Where People Run and Bike (and Row) Through Georgetown

As you may have read how it unveiled secret bases around the world, the exercise tracking app, Strava, has released a world map showing the aggregate data of all its users. Essentially, they took the millions of routes its thousands of customers tracked and put it out for the public to review. So we can zoom into a place, like Georgetown, and see how Strava users get through the neighborhood.

(First a quick caveat: obviously not all people running or biking through Georgetown use this app. It tends to be slightly more hard-core runners or cyclists who use it.)

The app keeps track of what sport you’re participating in. The heat maps focus on just four of the most popular: running, biking, water sports, and skiing. And the heat map lets you select all or each of these activities. The map above is for all the activities. The individual maps for running and cycling don’t vary that much, but they aren’t identical.

Here’s the running map:

Runners seems to use Rock Creek and the river-front trails extensively. Secondarily they seem to stick to M St., Wisconsin Ave., P St., Q St., 28th St. up to R St., and 35th St. to Reservoir. It also looks like the run from Whitehaven Parkway across Wisconsin to Dumbarton Oaks Park to either Rock Creek or Montrose Park is a popular route.

And that oval is Duke Ellington field, showing people going ’round and ’round.

Here’s the bike map:

Cyclists are much like runners in that they prefer the trails, if not more so. They also use M St. a decent amount, which is somewhat shocking given how awful the road is for cyclists. P, Q and Reservoir seem to be popular cross town routes. But as for north south routes, they all seem equally popular, with the exception of the steep hills of northeast Georgetown.

Finally the watersports map:

The app can be used to track swimming and rowing. And it would appear that rowing is by far the most popular way to use the app on the water. And the map shows common traffic patterns, which is good because that’s how people are supposed to row. Generally rowers stick to the right, and most don’t go on the west side of Roosevelt Island (at Potomac Boat Club, members are prohibited from taking club boats back there).

The dark spot west of Key Bridge is Three Sister’s Islands. Further up river you can see how the boats crowd to the Virginia side. That’s because theres another series of rocky islands blocking the center of the river. (That spot’s called “Hens and Chickens” for some reason).

But it’s not all rowers. You can see a couple tiny dots representing pools. One is a small apartment pool on Fairfax Dr. in Arlington. Another is the Francis pool in the West End. The last looks like the pool for the Hinckley Hilton.

(If you zoom in you’ll see some stray lines all over the place but nowhere near water. These are presumably runners or cyclists who accidentally characterized their activity as swimming or rowing.)


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