Strava: All You Need to Know

Strava: All you need to know

What is Strava?

Activity sharing website Strava allows users to route and upload their tours (and drives) using GPS data, either from Strava’s dedicated app on a smartphone or via a third-party GPS bike computer, such as those from Garmin. Strava’s service allows lots of cyclists to hook up with each other, with the facility to comment on each other's rides and give ‘kudos’ where they think the effort justifies it.

One of the most interesting features to the more cutthroat rider of Strava’s service is the use of ‘sectors’. These user-generated categories of a route are used to create a leaderboard of the fastest riders, with a King of the Mountain (KOM) or Queen of the Mountain (QOM) crown symbol handed out to those with the fastest times. Chasing KOMs/QOMs can become obsessive.

How you can start using Strava?

Currently, Strava can log a wide range of ride data including GPS tracked route displayed on a map, speed, distance, power output and heart rate.

The various aspects of Strava allow it to social media (including the uploading of photos taken during a ride), as a serious training tool, and as a way of comparing your riding to others from all around the world.

Strava users can sign up for a variety of motivational challenges, such as those which set a distance or climbing target to meet. It tracks progress after it logs each ride, and a ‘badge’ awarded when the challenge is complete.

Strava has revolutionised how cyclists can communicate and compare their efforts.

Strava app on iPhone, Android, or Apple watch

Using a phone with a sturdy mount and case, as opposed to a cycling computer, has become popular in the last few years.

To use Strava on your phone, just download the app, and click ‘start’ when you’re ready to begin your ride. You can set the app up to autopause as you would on a computer.

For consumers who move on to new gadgets every than and now, Strava also works with smart devices such as Apple Smart Watches and other fitness watches using the Android operating system. Strava's this feature can help you to unload your smartphone at home, begin and end rides without thinking about phone calls, emails, notifications, and messages, and see live updates and your fitness stats all from your wrist band.

Strava Subscription

In 2020, Strava brought in a fresh subscription service, which replaced the old three-tier ‘Summit’ system. Whilst you can use Strava for free, the subscription kits provide you with access to extra features.

The communities at Strava have now disposed of the famous leaderboards and segment analysis from the free version; instead they’re only available to paying members from May 2020.

Strava introduced greater training visions, such as performance tracking, much like the Performance Management Charts in Training Peaks in 2018. However, it’s now gone much deeper, adding much more analysis.

The changes have proved questionable, however, some users unhappy about the heightened emphasis on paying for the service.