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TECH NEWS

Strava introduces messaging - you can now communicate with your friends on the app

The fitness app users can now send messages to their friends and create group chats – and you don't need a Strava subscription (and you can turn it off)

Strava has launched a new in-app messaging feature saying it is an "efficient avenue for athletes to coordinate adventures, connect for inspiration or tips, share their journey, and more – all within a unified platform".

We've been testing the beta version of the messaging at the office for the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed how easy it makes sharing routes with others. This feature might just be the best way for clubs and cycling groups to communicate ride plans and chat with each other without having to add everyone based on their phone numbers.

The new messaging feature offers direct (one-on-one) and group messages. This feature is available for all Strava users, not only those with the app's paid Subscription. Users can also customise the messaging feature based on their desires – for example, they can set their preferences on who can invite them to a group message or who can message them directly. 

> Strava Premium (annual subscription) review

The settings will be automatically set based on an athlete’s profile visibility but can be adjusted to receive messages to and from 'Following,' 'Mutuals' or 'No One', and the group names can be customised. 

Strava messaging settings

Users can also use the messaging feature to share an activity or route. 

With the introduction of yet another messaging platform to our lives, Strava said it's hoping athletes can share motivation, hype, and even some friendly competition through message reactions and gifs.

> How to use Strava to make you fitter

“The introduction of Messaging marks an exciting milestone for Strava,” said Zipporah Allen, Strava’s Chief Business Officer. “This highly anticipated feature adds depth to what makes Strava special - a global community rooted in authentic connections. It also underscores our unwavering dedication to prioritise the athlete experience continually and what we are building for them."

Strava messaging Jamie

Strava said it's hoping to continue upgrading the messaging feature with a host of new features in 2024. These include messaging within Strava Clubs, conversations based on specific topics within a Club, and photo uploads in messaging - just what Jamie was wishing from the feature. 

Strava messaging 20231

 

You can find out more about Strava here

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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16 comments

Avatar
SecretSam | 2 months ago
1 like

Fantastic that someone just thought of a new app that communicates to a group of people at the same time, as part of a private discussion group. Why didn't someone invent this before? Oh, hang on...

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IanEdward | 2 months ago
0 likes

I've actually wanted this for a wee while, I can see some riders local to me riding very similar (gravel) routes and terrain and being a sociable type thought it would be nice to get in touch to see if they want to go for a ride. At least with private messages you could do this without it being visible on the public comments on someone's activity.

 

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Brauchsel replied to IanEdward | 2 months ago
0 likes

As an unsociable type with a publicly-visible Strava profile, I'd absolutely hate this. Hopefully being openly visible doesn't automatically mean open to messages. 

I don't buy the idea that scrotes have been monitoring Strava in order to bikejack expensive bikes, as it seems like a lot of faff and luck for them to coincide even with a very regular rider's route. It would seem a lot easier to set up a fake profile and phish people into joining (say) an SL8 owners' meet-up in a quiet spot near Beddlestead. 

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OnYerBike replied to Brauchsel | 2 months ago
2 likes

No - as per the article, the setting allow you to receive messages from 'Following,' 'Mutuals' or 'No One' - i.e. at the very least, you have to follow them for them to send you a message.

As an aside, the "Following" option seems odd. That means if you follow them (but they don't follow you back), then they can send you a message (and presumably you could then reply) but you can't initiate a message with them. The latter part of that is fine (they don't follow you, so you can't message them - fair enough) but I'm struggling to see when it would arise that someone who doesn't even follow you wants to message you. 

Also seems slightly odd that there's no "Following or followers" option or indeed anything broader than the above (e.g. membership of Clubs; friends of friends etc). - you can only ever be messaged by people you follow.

Understandably some people might not want to use such an option (as you say, you might have a highly visible profile with lots of followers, but don't want them all to be able to message you) but in other cases having the option might be nice, especially when it comes to groups (e.g. I don't follow everyone in my cycling club, but if someone in the club was organising something I'd be happy for them to be able to message me).  

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Surreyrider | 2 months ago
1 like

I just wish they'd do the basics well still. There's now no year to date function on the app so I can't see things like rides per week, av distance per week, total rides. All things I liked to glance at. Instead I get another messaging platform, which I really don't need. 

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LookAhead replied to Surreyrider | 2 months ago
1 like
Surreyrider wrote:

I just wish they'd do the basics well still. There's now no year to date function on the app so I can't see things like rides per week, av distance per week, total rides. 

Sure there is (on iOS anyway). Go to profile --> statistics.

However, while I do welcome the messaging function, I agree that Strava would do better to focus on getting their basic functionality right.

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Steve K replied to LookAhead | 2 months ago
0 likes

Same on Android.

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Surreyrider replied to LookAhead | 2 months ago
0 likes

My mistake! It's moved. I used to access on the menu along the bottom of the app. Thanks.

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IanEdward replied to Surreyrider | 2 months ago
1 like

I've never bothered cancelling my subscription to Veloviewer (from the days before Strava had heatmap). It's useful for the geeky stuff, it basically autopopulates a massive spreadsheet with columns for virtually every metric, so it doesn't take much fiddling to see precisely what you want to see. £10 a year is worth it if you're geeky enough smiley

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Oldfatgit replied to IanEdward | 2 months ago
0 likes

As a non-paying Strava member, VeloViewer is great.

If only Garmin would open its api (or whatever it is) and give things like VeloViewer access, I could drop the Strava altogether.

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NorthEastJimmy | 2 months ago
1 like

And a heads up that just clicking on someone's name sends them a notification.

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IanEdward replied to NorthEastJimmy | 2 months ago
0 likes

Wait what? This isn't a feature is it? I mean, I use my Strava stalking only for the powers of good (winkling out the e-Bikers on the leaderboards ) but it would be embarassing if people could see you'd clicked on their profile...

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LookAhead replied to IanEdward | 2 months ago
0 likes

On one hand, I'm pretty sure that's not actually a thing.

On the other, Strava's programmers and project managers are pretty awful, so it wouldn't surprise me if something like that slipped through the cracks for a while before they figured it out and fixed it. (Well, actually, the figuring it out and fixing it part definitely would surprise me.)

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mark1a | 2 months ago
3 likes

Recently at Strava HQ...

Dev team manager: "We need to throw some resources at some stuff, I mean privacy settings need a complete update, plus it should be really low hanging fruit to fix the impossible segment times and auto flag activities, and just a couple of days work to enable dark mode."

Middle ranking PHB: "Fuck that, we need a new messaging platform that does exactly the same as all the others that people have been using for years. I'm sure everyone will appreciate that as much as they did the Spotify integration."

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MattieKempy | 2 months ago
0 likes

I just tried it and quite liked it, actually. Not sure it'll replace WhatsApp but for arranging rides with mates and messaging sports mates I haven't seen in a while it could be quite convenient.

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Oldfatgit | 2 months ago
2 likes

Just what we need ... yet another message service.

Default answer to "did you get my message" is already 'what service did you send it through...

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