Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

7 reasons to try Strava — boost your rides by bagging segments

Why the ride-recording and segment-racing app should be part of your riding

Strava has become hugely popular since it was first launched in 2008 and is now a familiar term in the cycling language, passing one billion activities in 2018. For many cyclists, the social-media app is an integral part of cycling. If you’ve not yet embraced Strava, here are six reasons why you should. A warning, though, Strava can be very addictive.

- 19 of the best smartphone cycling apps for iPhone and Android

UK-feed

1. Your friends are using it

Chances are your friends are already using Strava. You don’t want to miss out, do you? There are also many top-level professional cyclists using it as well if you want some inspiration and see how fast it is possible to ride a bicycle.

2. It’s free

The app is available to download on most smartphones. You don’t need any special dedicated hardware, simply download the app, press start and off you go; it uses the GPS data from your phone to track your ride. Strava is also compatible with a host of GPS cycling computers if you don't have a smartphone. There's a paid version too which offers extra stuff for a yearly fee.

3. It’s a friendly community

You can follow others and offer encouragement with kudos and comments, adding a social element to your training, useful if you mainly ride on your own. You can also join clubs and be part of a local, or wider, cycling community. This social aspect of Strava is, for many users, its most appealing benefit. road.cc even has a club. Join us. Go on.

4. It'll motivate you

Strava challenges, held every month, are a unique feature and provide virtual motivation that helps many cyclists get outside on their bike when the weather or motivation might be against you. There are challenges to suit all different types of cyclists, from climbing challenges to the most distance covered.

5. Measure your progress and improvements

Strava provides a wealth of tools for tracking your improvements, with features including a training calendar for totting up your mileage every month to heart rate and power data analysis if you want to go into a lot more detail. If you like it simple, the suffer score, if using heart rate, gives a rough indication of how hard a ride was. You can also plan cycling routes using the Route Builder and take advantage of local cycling knowledge by highlighting popular roads and segments.

- Six reasons to cycle outdoors, and why it beats indoor cycling even in winter

6. King of the Mountains

Yes, the reason many people become addicted to Strava is the challenge of being at the top of a leaderboard on a segment with a KOM (King of the Mountains) or QOM (Queen of the Mountains). A segment is user defined and can be a local hill of a stretch of road between two traffic lights, and a leaderboard compares your time with that of everyone who has ridden it. Intoxicatingly addictive for many, a turn off for others.

7. Become a Local Legend

Bagging King of the Mountains segment crowns has become a game somewhat restricted to only the fittest riders, so Strava has recently announced a new feature called Local Legends. The Local Legend title goes to the rider who has completed a segment the most times in the last 90 days, so even if you've no chance of actually taking a KOM title you can get some recognition for, as DC Rainmaker puts it, failing the most times. Or being dedicated to your favourite local routes if you want to put a less snarky angle on it.

Do you use Strava? Let's hear your reasons for using, or avoiding, Strava in the comments below. You're not a Strava wanker are you?

- 19 professional cyclists on Strava for you to follow

David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

Add new comment

48 comments

Avatar
Kapelmuur | 2 years ago
1 like

I recently received a notification that I had become the Local Legend on a segment I had ridden 3 times.

I'm so proud.

Avatar
Dogless replied to Kapelmuur | 2 years ago
2 likes

I would really like it it I could turn these off. 'Hey, you ride the same route far too much. Congratulations!'

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 4 years ago
1 like

How about a fewreasons for not using the paid version at least.

 

Summit users have had nothing new for paying for summit for years.

They have started decommissioning bluetooth and ant accessories support.

They broke route search in a privacy panic and have never properly fixed it.

They dont listen to user feedback - have a look at how many feature requests that they actually action.

I use garmin connect for nearly everything now except for thumbs upping friends and checking for PB's.

 

 

 

Avatar
risoto | 5 years ago
2 likes

How about 6 reasons to drop it and enjoy riding instead?

But of course, if you're an obsessive narcissistic performance behaviour maniac it might work for you:) or you might need to go see a professional to help you out with your mental issues.

 

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet replied to risoto | 5 years ago
2 likes
risoto wrote:

How about 6 reasons to drop it and enjoy riding instead?

But of course, if you're an obsessive narcissistic performance behaviour maniac it might work for you:) or you might need to go see a professional to help you out with your mental issues.

 

Improving yourself - sure sign of mental illness.

Avatar
NickJP | 5 years ago
0 likes

If you think you're fast, buy a number and go racing. Anything else is just a wank.

Avatar
David Arthur @d... replied to NickJP | 5 years ago
3 likes

NickJP wrote:

If you think you're fast, buy a number and go racing. Anything else is just a wank.

 

I don't think anybody using Zwift is under any illusion that it's a rival or match for real road racing

It's just really good training when you can't get outside, for whatever reason that might be

Avatar
davecochrane | 6 years ago
0 likes

I quite like it, and use it for swim, bike, run and indoor rowing. Suunto's swim uploads are dreadful with the Spartan Ultra (running is fine), but the bike uploads from my Wahoo Elemnt work perfectly. If you're using the data collected for training purposes, the mobile app doesn't really fit the bill...but the desktop site is a lot better. That needs to change. 

Avatar
BigglesMeister | 7 years ago
5 likes

I love Strava and all that it adds to what was a very lonely pastime when biking alone.  I think the strap line should be "You're never alone with Strava".  I have a group of strava friends I never ride with but comment back and forth with, race with, banter with.  Some are local, some are in other parts of the world but above all it's added a whole new dimension to being out on my bike.  There is nothing so disappointing than to find you've been giving it the beans on a segment only to find you forgot to press go on the garmin, that for me is the yard stick.  The roadie segments are always going to be "club adjusted" but the off road stuff truly is manno o manno so ditch the skinnies and fire up the MTB.  I do think there are ways to make KOMs more open such as adding King of the rolling month (or quarter) to take account of the weather and also having KOMs expire if they have not been defended by the holder in a given time period.  If you're tired of Strava you're tired of biking so pull on the slippers and light up yer pipe.

Avatar
Leviathan replied to BigglesMeister | 7 years ago
2 likes
BigglesMeister wrote:

I do think there are ways to make KOMs more open such as adding King of the rolling month (or quarter) to take account of the weather and also having KOMs expire if they have not been defended by the holder in a given time period.  If you're tired of Strava you're tired of biking so pull on the slippers and light up yer pipe.

I am hoping to still hold some KOMs in 2350, so I don't like your idea. Screw future generations, I was first, joint KOM isn't KOM.

Avatar
. . replied to Leviathan | 7 years ago
2 likes
Leviathan wrote:

I was first, joint KOM isn't KOM.

On what basis?  There's a segment where I'm  joint KOM.  I wasn't the first the ride it in 40 seconds, but does that make me less of a cyclist than the bloke who was?

(And to Strava: why are segment timings only measured to the second? Surely you can do better?)

Avatar
SingleSpeed replied to . . | 7 years ago
4 likes
. . wrote:

(And to Strava: why are segment timings only measured to the second? Surely you can do better?)

 

 

Because Strava is about as accurate as a Shotgun at 300ft

Avatar
SingleSpeed replied to BigglesMeister | 7 years ago
0 likes
BigglesMeister wrote:

 If you're tired of Strava you're tired of biking so pull on the slippers and light up yer pipe.

 

WOW 

Avatar
exilegareth | 7 years ago
0 likes

Never mind Rule42 and KOM cobblers - anyone know how to get Strava to work with a Wahoo Tickr HRM strap?

Avatar
bfslxo replied to exilegareth | 5 years ago
0 likes
exilegareth wrote:

Never mind Rule42 and KOM cobblers - anyone know how to get Strava to work with a Wahoo Tickr HRM strap?

I use my phone to record my rides so I can only answer based on that.

Once you've opened the app, press the 'record activity' button & on the top right there should be the word settings & in there you get a menu with the options to pair sensors.

It should pick up the HRM strap ok & then just pair.  I found after about the 2nd or 3rd using it Strava picked it up straight away anytime I using recordign a new activity. Same with my cadence sensor which is just strapped to my shoes.

Avatar
OR_biker | 7 years ago
2 likes

One of the things I like about Strava is the component mileage-tracking.  I like to try different tires to see which ones last longer for me, and it's easy to keep track of that on Strava.  I just wish they'd improve that feature so that you could swap the same parts off and on again, for things like wheels where you have a trainer/winter set and a nicer race/summer set.  But it's still nice to see how many miles I have on my bottom bracket bearings, chain, cassette, etc...

Avatar
mike the bike | 7 years ago
7 likes

 

I quite like Strava.  It keeps a certain type of cyclist occupied and out of the tea-stops.

Avatar
stenmeister replied to mike the bike | 7 years ago
5 likes
mike the bike wrote:

 

I quite like Strava.  It keeps a certain type of cyclist occupied and out of the tea-stops.

 

Me too. I love cycling and hate stopping for tea. Why go out on a bike ride if you're just going to stop?

Avatar
tritecommentbot replied to mike the bike | 7 years ago
8 likes
mike the bike wrote:

 

I quite like Strava.  It keeps a certain type of cyclist occupied and out of the tea-stops.

 

Sounds quite stuffy, judgemental and elitist. Are you sure you're not the 'certain type' people should be avoiding? 

Personally I think cycling's great because it's so diverse but there are some stuck-up sorts who find any reason they can to look down on anyone who's a bit different to them in any possible way. 

Curiously some of them even lack the necessary self-awareness to keep their nonsense to themselves.

 

 

 

Avatar
davecochrane replied to mike the bike | 6 years ago
4 likes
mike the bike wrote:

 

I quite like Strava.  It keeps a certain type of cyclist occupied and out of the tea-stops.

 

When I'm doing 180-200km then running for an hour off the bike, I quite like to have a mid-ride coffee, thanks. 

Avatar
LastBoyScout | 7 years ago
3 likes

I quite like Strava - I mainly use it for logging distance and routes, but it's interesting for comparing myself against other riders.

It's also interesting to see where other people have ridden, especially abroad.

 

What I really DON'T like about it is being barged out of the way at my local trail centre by people desperate to get KOMs on busy Sunday mornings - if you're that desperate to get a KOM, then come back in the evenings when it's quiet.

Avatar
zanf | 7 years ago
0 likes

Its "the rules", mkay?  3

Avatar
SingleSpeed replied to zanf | 7 years ago
0 likes
zanf wrote:

Its "the rules", mkay?  3

Words fail me.

One can only assume that is a piss take of grown men who shave their legs!

Avatar
davel replied to SingleSpeed | 7 years ago
0 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:
zanf wrote:

Its "the rules", mkay?  3

Words fail me.

One can only assume that is a piss take of grown men who shave their legs!

So you know what chaingangs are like but have only just been introduced to The Rules? I think you might have found the only chaingang in the country that doesn't mention them at least every 3rd ride, even in an ironic sense.

I want in. 

Avatar
SingleSpeed | 7 years ago
1 like

You've lost me there, 42 - the meaning of life?

Avatar
PaulCee52 | 7 years ago
2 likes

Must admit, I find the flybys feature useful - not so much for knowing who you saw, although that can be interesting but, because they are doing similar routes - comparing segments can give either a smug, warm glow because you're faster or encourage you to try harder next time...

 

Did come as a bit of a shock, though, when I realised that some of my local segments had been used in the 2015 Tour of Britain - those guys are frighteningly fast..!

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
2 likes

Strava is great when you're smashing it but you've got to learn to take the rough with the smooth and not get demotivated if you end up in the bottom quarter on certain days.

Avatar
valeriesmith | 7 years ago
4 likes

I wonder how much Strava paid for this "article?"

Avatar
zanf replied to valeriesmith | 7 years ago
5 likes
valeriesmith wrote:

I wonder how much Strava paid for this "article?"

Hail Corporate!

I used since not long after it started (my athlete number is sub-5000). I've come to loathe the social aspect of it now so make all my rides private by default. Nowt worse than a bunch of randoms giving kudos for rides where I barely broke a sweat!

Avatar
David Arthur @d... replied to valeriesmith | 7 years ago
6 likes

valeriesmith wrote:

I wonder how much Strava paid for this "article?"

 

Nothing. 

Pages

Latest Comments