Strava - the online social sharing platform for cyclists and runners - is often seen as a facilitator for non-racers to exercise their competitive spirit scoring QOM and KOMs.

However, of the 168 million activities uploaded to the site in 2015, nearly half were commutes – and Strava are using information from people’s rides to help transport and town planners to improve urban environments.

The software that anonymises and aggregates millions or rides every week – Strava Metro – is being used by over 70 organisations and government agencies, working all over the World – from London to Glasgow, to Texas and Australia. They can examine trends to see where cyclists are having problems, being held up, and roads they're likely to use.

To highlight the importance of the data commuters are able to provide just by uploading their rides, Strava have introduced a new tag - #commutescount – and launched a Global Bike to Work Day, on May 10.

Riders can sign up to join the challenge and pledge to ride on this one special day. Trumping the National Cycle to Work day, in September, this summer mass commute could be one of Strava’s busiest days yet.

To celebrate the plans, Strava commissioned artist Rich Mitch to make a short video to show how Strava Metro works, and the positive impact it can have on our towns...

Gareth Nettleton, VP of Marketing for Strava, commented: "Strava Metro is a revolutionary product that only a business like Strava can create. We’ve been helping runners and cyclists track their activities since 2009, and their billions anonymised of data points have given us a unique perspective on how they move through urban areas. When we combine our perspective with local government data and research, Strava can be a very insightful partner to urban planners and municipalities that want to promote and improve cycling in their city."

He added: “Your Strava commute counts because every activity has the potential to make a difference to cycling in your area. It doesn’t matter if you ride 1 mile or 50 miles, if you ride to work on 10th May you can be a part of a global movement to make cities better for cyclists."

To sign up for the Bike to Work day, check out the site here - and you can get more information on Strava Metro here.

Feature image: George Marshall (Strava)