far as I can tell, they just take your average speed over your last x rides and apply that to the distance of the route you create.

They completely ignore the elevation of the route. Surely, surely with all the data they have on you, they can factor one more variable into their estimate?

Case in point I just created a route of almost the exact same length as my last long ride, and Strava estimates almost the exact same time. The only problem is one has less than 400m elevation gain, the other over 2000m.
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Old 01-25-21, 04:23 PM
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Probably they figure that you already know enough to figure that stuff out for yourself.

Also, just using an average of your last few rides moving time keeps things fairly simple on the programming side.
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Old 01-25-21, 04:50 PM
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Yes, probably very little demand for that feature. I doubt they put much effort into it. I can't imagine trusting something like that if the time really made a difference.
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Old 01-25-21, 06:12 PM
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Well when I first saw that this estimated time is offered when you create a route, I saw it is a pretty cool feature. Was a huge let down when it turns out it was nothing more than average speed. I can do that even without a calculator. There's no 'code' needed.

It surely can't be so hard as to calculate average speed based on gradient? The chrome strava elevate add on already does this for recorded rides, so all it would take is apply that to the gradient of the route.
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Old 01-25-21, 07:28 PM
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Why is Strava estimated time so idiotic?
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Old 01-25-21, 10:38 PM
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I don't think the Strava algorithm knows you're going to do a 100 km warm up.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
I don't think the Strava algorithm knows you're going to do a 100 km warm up.
How could it, neither do I.

But it can surely know that I can't keep the same pace over elevation that I can over mostly flat terrain.
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Old 01-26-21, 05:18 AM
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Sounds similar to their "power" estimates... which, in my case, are off by about 50%
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Old 01-26-21, 08:03 AM
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Lately I have found quite a few errors in Strava. There is one particular segment on my regular route that puts my average speed at 4 or 5 mph and 15 or 16 occasionally. It is a flat stretch of road that I ride frequently and I am a very consistent 17-18 mph rider on long rides where it is flat. I have had Strava show me going across strawberry fields where there is no road. I use Strava as a reference only , but in my observation it is getting more flawed in recent times. I was going to go premium for the beacon feature and when I did the trial it wasn’t very accurate. I tried other options that folks here suggested for my wife to know where I am and none worked as well as “find iPhone”. I am older and ride alone so it is good for her to know where I am on my ride.
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Old 01-26-21, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Why is Strava estimated time so idiotic?
Agreed. It's the worst thing that has come into cycling since EPO.
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Old 01-26-21, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
I have had Strava show me going across strawberry fields where there is no road.
That is probably your GPS having a weak signal. Have you looked at your ride on another mapping tool like Garmin Connect? You are probably crossing strawberry fields there too.
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Old 01-26-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jcro001 View Post
That is probably your GPS having a weak signal. Have you looked at your ride on another mapping tool like Garmin Connect? You are probably crossing strawberry fields there too.
Strava is the only one I have tried. It is for reference only as I said. It seems ok when I am looking for a specific address but I do not usually use GPS except when my wife is tracking my ride via find iPhone and that seems spot on . I have a riding buddy in the mid west( I am on the west coast) and he has the same problems.
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Old 01-26-21, 10:58 AM
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Try using Google Maps to get an estimated ride time

If I'm really interested in ETA (normally rides over 4 hours), I load the route to my Garmin and have a data field with ETA based on your pace during the current ride. However, for most rides ... I know my pace, the terrain, my bike, and how long it'll take.
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Old 01-26-21, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
Try using Google Maps to get an estimated ride time

If I'm really interested in ETA (normally rides over 4 hours), I load the route to my Garmin and have a data field with ETA based on your pace during the current ride. However, for most rides ... I know my pace, the terrain, my bike, and how long it'll take.
Google Maps is awful, does it work for you? I feel their suggestions are based off of commutes. It always overestimates by far.

That is actually a good point, if doing a new route, ETA sounds like it could be very helpful. I have to check if Wahoo has a similar functionality.
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Old 01-26-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
Lately I have found quite a few errors in Strava. There is one particular segment on my regular route that puts my average speed at 4 or 5 mph and 15 or 16 occasionally. It is a flat stretch of road that I ride frequently and I am a very consistent 17-18 mph rider on long rides where it is flat. I have had Strava show me going across strawberry fields where there is no road. I use Strava as a reference only , but in my observation it is getting more flawed in recent times. I was going to go premium for the beacon feature and when I did the trial it wasn’t very accurate. I tried other options that folks here suggested for my wife to know where I am and none worked as well as “find iPhone”. I am older and ride alone so it is good for her to know where I am on my ride.
Do you actually use Strava for the recording? I never did. I first used Wahoo on the phone, then when I got the Wahoo Bolt I just used that. I don't really have any of the issues you describe that way.

Not that I am a Strava fanboy or anything. I will keep subscribing because $5 per month is very little (for me, not for all of course). I do use Golden Cheetah, too, but tbh, Strava is so easy, automatically uploaded, nice graphs, nice overviews, nice tracking. GC I just use for some more in depth tracking once in a while.
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Old 01-26-21, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
Try using Google Maps to get an estimated ride time

If I'm really interested in ETA (normally rides over 4 hours), I load the route to my Garmin and have a data field with ETA based on your pace during the current ride. However, for most rides ... I know my pace, the terrain, my bike, and how long it'll take.
google only likes roads.
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Old 01-26-21, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Google Maps is awful, does it work for you? I feel their suggestions are based off of commutes. It always overestimates by far.

That is actually a good point, if doing a new route, ETA sounds like it could be very helpful. I have to check if Wahoo has a similar functionality.
My Google Maps comment should have used the sarcasm font

My one caution with ETA: on the long rides, I tend to pace myself poorly, going out strong ... then I slow down and watch my ETA slip later and later through the ride.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Do you actually use Strava for the recording? I never did. I first used Wahoo on the phone, then when I got the Wahoo Bolt I just used that. I don't really have any of the issues you describe that way.

Not that I am a Strava fanboy or anything. I will keep subscribing because $5 per month is very little (for me, not for all of course). I do use Golden Cheetah, too, but tbh, Strava is so easy, automatically uploaded, nice graphs, nice overviews, nice tracking. GC I just use for some more in depth tracking once in a while.
I actually like Strava. It keeps track of my rides and such . I also keep track of which bike I am riding and that helps me know which bikes have how many miles etc. It just seems lately it has hiccups and isn't quite as reliable as it was a few years ago. I notice now if I check the app when I stop to stretch it seems the screen is orange with other riders around so it is in heavy use at the same time I am riding, even though as I look around it seems I am alone! I don't know anything about these other apps that you mentioned. I only know about Strava, mainly because my daughter set it up for me.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
I actually like Strava. It keeps track of my rides and such . I also keep track of which bike I am riding and that helps me know which bikes have how many miles etc. It just seems lately it has hiccups and isn't quite as reliable as it was a few years ago. I notice now if I check the app when I stop to stretch it seems the screen is orange with other riders around so it is in heavy use at the same time I am riding, even though as I look around it seems I am alone! I don't know anything about these other apps that you mentioned. I only know about Strava, mainly because my daughter set it up for me.
Ok it sounds like you are using Strava while exercising. I don't so can't comment on bugs relating to that. You should try using Wahoo (free app on the phone), it works very well for me and automatically then uploads to Strava for tracking purposes.

Golden Cheetah is a computer program to track athletic progress (I use it for cycling but I think you can track other sports, too, though a key feature is power data). You can load exercise files (e.g. download them from Strava) and it has a lot of graphs and metrics for detailed tracking of performance and recovery.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
Lately I have found quite a few errors in Strava. There is one particular segment on my regular route that puts my average speed at 4 or 5 mph and 15 or 16 occasionally. It is a flat stretch of road that I ride frequently and I am a very consistent 17-18 mph rider on long rides where it is flat. I have had Strava show me going across strawberry fields where there is no road.
Originally Posted by jcro001 View Post
That is probably your GPS having a weak signal. Have you looked at your ride on another mapping tool like Garmin Connect? You are probably crossing strawberry fields there too.
Yeah, that's a GPS issue, not a Strava issue.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Yeah, that's a GPS issue, not a Strava issue.
OK, then would a newer phone help? I have an iPhone 6.I know it is old but I fight change, to my own detriment! If a newer phone would help , I would consider it but changing phones isn't something I look forward to doing.
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Old 01-26-21, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Yes, probably very little demand for that feature. I doubt they put much effort into it. I can't imagine trusting something like that if the time really made a difference.
Low demand for a crap feature shouldn't be an indicator of demand for a not crap version of that feature.
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Old 01-26-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
OK, then would a newer phone help? I have an iPhone 6.I know it is old but I fight change, to my own detriment! If a newer phone would help , I would consider it but changing phones isn't something I look forward to doing.
A new iPhone (might / could / would) help, but you can get a Garmin or Wahoo bike computer for a lot less than buying a new phone.
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Old 01-27-21, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
OK, then would a newer phone help? I have an iPhone 6.I know it is old but I fight change, to my own detriment! If a newer phone would help , I would consider it but changing phones isn't something I look forward to doing.
Yes, it helps. We're on iPhone 12 these days, and the battery, CPU, GPS and general performance is *drastically* better - but that's not always a reason for folks to upgrade, I realize. And if you're backing up your phone to iCloud, then migrating to a new iPhone is surprisingly easy (something Apple was strongly motivated to do right).
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