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Aha! Strava is (partly) to blame

May 31, 2020

There are unfortunately more than a few people that seem to treat the Stevens Creek Trail as if it’s part of the Tour de France (although there are thankfully fewer of them these days, now that almost no one is using it to commute). I may have accidentally discovered at least part of the reason why.

Since Bike to Work Day wasn’t a thing this month (biking to work is pointless if you can’t actually work there), Google kicked off a “bike anywhere” competition. To log your bike trips, you need to install and use Strava. I’d never installed Strava before (I don’t care how long it takes me to bike to or from work), but I decided to use the competition as motivation to resume biking every day (I miss the forcing function of commuting). So I installed it and started using it.

And I discovered that Strava breaks the Stevens Creek Trail down into segments, and times how long it takes you to complete each of those segments. Thus every time you ride you get little rewards if you beat your previous times, and there are leaderboards for those segments so you can compete with other cyclists.

One of the things about people in Silicon Valley? They have competitiveness issues. Big ones. So of course people are racing on the trail as if they’re trying to beat someone. They are.

Strava seems like a very nice app, but I think we’d all be better off if they scrapped the leaderboards and achievements for multi-use trails.

From → Design, Software

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