Whether it’s running or cycling, we all have our favourite Strava segments – but what does it take to craft a relevant and memorable name?
One of Strava’s most popular features is our segments. Every user will have at some point noticed the names of local segments on runs or rides, some of them eventually becoming as familiar as the names of the streets you travel down on your activities. Even more so if you ever reach Local Legend status by completing a segment more times than anyone else within a 90-day period.
But as segments are created and named by Strava users, some are more inspired than others. So rather than ‘Segment 1’ or ‘High Street blast’, you might occasionally see more imaginative, thought-provoking and amusing names that stick in your mind or even make you laugh.
If you’re looking to create a segment and want to make it stand out from the crowd, here’s our advice on ways to give it a name that makes users sit up and take notice, while we also pay tribute to some of the most inspiring efforts we’ve seen.
Reference popular culture
The effect of film and TV permeates through Strava’s segment names. There are plenty of segments marking iconic film locations, such as Rocky steps, up and down in Philadelphia, or Forrest Gump point, the location in Monument Valley where Gump decided he was done with his epic run.
But, often, segments can provide a clue to filming locations that you may not have been aware of – for example, Bourne Wood, near Farnham, England, was the filming location for some of Gladiator’s battle scenes, hence you’ll find In this life and the next, or Hankley common’s Skyfall ridge overlooking where the climax of the film was shot.
And, of course, what festive season isn’t complete without a run past Kevin McCallister’s abode (located in Wittenka, Chicago), aptly named Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!?
The alternative to flagging a filming location is simply using film or TV programme quotes. References to The Simpsons pop up all over the world, whether it’s ‘Me fail English? That’s unpossible’ on Cliffe Drive, Bradford, England, or ‘Loneliness and cheesburgers are a dangerous mix’ in Adelaide.
You’ll also find Friends-referencing ‘Smelly Cat’, Howe you doin’? (next to Howe Rd, Fishers, Indiana) and Could it BE any steeper? on the 14% climb in Hood River, Oregon. And sometimes quotes link into the surrounding area, such as the Alan Partridge-referencing ‘Smell my cheese, you mother!’ in Cheshire, an area famous for cheese production.
For soap opera fans, there’s an array of seemingly random segments named after soap stars, including Coronation Street’s Gail Platt in Truro, EastEnders’ Pat Butcher in Sunderland, Neighbours’ Harold Bishop in Westhill, and Dallas’s JR Ewing was a bad, bad man in West Grove.
Whether listening to music while running, or using street names to inspire song-based segments (Backstreet’s Back Alright! on Back St, Montoursville, Pennsylvania or Nutbush City Limits on Nut Bush Lane), musical segments are always a joy to stumble across.
While researching this, we tallied around 250 ‘Highways to Hell’ (AC/DC), more than 350 ‘Roads To Nowhere’ (Talking Heads), 20 ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ (U2) and 120 ‘Running Up That Hill’s (Kate Bush).
A common favourite song for runners is a certain Rick Astley banger from 1987: accordingly, there are 19 segments called ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, culminating in the fantastic, if a little long, https://www.strava.com/segments/31982718.
For those who enjoy a little wordplay in their segments, song-based puns include Dubh Be Good To Me (ending at Loch Dubh) in Scotland, 99 Problems But The Batch Ain’t One (on The Batch climb in Butcombe) and the frankly just-about-passable What’s The Frequency, Kenilworth? on Kenilworth Road.
Then, as with films, you have segments marking historic musical moments, such as every Beatles fans’ pilgrimage point, Abbey Road (passage pour pieton mythique) and Looking for Van the Man, near Cypress Avenue in Van Morrison’s hometown of Belfast, which is also a track on his 1967 album Astral Weeks.
Signal the suffering
In a neat segue from the previous section,as Michael Stipe sang, Everybody Hurts.
Pain is unavoidable on most activities – at some point you’re going to hit a climb that requires your muscles to moan, your lungs to flame and your brain to question what you were thinking leaving your couch.
Suffering, hurt, agony – you’ll find segments that mention all of these and more. Some of our favourites include the 19% climb labelled The Bastard, Lost breakfast climb, If I collapse, please pause my watch and the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin This hill ruins low heart rate runs.
But as the saying goes, what goes up must come down, and the flipside to the torment is segments that provide some fun, such as Cork’s Pleasure after the pain.
Segment characteristics and warnings
Whether you’re looking to run past canine hazards in Glasgow (Dodge the dogwalkers) or avoid their output in Chippenham (Dog poo alley), many users are doing their bit for the Strava community by warning others about things they’ve discovered during activities.
Potholes are a big issue for cyclists too, so best avoid pothole paradise, pothole slalom and pothole peril. Then cars: Lots of dangerous drivers in this area, Motorists will drive at you and the rather alarming all-caps SUV MUM ON THE WARPATH.
Perhaps it’s best if we let you discover your own innuendo-based segments (of which there are plenty). We’ll just leave this here: Cock to Balls (from Hampshire’s Fighting Cocks pub to the village of Sandy Balls). Stop sniggering at the back!