Strava Wars

In more recent years Strava has become interwoven into cycling. Love it or hate it Strava isn’t going anywhere. Here at Blackmore we embrace the big S and indeed have a thriving virtual club which you're all free to join and get involved with. So we thought it would be a nice idea to get in touch with a few friends of the Duckhouse and see what your favourite Strava segments are and why, either local or maybe more exotic (although strangely they all seemed to be close to home!). So without further ado it's time for…


Colin Peck, Chelmsford

 My all time favourite Strava segment has to be the aptly named 'The Plane's of Pleshy '. This twisting ribbon of tarmac gracefully cuts its way through the arable pastures of Pleshy, and is suitably exposed to any prevailing weather conditions that might be on offer. If the wind is against you on a dull overcast day, then it is a lonely desolate place to be on a bicycle. However, with the breeze in the right direction and the sun on your back, the road encourages you to push on. As your speed steadily increases on the surprising good surfaces, you get the chance to really test your bike handling skills though the sweeping left and right turns, with the added reassurance of good visibility to any on coming tractor that may ruin your flow. Like any good segment, there is a little kick up towards the end, where you can really get out of the saddle lay it all down on the road.

 If you are looking for that segment PR, then don't feel guilty about taking a healthy tail wind with you and using can bet your bottom dollar that the faster times on the leader board have had more than a little helping hand from mother nature ;)

Chris Hollis, Chelmsford

Named after a local rider called Sam, that started out using this as his go-to training ride, The Sammy B has a loyal fan base in the area. As well as being a great test of form, true aficionados of the Sammy B will tell you there are certain unwritten rules attached to any rider taking it on. There are not many segments you can say that about, which is why I hold it so dear!

At the time the Sammy B was created, Sam and I used to ride with the group from the local bike shop. The group consisted of some great characters and banter flowed with ease on every ride. It was noted that Sam used this loop frequently and others decided to try it out for themselves in order to see how fast they could do it.

Early assaults on the leader board were many and a pattern of how to name your ride soon emerged:

“Getting Hot and sweaty with Sammy B”, “Sammy B has me bent over and working hard”, “I love it when Sammy B getting me breathless” ....You get the picture!

In order for these times to reflect your fitness, not how good your kit is, another unwritten rule was introduced that any attempts at the Sammy B were to not include TT bikes or aero bars. When this ‘rule’ was flouted by a club member who went out simply to try out his TT set-up and the route happened to coincide with the segment, the comments section lit up with sheer horror at such audacity with certain people demand the ride be ‘flagged’!

Deciding to co-ordinate the attempts at a PB saw the Sammy B being used as an unofficial TT course for the club with the daily Strava leaderboard being used as time keeper. This practise has been carried on by my current club, who although may be running out of innuendo, certainly know that riding with a hidden motor would be more  acceptable than turning up to the Sammy B night on a TT bike. Staying within the rules has not seen innovation completely die out though with marginal gains being explored in lots of ways. When you see riders turn up at the Tour de France with cling film wrapped over their normal road helmets, I can tell you where that happened first!

The course itself goes out up a very slight incline before turning round a series of rolling climbs down small lanes with picturesque houses before finding yourself retracing your footsteps for the finishing drag strip which is a slight downhill and being eastbound, normally accompanied by a tailwind. The course is just long enough to be a proper challenge but short enough for you to warrant going as close to full gas as you dare.

When you combine the route itself, the stories of rides gone by, plus the all tales yet to unfold, you have to go a long way to find anywhere in this area to match the Sammy B. After all, he may get you hot and sticky, but Sammy B always satisfies and leaves you wanting more!

Nick Hobbs, Ingatestone

Mine is the Fryerning Flyer it’s a segment I created when I used to ride a local loop regularly so I created a few segments on that loop to make it more competitive for myself. It runs from Fryerning Church to the Jct with Beggar Hill and Blackmore Road. I love it because you can get a real kick of speed if you sprint into the downhill by the church which fires you into my favourite bit which is the corner at the bottom. It is only really doable flat out in the bone dry and always worries me a bit in the wet, although I’ve not ended up in the bush quite yet! The segment then runs through a beautiful section of road that is tree covered virtually all year round and changes month by month through the seasons. I used to have the KOM but I've been knocked down to 9th which I am a bit bitter about to be fair. I think it is used on a few group rides and with a favourable wind… well that’s what I tell myself! I used that route for evening time trials against myself when I lived in a different part of town and it’s a shame I don’t use it quite as much as I used to. The uphill sections are really good form testers to see where you're at with your training too and it links into my favourite loops around the woods in Mill Green and Blackmore which I ride all the time.

Fryerning church marks the beginning of the Fryerning Flyer

Patrick Spencer, Brighton

The perfect cycling road actually lies in the forests of mid Sussex and only part of it is segmented. Grouse Road is in the woods between Colgate and Lower Beeding. It forms part of a well worn route between the north and south downs to the West of gatwick airport and the A23. The segment is the Grouse Tail but this only takes in the very end of a lovely stretch of road. Nestled in the woods and with a slight downhill coming north to south you barely have to pedal really to maintain a decent pace (obviously different coming the other way!). The whole road is in the woods and links a network of quiet roads that run parallel to the A23 so it's invariably pretty quiet. I remember some of my early cycling thinking how great being on a bike is by just cruising along this bit of road with friends. Coming from Brighton I ride up in the Sussex Weald a lot and this bit as well as the nearby Hammerpond Lane make for some superb and picturesque riding. A must to put into your route if you're planning a trip between London or Surrey and Brighton and the south coast. 

 Matt Haigh, East Hanningfield

In Shropshire 2 years ago, had taken only a MTB, weather was typical shocking wet so ended up riding several mixed road/off road routes. Noticed this Segment “Up Dangerous Hill” in one of my first activities and thought “this has to be done”.

Every route I plotted from that time onward included “Up Dangerous Hill”.

 The run in to the start of the segment is a one-mile long, downhill, bumpy un-classified road coming down from the Long Mynd, a 715m high ridge in the Shropshire Hills on which it is possible to get up some speed, where roads cross it the bumps ensure the bike gets some air. No question this is a road bike segment, a) because of the 9% climb, b) to get speed up coming into the segment, but I didn’t have one, MTB or nothing. So I gave it everything I had on the descent and carried as much speed up the climb as possible before the heavy old hardtail slowed to a crawl. Having downloaded my ride I could see I had lots more to do. The descent on the third and fourth attempts were very hairy, tyres pumped harder by now, I maxxed at 37.8 going into the segment and feeling good, I went at the climb so hard I lost colour vision ¾ of the way up.

 I got a 2nd, no point going again, no way could I go faster on a MTB. Looks like a load of roadies have been there since as I’m at 26th now.

Tempting fate!

 What's your favourite strava segment? If we get enough good ones we might run a second volume... Drop us a line to with your favourites and if we feature yours we'll offer you a little discount code as a thank you!