The Strava mobile app is used by people to track their bike rides and runs. It’s primarily used by athletes, but I use it to see how far I’m riding and set goals for getting out and about on my bike. It has a social element with teams and groups you can join, and there is a competitive aspect where you can see your rank (in terms of speed) on defined road segments. I like the positive reinforcement I get from other users — people I don’t know often “like” my trips to the grocery store! I don’t like that it encourages people to go fast, especially on segments like MacMillan Pier where the posted speed limit is 10 MPH.

The routes that are captured by Strava are stored on their servers and aggregated into “heat maps” that show where people ride the most often. Strava sells this data to local governments so it can be used for planning purposes.

Strava heatmap of Provincetown

I’m amazed by how much people ride on Route 6. It’s a 50 MPH divided four-lane highway, and it’s a place that I avoid. I’m sure a lot of the data that Strava is collecting comes from people who are on long charity rides like the Pan-Mass Challenge, which comes into town via Route 6, turns onto Race Point Rd., the takes Province Lands Rd. through the seashore to end at the Pilgrims First Landing Park by the Provincetown Inn.

You can see from the map that people who use the app don’t ride or run much on roads that I use every day, like Shank Painter Road and Harry Kemp Way, since they barely register on the map. From this visual representation, it looks like Commercial St., Bradford St., Province Lands Rd., and Conwell St. are the top roads that Strava users are riding and running on.

Strava says the global heatmap project represents over 77 million rides and over 19 million runs. It would be interesting to get access to the data to see how many rides are represented on the heatmap for Provincetown.