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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. 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.

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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's also compatible with a host of GPS cycling computers if you don't have a smartphone.

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 routes using the Route Builder and take advantage of local cycling knowledge by highlighting popular roads and segments.

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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.

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 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.

45 comments

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 2 years ago
6 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.

 

 

 

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OR_biker [55 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

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...

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exilegareth [164 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

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

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BigglesMeister [69 posts] 2 years ago
2 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.

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Leviathan [3057 posts] 2 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.

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SingleSpeed [429 posts] 2 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 

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. . [195 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
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?)

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SingleSpeed [429 posts] 2 years ago
3 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

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davecochrane [148 posts] 1 year 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. 

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davecochrane [148 posts] 1 year ago
2 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. 

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NickJP [11 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

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

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David Arthur @d... [953 posts] 9 months ago
2 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

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risoto [105 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

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.

 

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Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
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.

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bfslxo [152 posts] 7 months 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.

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