Bad news: My cheeky hack to get Strava data into Google Sheets is no longer necessary.
Good news: Things got a whole lot simpler last month when IFTTT officially started supporting Strava! Instead of following the instructions in this article, I strongly recommend using this IFTTT recipe.
Last year (2014) I made a goal of cycling or running to work at least 100 times. I ended up doing 172!
This year, I moved from Canada to London, but not before doing over 252 commutes! (Note: I stretched the definition of commute to include any time I saved at least 5km of driving or transit)
I won’t reach 300 this year (my original goal) but instead of going sans goal until 2016 (I am very motivated by goals, even if they are completely arbitrary), I decided to set a new goal.
Cycle 1000km on my “new” bike before the end of the year.
So I made a quick chart in Excel.
But then I realized that this would be a great opportunity for some tinkering. You see, the Excel chart above requires the dreaded MANUAL DATA ENTRY. If there was a way for me to use my beloved Strava to automatically update a similar chart, I’d be set.
So I tried to plug into the Strava API. But then got a little overwhelmed when it started asking me about authorization codes and application names.
I then went to my favorite “automate everything” site, IFTTT. While they don’t support Strava directly, they do support RSS feeds, and FeedMyRide allows you to create an RSS feed from your Strava activities. IFTTT allowed me to easily create a recipe for hooking up RSS to Google Sheets.
Add in some parsing, some array formulas, and a nice chart et voila: As you can see here, I now have automatic updating of my progress toward my goal!
I’m a little behind on my goal as I write this(November 24), so stay tuned to see if I manage to catch up!
I did it! I ran into a few hiccups along the way, such as four (mostly) unrelated flat tires in two days, an unexpected house move closer to work, and a cold/flu that lingered for a couple weeks, but my mileage at midnight on December 31st, 2015 was 1011.9km*.
*One little disclaimer: I had to cheat a little by including the approximately 50km I cycled in Copenhagen while on vacation there, so technically my new bike’s 2016 mileage was just under 1000km.
Anyway, I found it a very powerful motivator to have my goal out in public for all to see (even though, if we’re being honest, I’d be surprised if more than two people saw said goal). Also, I really enjoyed trying to keep the blue line above the red line in real time. And I absolutely loved exploring the sights of London. I may not keep up the pace of 500 km per month in 2016 but I can see myself continuing to cycle to work most days.