Strava and Motivation 🚲

Joining Strava

I joined Strava † back on the 12th of July 2020, after discovering that the phone I was using at the time could record GPX files and sync them with this service. That might not sound particularly surprising but I don't have an Android or a iPhone. I tend to favour very basic phones. The one I was using at the time was a 'reimagining' of the classic Nokia 8110 'Banana phone' (also called the 'Matrix phone'), albeit with 4G running KaiOS ‑.

GPX Format (Wikipedia)

Nokia 8110 4G

Nokia is bringing back the Matrix phone (Mashable)

Surprised and intrigued that this basic phone could do such a thing, I signed up for Strava and recorded a ride. I quickly discovered friends and acquaintances on Strava (and added them) and soon had a feed full of impressive amounts of activities. I duly gave Kudos to those I saw and enjoyed credit for my own activities.

Soon I was doing lots of extra rides and it did not take long until I found myself obsessed with recording all my activities. The pandemic also helped in this regard. Since I was always working from home I would do rides before, during (lunchtime) and after work. With my limited time, a lot of my routes were repetitive. A favourite being a nearby hill, approximately 5km (3 miles) away (to the top) with 260m (853ft) of climbing.

Quickly I was building up some good stats and with them plenty of kudos. By Christmas that year (a little over 5 months) I had gained over 50km (31 miles) of elevation, which would take me to the top of the stratosphere, or the start of the mesosphere. Put another way, I averaged 308m (1011ft) of elevation a day, which allowed me to complete five Strava monthly climbing challenges (each one is 7500m [24606ft]) in a row. I guess at this point I should add that the vast majority of this elevation gain was done on unicycles, a penny farthing or a (non-electic) kick scooter. In fact I only travelled 566km (352mi) of my 2941.2km (1827.6mi) total distance on a 'normal' bicycle. πŸ˜†

kick scooter (Wikipedia)

penny farthing (Wikipedia)

Anyway, I continued pretty at this level of activity until a couple months ago (collecting 11 climbing challenges along the way). I still cycle very regularly (daily for the most part) but not at the level I was cycling before and nothing like the amount of hill climbing.

Where did my motivation go?

Honestly… I don't know but I miss it. I love cycling and in the end I do not think it was all about the kudos or fulling the expectations of those following me. When I get out cycling I have a chance to clear my head and focus on the cycling. But somehow, something has changed and I do not really understand why.

I feel like in the time since I joined Strava, I have been the fittest I have been in years. It is not like I am unfit now (I still cycle regularly) but don't want things to slip away.


† Strava

Strava is a web based service that follows a freemium model and provides a way to record and analyse your activities. It also allows you to connect with others who share your interests. As such it is basically a social network, albeit for a specific niche. Like all social networks it encourages you to post and get 'Kudos' (Strava-speak for likes). However, you get these for all your running, cycling, walking, hiking, … activities rather than spreading the latest antivax conspiracy, and as such I would generally consider it a fairly positive thing.

Freemium (Wikipedia)

‑ KaiOS

KaiOS is a fork of Firefox OS, a now discontinued open source operating system for smartphones. However in reality, these days KaiOS is primarily used in very low end phones, with physical buttons that very much resemble the feature phones of the 90s. While you can install apps on them, they are pretty limited and the hardware tends to make them unusable for many of the types of things people expect from so called 'smartphones'.

(I might circle back in a future post and talk about the world of non Android/iPhones in the modern age).

Firefox OS (Wikipedia)


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