There are many cycling apps that do lots of different and useful tasks, but the daddy of them all is Strava, an activity sharing website and app. It was voted as the best cycling app by road.cc readers in the People's Choice awards.
Introduced in 2008, Strava has become a familiar part of the cycling landscape, making it easy to record and share rides. It's free to use and download, or you can go Premium for £5.99 a month or £44.99 a year and unlock a load of extra features.
It can either be downloaded as an app on your smartphone and used to record a ride, with the phone in your jersey pocket or mounted to the handlebars using one of the many handlebar mounts, or you use a compatible cycling computer and upload ride data from it to the Strava website for detailed analysis.
Strava provides a really easy way to record a ride. Using the GPS on your smartphone, it records speed, distance and altitude. You can connect additional sensors to monitor heart rate, cadence and power for more detailed data on your performance. If you prefer to use a third-party cycling computer, like a Garmin for example, you can easily upload to the Strava website and view the data in the app afterwards.
Once you’ve uploaded a ride, friends are able to give you a virtual high five (kudos in Strava speak) and comment on your ride. For many, this social aspect is a big part of Strava’s appeal. You can join clubs and groups and take part in monthly challenges if you like goals to motivate you.
You can also create routes in Strava. Rather neatly, the map shows you popular roads and segments which are a good way of tapping into local knowledge, especially if you’re riding somewhere new and want to ride the best roads or avoid the worst roads.
Segments are a big part of Strava’s appeal for many, with timed sections that can be manually created. Go fastest up a well-known climb and you might just earn a coveted KOM or QOM title and be the envy of all your mates. Strava is popular with competitive people who like to ride fast and chase segments and try and get on the top ten leaderboards, but many people simply find it a good way of keeping track of their weekly cycling activity.
You get a lot with the free version of Strava, but if you upgrade to premium you can access additional features like custom goals, training videos, fitness and freshness (for tracking fatigue over time), live performance data and Beacon (a live location tracking service), live segments and advanced analysis, including suffer score, power meter analysis, personal heatmaps and much more.
Do you Strava?
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.