I ran across an article about Strava Metro, where Strava is leveraging their massive data archive by selling usage stats to municipalities, planners and advocacy groups.
Strava Metro’s site description (http://metro.strava.com):
“Strava Metro offers an entirely new way of collecting and analyzing cycling and running route preference data by leveraging the activity uploads of millions of Strava members worldwide.”
Strava Metro’s FAQs page referenced the heat maps on Strava Labs, which I’d never heard of before. These heat maps are configurable to display runs, rides or both and readily reveal highly trafficked cycling routes in our area. It would be nice to be able to set thresholds in these views. But, even without that fine tuning function, it is still easy to spot the impact of Ozarks Greenway Trails in Springfield. These areas are very well traveled and show just how much cycling takes place in our area.
For instance, zooming in to the Ozark Greenways South Creek Trail that runs along Sunset Avenue and through Nathaniel Green Park shows a really well traveled east/west cycling and running path. I ride this one a regularly.
Not all cyclists cross the highway at Battlefield to continue down the portion of the South Creek trail affectionately referred to on Strava as the “Poop Loop”, but there is still a heavy amount of traffic all the way to the end of the line where it hits M Highway (Republic Rd) to the far southwest. I’ve only recently started to ride that full length. It took me forever to even discover it, because of the Battlefield climb that connects the two segments.
Recently, I’ve started climbing through the weeds up the overpass slope onto M Highway to continue out to the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield loop, shown below as a well ridden stretch of road. It’s a 4.8 mile circuit that offers some sizable hills and a midsection that is long and flat as it follows the stream through the historic property.
Meanwhile, on the east side of town is another favorite, the Sequiota Trail that runs north/south along the Lone Pine zone from Seminole to Galloway Station and beyond. After the trail passes below James River Freeway the scenery becomes more natural as the path flows through wooded areas and meadows, along streams and across retired outer roads.
The Frisco Highline Trail that heads north from Kearney by I-44 overpass, is long, straight, flat and a dream for those wishing to avoid extreme ozark hills or traffic. This is a pleasure to ride with company, allowing one to focus on conversation instead of a winding trail. The first 8 miles is paved, after that it turns into a crushed gravel surface for the remainder of the trail to Bolivar.There is a Casey’s General Store convenience store at the 8 mile transition. You can tell from the heat map that many turn around there, and many visit the Casey’s as a rest stop.
A couple other circuits stand out. There seems to be a circuit around Fellows Lake that I’ve yet to travel much myself.
A couple other standout spots are Two Rivers and the Little Sac Trails. The Two Rivers Mountain Bike Park was conceived and developed by Trailspring, a nonprofit board and organization. The mountain bike trails at Little Sac have been around forever and are well ridden. Those trails are where some of the first mountain bike races of the ozarks were run. I’m not sure why the heat map below seems to be a partial load.
It was nice to be able to review a visual display of the Strava ride database and find that the Ozark Greenway Trails are so well ridden. I wonder if the Greenway’s effort could encourage the use of Strava Metro to get the data they need to better position themselves for land access and funding opportunities. As a cyclist in the Springfield area, I’m glad to be part of this community effort to keep cycling available, safe and rewarding.
Thanks Greenways and Trailspring for all you do.