Trailforks Tutorial: Syncing Strava Rides

Jul 7, 2016
by Brent Hillier  
Trailforks tutorial header

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Connect your Strava account to Trailforks and automatically import your rides. Take advantage of Trailforks ride logs to view your rides on a trail map, track rides, and dig deep into a wealth of personal statistics.

Trail usage statistics

Ride logs are used to gather region usage stats that can help Trail Associations gain funding from Land Managers and Local Government.

Trail network stats and trail usage stats from ridelogs amp checkins.

In addition, ride logs help to populate the Trailforks Heatmap.

worldwide mountain biking heatmap

New to Trailforks? Learn more about the App here, and more about the website here. Have a question you want answered about Trailforks? Leave it in the comments below and stay tuned for more Trailforks Tutorials.


MENTIONS: @trailforks / @brenthillier



89 Comments

  • + 36
 but does it track time spent in the parking lot, talking shit?
  • + 2
 @properp: When three or four people go on a group ride and distance varies from 20-25km and the elevation is no better either.
  • + 4
 @gonecoastal: It is so TRUE. Strava would be the bomb if it was only spot on every time. For better or worse Strava is still fun to use. I love to use the phrase (They must be on Strava) every time some one rudely blasts through a social group of riders on the trail and doses not speak to you. At least we can all agree to make fun of Strava.
  • + 15
 The best part about trail forks has been that unlike strava it only contains trails that are approved by the local MTB groups so it keeps unsancioned and contentious ( read trail access concerns) trails off the radar of the larger riding community...strava doesn't do this ....which is why strava has been a serious problem when discussing trail development with your local authorities....hard to argue with a heat map showing people poaching trails....I don't strava but made an account sone time back just to keep track of what's happening...and personally I think the trail forks approach which is driven by the local biking community and allows you to give back to that same community is a way better approach then strava gps'ing every inch of trail you ride....
  • + 6
 One can both mark rides as private and set it so that your rides don't appear in the heat map on Strava. Anyone using Strava on unsanctioned trails that doesn't do these two things is an idiot.
  • + 2
 @adrenalated:

Marking a ride as private isn't the same thing as taking it off the heatmap. Heatmap is a seperate check box that's hard to find.
  • + 1
 @UtahBikeMike: yes, that is correct. Sorry if I implied they are the same setting, you do indeed have to do it separately.
  • + 2
 @adrenalated:

" Anyone using Strava on unsanctioned trails that doesn't do these two things is an idiot."

Anyone riding unsanctioned trails is an idiot. Setting a program application feature does not stop the hikers from taking pictures or video and giving it to authorities, strengthening their safety concerns, allowing MTB to be further restricted.
  • + 1
 Trail forks didnt have half the trails in my area and had more pirate trails on it then sanctioned trails....
  • + 1
 Many unsanctioned trails in Trail Forks too
  • + 1
 @XCMark: I dont know where you live, but for many of us, unsanctioned trails are what we got. If we only rode the legal stuff, we'd be doing hot laps around the same quarter mile until we died of boredom
  • + 14
 Segment explorer in Strava has been a world of help since moving out to Spain with my bike. I dont know where I would be without it.
  • + 5
 This^^ @Geoffafa I first used it when a guy we met on the top of a mountain told me vague directions to a couple of tracks.. I just used the explore and was amazed. Especially good when you see a bit of forest you suspect would be good.. then go and find someone has actually put something there! Leave no litter, repair damage as usual.
  • + 2
 I agree. Segment Explorer on Strava is amazing and I use it all of the time to discover trails in an unfamiliar region.
  • + 3
 @johnnyo5: @Geoffafa You can view popular Strava segments on the Trailforks map, look for the option in the top left layers dropdown.
  • + 3
 Trailforks app is much better. It will download to your phone, so you can use it offline. The controls and map are easier to use, as well. Segment explorer gets jumbled with people making 10000s of segments in a small canyon.
  • + 1
 @UtahBikeMike: TrailForks is good for some regions but not in many others. Strave on the other hand has really good global support.
  • + 9
 don't know how I feel about this...I miss the days when trail locations were earned or learned through word of mouth.
  • + 27
 which is useless if you're going abroad and don't know where to start... this is a great idea for people to ride trails in areas unknown to them!
  • + 14
 Don't strava your rides then
  • + 5
 Those are still out there, keep looking Smile
  • + 0
 @LNWeth: its great to meet the locals and learn where to ride when you are in a new area. Strava has never shared a beer with me after a ride at the trail head. Nor has strava ever said 'yes trail A is great and very popular but in August trail B is where you really want to be, it as a hidden gem...'
  • + 2
 @Gasket-Jeff: so how do you meet the locals if you don't know where any of the trails are to go and bump into them...
  • + 6
 @Gareth-R: Im not saying stay away from evil technology like Pol Pot, you can always find great trails on the interweb, including strava. Strava often seems to turn mtb into a never ending virtual cock fight. I found wonderful trails in Fernie just by picking up a local magazine. I found great trails in Kelowna just by talking to a guy at the LBS. On day at FAR (fernie bike park) a complete stranger came up to a friend and I and showed us the best trails to ride, I learned about Sandy Ridge in Oregon just by word of mouth and planned my trip around it, once there locals pointed me to the good trails and explained the differences between the trails (opposed to a line and a KOM).... Strava tends to put blinders on and limit you to the sterile knowledge base it has. Racing is also so much more fun when it is with people at an event and not a stat.

To bolster strava love tho Waki did show me how strava helps training and improve speeds.

I think strava should be used like a hallucinogenic drug, you and your friends can take it when you go for a ride, but keep a spotter on hand who is not stravaing to point when you are veering away from the amazingness of mtb. Stay safe and dont let it get out of hand.
  • + 2
 @ledude the trouble is continued access. All of this data will (or is being) used by local parks and law enforcement. Don't use Strava. Make some friends, support your local riding community, and put in some miles or build your own trial. Riding is more enjoyable that way.
  • + 4
 @nicolai12: Agree, that's why Trailforks works closely with over 1000 Trail Associations around the world. We help with trail management, user stats, funding and promotion. We're making sure that data helps the bike world because up until now it's only hurt us.
  • + 1
 @brenthillier: Thank you for addressing this. It would be great to let your users know the power of spatial data and how it can be used for tracking rider speeds (max.) on mixed use trails, location, use frequency, and interactions between users. A tutorial on making your data private is needed.

Also, how can we remove illegal trails which are being shown as public data?
  • + 2
 @nicolai12: Right now the technology just can't accurately track speeds and times. (Yes, that means everyones KOMs mean nothing)

If a trail shouldn't be public on Trailforks then flag it or send me an email. (brent@pinkbike.com)

If a Trailforks user adds a ridelog that includes a hidden trail, that ridelog is automatically made "sensitive" and the map is hidden. Asking mountain bikers to turn there Strava off when riding sensitive trails isn't working so we've automated it into Trailforks.

In addition, any hidden trails are not included in our heatmap.
  • + 1
 @brenthillier: Your work will go a very long way in ensuring the future of mountain biking in sensitive and mixed use areas - much appreciated!
  • + 2
 @nicolai12:

I agree, and to be clear- I rarely use strava (can count the number of times on one hand still).

Simply put, there are benefits to both apps ( strava and trailforks) and I appreciate what they have to offer. However, there is a steep price to pay for all th is information made visible to EVERYONE. I think tj ere should be some discretion exercised when it comes to considerations of trail access issues that a lot of our communities face.
  • + 1
 @brenthillier: Is there a way to sync previous data to my trailforks account? I have a lot of rides logged with strava and I dont really want to start all over. Will I have to add bikes on both Strava and Trailforks?
  • + 3
 @ledude: If a trail shouldn't be public on Trailforks then flag it or send me an email. (brent@pinkbike.com)

If a Trailforks user adds a ridelog that includes a hidden trail, that ridelog is automatically made "sensitive" and the map is hidden. Asking mountain bikers to turn their Strava off when riding sensitive trails isn't working so we've automated it into Trailforks.

In addition, any hidden trails are not included in our heatmap.
  • + 5
 If you have the autosynch option ON and happen to track a road ride one day instead, will it still attempt to add this ride log to your trailforks account? Or does trailforks recognize that you are not on a designated trail and therefore not log it?
  • + 2
 You can set it up to go off of your bike profiles both on Strava and Trailforks. After setting up all your bikes in both you can configure the auto import from Strava to exclude certain bikes from the upload.
  • + 1
 @zoose: Like Zoose said, you can set Trailforks to filter our rides by bike. Or if it's marked as a "commute" it won't be included. However if a ridelog has 0 matched trails, then it won't be used towards our Trailforks heatmap.
  • + 1
 @canadaka: Is there a way to sync previous data to my trailforks account? I have a lot of rides logged with strava and I dont really want to start all over. Will I have to add bikes on both Strava and Trailforks?
  • + 0
 @lockinup101: Yes we have 3 methods of adding ridelogs from Strava.
1) Import rides manually individually.
2) Bulk import your past rides.
3) Setup auto-importing for your future rides.

You will have to wait a day or 2 for the bulk import feature to be available again, as this article has created a surge in activity and we've reached our daily limits.

You do have to create your bikes on Trailforks if you want to track them, you can import your bikes from Strava though, rather than re-creating by hand.

Best to follow the Strava Guide: www.trailforks.com/ridelog/stravaguide

But like I said, none of the Strava features are going to work for the rest of today.
  • + 1
 @canadaka: So your app was not built to scale. Move your servers to AWS or Azure ;-).
  • + 2
 @meesterover: it is not a server problem. Strava API has a usage limit of total requests per day and hour. We've hit it. Pinkbike has more then enough server infrastructure. www.pinkbike.com/photo/13605596

Normally there is not such a surge in people trying to bulk import Strava rides at once.
strava.github.io/api/#rate-limiting
  • + 1
 @canadaka: Got it. That is lame on Strava's end.
  • + 8
 Everytime I try to import Strava rides, I get: "Strava API Limit reach, tray again later"
  • + 3
 Ditto
  • + 3
 Same here can't import strava rides.
  • + 2
 @danieljohnkelly: Just started working for me.
Looks like the usage is spiking past the shorttime concurrent call limit.
  • + 2
 @scar4me: I've still got the API limit error Frown
  • + 2
 Working now Smile
  • + 2
 @danieljohnkelly: Are you using auto-import? Send me a PM if this keeps happening. We can only pull so much from Strava at one time.
  • + 2
 @brenthillier: Same for me
  • + 4
 There are daily and hourly limits to our usage of the Strava API. On a normal day its all fine, but when we post a mention of this sync feature on Facebook or PB, it spikes and we go over the limit. However there is now a queue system in place, so your rides should get processed over time, given the huge surge today, it may take a few days before it gets back to normal. Normally it imports your ride within 10-60 minutes of you posting it on Strava. But atm we have hit the 30,000 daily limit and have another 22,000 rides in the queue.
  • + 2
 Same here.
  • + 5
 Will there ever be a function in the trail forks app to record rides? I've come to the point where I only use Strava to get the data to Trailforks.
  • - 1
 ^^ This!! I hate strava. I used to use Google mytracks to get the gps file. but it is more difficult and google no longer supports mytracks. mytracks would give better info than strava. strava is for roadbikers and ppl who want biking to be a video game.
  • + 4
 @Gasket-Jeff: Strava is a recording app. You can choose to use it as a video game or a social network if you want. Or, you can use it to record your rides, sync them into trailforks, and enjoy. It's not like they force you to follow people or join challenges or try for KOMs.
  • - 1
 @igxqrrl: Agreed, however prior to strava (or strava making it over to mtb from the lycra world) I had never heard nor used the terms 'strava short cut' or (more importantly) 'strava a$$whole'
  • + 4
 You're not the first to request it!
  • + 4
 Strava isn't the only way you can contribute Ridelog data, you can also use MapMyRide, or import your GPX files manually from a Garmin or other device. As far as the Trailforks app... this is probably our most requested feature...
  • + 1
 There are lots of apps that perform that :
on android :
mytracks > discontinued
GPQ Logger > great and lite but not very user friendly
  • + 3
 I am not too familiar with Strava. It would be kind of cool to have a record of my rides, kind of like a journal. Is there anyway to turn off the sharing though? I'd hate to have my data go towards shutting down trails.
  • + 3
 Trailforks ridelog feature was original started as a simple journal of how many days a year you ride. You can choose to make your ridelogs private, you can also make your profile private. As far as Strava, you can also make your profile private and you can also opt out of the public Strava heatmap, so your rides don't contribute to that.
  • + 1
 What is the sync que. I didn't have any problems syncing my strava before but now it says I have a few rides that are in the que. It's been almost 24hours since my last ride and while it's on strava, it hasn't synced to trail forks? What's going on?
  • + 1
 @brenthillier I tried uploading all my strava rides from the last 6 months last night and Trailforks said it had uploaded them but they are not appearing in my Trailforks ridelog this morning yet. Is it normal that it takes this long or is something wrong?
  • + 0
 We've reached our daily limit from what we can pull from Strava. Your rides are in a queue and will appear soon. We don't normally hit the Strava limit but since this article everyone is uploading their rides.
  • + 5
 Paper maps reign supreme!
  • + 1
 Is it possible to deactivate strava dick contest on trails you own/maintain ?
One of my trail is completely destroyed since a bunch of idiots started shortcutting to appear on top of strava's leaderboard.
  • + 1
 You and a few friends can flag the section as dangerous and strava won't show a leaderboard. There are sections in the city that go through lights and busy traffic that no longer have leaderboards.
  • + 1
 We cannot control what happens on Strava. But on Trailforks we have the option to disable leaderboards for a specific trail.
  • + 1
 @canadaka: Try what I suggested. Strava went through a horrible trial accused of killing a guy because he died trying to reclaim his KOM (google strava Berkeley death). As a consequence, strava remove leaderboards at the drop of a hat. You have nothing to lose.
  • + 1
 I've done the Bulk Past Import and now under My Ride Logs, I have had "You have 47 strava activities in the sync queue." in a red box at the top for four days. Is it ever going to list them?
  • + 3
 But can it see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
  • + 3
 This seems about as worthless as a bag of dicks without a handle.
  • + 1
 hahahaha
  • + 1
 +1 for the user name and the comment! Wish I could give props for both. \m/
  • + 3
 I'm a fan of your analogy but uploading rides to Trailforks is extremely valuable. Data is king! If you don't want trails shut down then you need to prove they are an asset for the community. Collecting and gathering numbers is the only way to do this.
  • + 3
 @brenthillier: Until everyone uses it for every ride the data isn't accurate.??
  • + 4
 @inverted180: Not true, actual numbers are gathered via trail counters. What Trailforks does is collect demographics: male vs female, age, visitor vs local. We can then extrapolate that data using data gathered via a trail counter. I've worked hard over the last two years to compare our stats to other studies that have been completed in various locations. So far our stats are comparable and we didn't need 10 volunteers interviewing riders as they load and unload there cars.
  • + 1
 @brenthillier: never thought if it this way...we never track our riding...but may just start an account if I know the info goes to good use such as trail access
  • + 2
 maps and the art of conversation - doesn't require network signal or batteries
  • + 1
 Is the strava #privacyZone excluded in the upload to trailforks? A lot of my trails almost start at my doorstep...
  • + 1
 @brenthillier Do you guys ever need additional GIS manpower? I'm in Squamish.
  • + 3
 Straaaava tards
  • + 2
 Just say no
  • + 1
 Is this only for people that are a Premium user on Strava?
  • + 1
 nope, all Strava users can connect their accounts to Trailforks.
  • + 1
 why this app isn't on Windows phone?
  • - 1
 #stravadrama

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