Before I dive into today’s blog, here are a few of my previous Strava articles. These articles are focused on some of Strava’s lesser-known, but very useful, features:
- An underutilized, but very useful Strava feature: component mileage tracking – Published April 16, 2013
- Don’t care about Strava segments? There is more to Strava than you think – Published October 16, 2013
- In depth: Strava’s “Best Efforts Power Curve” feature – Published April 28, 2014
Today’s article is going to focus on a super handy Strava feature that you may not know about: Activity Playback.
Activity Playback is tucked away in the Strava Labs. If you’re not familiar with Strava Labs, it is a Strava sub-site on which Strava engineering releases side projects independent of their main product. There’s some neat stuff to be found there, so spend some time exploring if you’re so inclined.
So, what exactly is Activity Playback? Have you ever passed by someone while on a ride or run and wondered who it was? This handy tool makes it easy to see who you “flew by” (assuming the other rider or runner is on Strava, of course.)
Here are some of the cool things you can do with Activity Playback:
Playback Controls: Play/pause, and step through time. Change play speed and seek to any time in your activity.
Activity List: A list of other Strava Athletes you crossed paths with (+ the main activity). Simply check the boxes next to the athletes’ names to add them to the playback.
Flyby Locations: See exactly where you passed by others on your activity.
Here’s a screenshot from my ride this past Saturday as I’m watching it using Strava’s Activity Playback tool (click to enlarge):
Notice that riders are represented by their profile pictures, and each rider also has his or her own unique border color. The rider’s unique color is used to draw his or her route on the map, and riders’ icons move along their routes as the activity is played back. In addition to the ability to skip around, pause, speed up and slow down playback, you can also zoom in and out of the map.
You may have noticed that to the right of the athlete list there are some color-coded columns: “FB”, “C”, “S” and “D”. Here’s what they mean (click to enlarge):
I’ve been using this Strava Labs feature for a few months now, and I think it’s awesome. Thanks to this tool I’ve been able to contact cyclists with whom I’ve had impromptu meetings while out on rides. I also know who the punks are who didn’t bother to return a friendly wave. 😉
Have fun and enjoy!