Strava mileage woe

Hi guys,

Is there any way of making the mileage more realistic on TR? Weekly Strava mileage competitions are being skewed by huge diffferentials between our athletes.

Spinning big gears at a high cadence is returning mileage in excess of 40k in an hour from guys who can only dream of doing that outside.

I was once berated about excess mileage on TR and rectified it by going small ring and mid-cog at the back. That at least puts the workout in the right ballpark but is there another, more universal fix for the problem? Cheers, JB

Short answer is that if you are using ERG mode on a smart trainer, use lower gearing to get slow speed and shorter distance.

  • Please let us know your exact trainer, trainer mode (ERG or Resistance or Standard) and gearing used on the bike.

  • Most people with comments like yours are using a tall gear (50x11) and getting fast speeds and long distances from ERG based workouts.

  • Using Resistance can (but does not always) return lower values. It can be manipulated on a smart-controlled trainer by adjusting the Resistance setting in the TR app, and the gearing used on the bike.

Obligatory reference, they are really just short of worthless and misleading (as you have found).

I’m talking about a Kickr in Erg mode and am aware that you have to gear down. Sadly, not everyone wants to comply so I was wondering if there was a software fix? So that no-one can claim false mileage.
Kindest regards, JB

Unfortunately there is no way to normalize speed readings in TrainerRoad at this time. The difficulty here is that, when you really think about it, any mileage is “false mileage.” You didn’t move anywhere during your workout :wink:

This creates a challenge because in order to estimate mileage, we would need a physics engine to process your power, weight, and estimated aerodynamic drag to get a virtual speed/distance reading. As a company, we feel that power is the best way to quantify your workouts since you have metrics like TSS, IF, and FTP to monitor your training and progress. For this reason, we do not have immediate plans to develop the tools neccessary to more closely estimate your speed/distance.

As Chad mentioned, you are more than welcome to alter your own gearing in order to achieve the speed/distance you want to see, but as you said, you can’t make your riding mates follow the same rules.

Sorry I don’t have a better solution for you at the moment.


Okeydoke, I fully understand. I just wanted to get to the bottom of it. I’m a long-time listener to the podcast and TR user so have heard many times how speed is an unworthy metric. It’s just a shame that the unscrupulous can manipulate their TR rides to appear more of a badass on Strava. I guess the only true answer is to smash them to pieces when you finally meet on the road, eh?
Thanks again for your time.
Cheers, JB

Says more about them than anything else.

I say let them overcompensate and, as you say, it’ll show when the tyre hits the tarmac.


Bryce, a couple of questions:

  1. With a Kickr only paired, where is TR grabbing the wheel size?

    • If it’s in the app settings somewhere, maybe he could alter the “wheel size/circumference” to reduce the effective speed?
  2. If a person paired a Speed Sensor to the TR app, would that override the Speed/Distance reporting from the Kickr?

    • If so, it might be possible to add a speed sensor to the Kickr frame, and tape/glue a magnet to the main flywheel.
    • Then pair the Speed sensor in the TR app and set the wheel size to something larger or smaller than the “correct” size. Not sure which way to go to address the specific concern above, but it seems possible.

Either way takes a bit of effort, but may be a sideways approach to addressing the request.

I honeslty didnt even think about this. I use a Kickr Snap and i have a speed sensor on my wheel’s hub. The speed sensor is read by TR. I always assumed that TR is using the sensor to get speed and calculate my distance. Is this not the case? :open_mouth:

I am not sure. In general, TR will choose the “best” source for data if/when 2 or more devices with similar data are present:

  • Typical case is that a Power Meter is considered “better” than a Smart Trainer, so TR will use the Power Meter for the power data (if both devices are present).

  • In the case of a Speed Sensor and a Smart Trainer, my gut tells me that TR will take the Speed Sensor, but I want to confirm that assumption.

  • For power, we can see the Power Data Source used at the bottom of the completed workout. That is not true, so we don’t have an indicator or way to verify the Speed data source.

I just tested this myself, and changing the circumference in your TrainerRoad settings will alter the speed registered within TrainerRoad. This is useful if you prefer using a larger gear because it allows you to reduce your speed by simply altering a setting in the app.

I believe that a speed sensor would override the KICKR speed, however, making that change would not result in an increase inaccuracy. In fact, the speed readings would be exactly the same. The KICKR measures RPM in the same way as a speed sensor would. In both cases, that RPM of the flywheel is translated into speed using the circumference settings within TR.

But ultimately, there is no way to make distance a viable metric for comparing efforts with your riding mates. Speed in ERG mode is based on three factors: Your cadence, your gear, and your circumference. Distance is based on all of the same factors, plus duration.

Your power output and intensity have no bearing on distance because the ERG mode normalizes that out.

I hope this was able to clear things up a bit :ok_hand:


OK. Then in this case, the OP could try reducing the wheel size value a bit and evaluate the impact. Then he could make more adjustments to fine tune what he expects or wants.

I know it’s an odd and somewhat problematic connection, but it’s nice to know that there is a way to control the data a bit for those that want to use it in one way or another.

Thanks for testing and confirming :smiley:

What makes you think anyone manipulates anything? Sometimes I train with high cadence / high inertia which registers a high speed, sometimes low cadence / low inertia to train for grinding up steep climbs, and sometimes I just find a gear that works since the indexing isn’t 100% the same between my trainer and wheel. I never once occurred to me to give a crap about the mileage on Strava.


Hi John,
Weekly mileage club league tables on Strava bring out the worst in people in my experience. People are so desperate to figure prominently that rather than just reap the training benefits of TR, they purposely choose nothing but low power, low intensity workouts - and then employ a high gear and high cadence to achieve a big mileage return. Only today, a member of our club recorded 50k for a 75-minute workout. It’s just unrealistic. Others regularly post 40-plus ks for recovery workouts. I gear down so as not to record high mileage but others have no shame. Hence my question about whether there was a software fix to prevent this happening. Kindest regards, J

1 Like

Amazing to me that people pay that much attention to such things…I guess I would just not join such “clubs” or at least not really care about the “standings”

I know when I am in our local cycling studio, I learned a long time ago to not look at anyone’s “mileage” on structured workouts…we all use different gearing and some recover “harder” than others while some almost come to a complete stop after intervals. Doesn’t really impact me is someone goes 25 miles in an hour and I go 23. I focus on the workout and get the work done…I’ll worry about “competing” out on the road.

I don’t care about the mileage on strava but I run my 530 every ride and have a Garmin speed/cadence sensor and it gives me relatively accurate mileage in the right gear. It might get you what you want even though technically inside as you know you are not going anywhere.

Try to discourage people from using it as a way to compete then! It’s not completely meaningless but it’s not far off. I’ve done big group rides averaging 40kph on less than 200W NP, and I’ve done hilly days averaging less than 25kph on closer to 300W NP. Pretty obvious which is the better workout. A club I ride with had this issue a few years ago, was all getting a bit toxic with some people insisting that no indoor rides should count at all, people doing extra secret loops after the weekly club ride to get the longest ride of the week, etc. They fixed it by setting up a Veloviewer leaderboard for the year that includes 20 segments ranging through long climbs, punchy climbs, sprints, popular local TT loops, etc. Leaderboard by gender and age group. There’s enough there for everybody to aim for, some people go for the overall, some people target being top in particular segments which suit their strengths, etc. And the segments change each year so the debate around what too include takes up a good few months of chat.

I get some quite high speeds from my TR sessions because the indexing on my turbo is a bit out compared to my rear wheel and the gears it works best in are the higher ones. Doesn’t really bother me, to be honest I think due to constant pedalling with no coasting that 2 hours on the trainer is equivalent to about 2.5 hours outside, so if the average speed is a bit higher I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

Thanks for your replies although you seem to be taking offence.
This is a genuine issue.
As it happens, speed and distance doesn’t bother me either when I train and why should it?
However, it would be nice if the distances returned by TR workouts were a bit more realistic. Hence my question about the possibility of a software fix.
People who are genuine ultra cyclists, clocking huge miles outdoors in all weathers, deserve their, ahem, moment in the sun!
Regards, J

One solution would be to go down the Garmin Edge default route - use the power and calculate at 1% incline.

Indoor mileage is always zero.
No ifs or buts.