I have blogged about City Strides a couple of times in the past, and once again I felt that it was time to revisit. Previous blogs can be found here and here.
A couple of months ago I became a supporter for one month, where I paid the minimum for extra features. One of these features allowed you to search for ‘nodes’ from streets not completed, aiding the completion of more streets. The other premium feature was to jump you up the queue for uploads from Strava to City Strides. During the early stages of lock down it sometimes took two or three weeks for a run to be analysed on City Strides if you weren’t a supporter. Fortunately this has been rectified and the lag is currently less than a couple of minutes, so while I haven’t paid extra this time I might in the future once again.
Anyway, this past week I have been ‘working from home’ at my mother’s house in Salisbury. Two birds with one stone in that I can visit for a week without having to take any time off work, one of the few benefits of this whole virus. It also gives me chance to tick off a few streets away from my home town of Lancaster. One of my earlier criticisms of City Strides was that not all cities were available; Salisbury being one of the missing ones. This has kind of been remedied. I say ‘kind of’ as the whole county of Wiltshire is one city, with over 6,000 streets. Hence why the Strider with the highest completed streets in Wiltshire has completed less than 5% of them. In the last week I have managed to complete 58 new streets, by far the most I’ve ever managed in one week. However, the current world leader has completed nearly 500 streets this week. He either lives somewhere with lots of very short streets, or he is very good at plotting a route to maximise street capture, something that I’m a bit hit and miss with. Anyway, below is a screen shot of the streets that I have completed in Salisbury, not all from this week as I have run (and walked) on many other occasions over the last few years.
As you can see there are still plenty of ‘low hanging’ streets available to complete next time I’m in the area.
Anyone else out there a fan of City Strides?
It’s not a New Years resolution, more of a life’s motto. Run somewhere new. Ride somewhere new. Over the Christmas and New Year break, me and my lovely wife managed a trilogy of lake runs. First up was Ullswater (read about it here), then Haweswater Reservoir (read about it here) and finally Wast Water (read about it here). All three were new adventures for us.
It can be very easy to run or ride the same old routes, day in day out, and going somewhere new can often mean a car journey or a train ride, but I think it’s worth it. Of course if you’ve ever read my blog you’ll know that I like to measure these things. Fortunately there are two websites that allow this. On the micro scale you have City Strides (read about it here and here), and on the macro scale you have Veloviewer (read about it here). Below are two images from Veloviewer showing where I had run and ridden by the end of 2018, and the second by the end of 2019.
At this scale the changes are not obvious, apart from the trip around Northern Ireland (read about it here), however, by the end of 2019 I added almost 1,000 new tiles or squares. On the smaller scale I have now run over 20% of the roads in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.
Neither metric is flawless. Our Ullswater run, while most of it was new, didn’t add any Veloviewer tiles, and City Strides also has a few bugs. Apparently there is a cycling equivalent to City Strides, but it has more bugs than a Trump Hotel mattress. Of course you could just run or ride in new places without having to add it to Strava!
One thing is certain, me and Helen (often with our silly pooch) will continue to ride and run new places, having small and large adventures.
A few months ago I blogged about a Stava linked website called City Strides, which keeps track of how many roads and streets you have run in a particular city (read about it here). I thought it was now about time to revisit my blog and give you an update on my progress.
The above photo is the same one from when I first started using the site. I had a look at my most recent Lancaster map, but it is very difficult to see any changes due to the scale. The size of the Lancaster ‘City’ according to the site was one of the issues that I flagged up first time round, along with how long it can sometimes take for new runs to be visible. Back in September I was in 2nd place for Lancaster with 15% of the streets run; I’m now up to 19% and in first place. However, the guy that was in first place with over 20% disappeared after a substantial software update. It turned out he had been temporarily relocated to a city in America. This also happened to a friend who I recommended the site to.
Each street is made up of ‘nodes’, which have to be large enough to register your GPS route from either side of the road. This however means that occasionally you register as completing a node when you haven’t. What can also happen is when there is a very short terraced road, of which there are many in the area, it can register as having been run when you’ve actually just run past either end of the road. One road that I thought I had completed but hadn’t was because there were two roads with the same name within Lancaster. That was just unlucky.
On my birthday near to the end of September I completed a sprint triathlon in Kendal. However the run section never appeared on the City Strides map for that area. Another issue is cities that aren’t included. My mother lives in Salisbury and I generally go for a run or two every time I visit, but Salisbury isn’t a city on City Strides. This isn’t the only missing city. On a recent holiday in the north east, nothing appeared for Alnmouth or Alnwick. The same happened in Belfast.
Overall then, what is my opinion of City Strides. I really like the concept, and it is a bit of fun running down roads that I’ve never run down before, even if you do look a bit odd running down deadends. There are a number of issues, and if I flagged up missing cities on the forum I’m sure they might be added in the future. I will keep on logging new roads, but it doesn’t really excite me as much as the maximum cluster feature on Veloviewer.
The other week a couple of Helen’s friends came round for snacks, drinks and some board games. As expected they are both on Strava, but also told me about a website that I’d not heard of, similar to the Ride Every Tile ethos from Veloviewer. The website being City Strides, with the ethos of Run Every Street.
A couple of day later I found the site and signed up. It took most of a day for all of my Strava runs to be uploaded and processed, but in the end I found out that I had run almost 15% of the streets in the Lancaster area, and the Lancaster area is large, as seen on the map below.
Interestingly, 15% put me in second place for the Lancaster area. Amazingly I was also in first place for the East Riding of Yorkshire with just under 2%. However, that area is absolutely huge.
In America and Canada most of the Cities are just the city, and not like Lancaster. I also found some photos on Instagram (#CityStrides) where people had managed to run 100% of the streets in their city. Even with all of the time in the world that isn’t something that I will ever manage in Lancaster because of the M6 motorway.
It is interesting to see how many streets within a 5 minute run of where we live that I haven’t run down. I did a short run this morning and added a couple of new streets and part of another 11 streets, which was all very confusing for Nelly, our silly English Pointer, who had no idea where we were running next.