STRAVA may be a unique different to a bike computer: a cycling app. If you ride a motorbike and need to stay track of these rides, the STRAVA app is for you (heck, it’s for everyone). Free of cost and loaded onto your smart phone, STRAVA keeps track of distance, time, elevation, calories, and speed.
Third-party elements enable pulse and cadence following, and an upgraded membership accesses power output, your suffer score, and GPX file exporting. STRAVA uses GPS to accurately keep track of your route, whether on the roads or on the trails.
trava lives at the intersection of social media and exercise. The fitness app tracks your rides, of course, via bike computer, GPS watch, or smartphone. Those who don’t want to share can keep that data to themselves.
But where the self-described “social network for athletes” really shines is when you do share your rides with others. With the ability to follow everyone from friends and local crit rivals to pros, Strava is a useful tool for comparing performance and connecting with (and egging on) your fellow riders.
So if your riding buddies won’t shut up about how many KOMs or QOMs they’ve earned, maybe it’s time to give Strava a try.
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How Does Strava Work?
The first step for linguistic communication up with Strava is to make a replacement account profile together with your email address or through your Google or Facebook login data. You have the choice to provide the site with basic information like your full name, birthdate, gender, and a profile photo, but you can exclude these if you prefer. It’s also possible to sync your social media lists with the app to find people to follow.
At this point, the app offers several quick-start guides for using the app, including how to sync your data with a GPS watch. You can start using the app to track your outdoor workouts, monitor friend’s progress, or change your privacy settings.
Strava will operate behind the scenes as you exercise (audio cues are optional), and you can look through detailed reports of your performance once you finish. If your privacy settings allow it, all your workout stats will be shared on the Strava feed where friends and followers can see and comment on it.
According to the company website, a primary appeal of Strava are the options for community building. They state that all kinds of groups form on the platform with a focus on providing support and fostering healthy competition.
The app conjointly sets itself apart with its route guidance, each by belongings you transfer a route to your phone and permitting you to in style browse courses close to you.
Strava encourages competition by letting you see the stats of other people who exercised along your route so you can see how you rank on personalized leaderboards.
It’s also possible to sync compatible devices from brands like Fitbit, Polar, Wahoo, Timex, Sigma, Soleus, bryton, Tomtom, Suunto, Magellan, Mio, and Garmin with the app.
=> Ease of Use
The STRAVA app is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Using the iPhone 5, the download took almost no time and was free of charge. Signing in via a Facebook account enables you to see friends already using STRAVA.
The only downside to this is adjusting privacy settings through the Facebook web site — not the mobile app or mobile website. You have the option to fill out a quick profile with a photo, age, gender, height, and weight, which plays a role in calculating calories.
When we were ready to ride, the opening screen has a very large ‘start’ button. This starts the timer, and you are ready to roll. The large screen of the iPhone 5 shows elapsed time, distance, and average speed. Although displaying three modes falls short of most of the other computers tested, these are the basic three points of data used when riding.
Most cyclists wear riding gloves year-round, but they are a necessity in the winter. One downside to the touch screen is not having the ability to use it with gloves. During our colder jaunts, instead of removing the two sets of gloves on one hand, we found that the nose will work just fine to start and finish a ride with the touch screen.
Although STRAVA only displays three modes while riding, the range of data collection and features are vast. After finishing a ride, the application uploads it to the STRAVA website. Since the app is GPS based, it gives you a detailed map of exactly the route you have ridden. This includes biking trails in addition to roads.
For each ride, STRAVA tracks distance, moving time, elevation, calories, speed, heart rate, and average temperature. The elevation is shown in chart form, detailing ascents, descents, overall gain (in feet), and max elevation.
Speed is also shown in chart form, with average and max speeds included. Heart rate can also bee seen in a chart, showing average and max heart rate. All of these can be overlaid to see how they compare with each other.
This is a very useful tool to see how hard you worked on different sections of a ride. A note worth mentioning is that a third-party ANT+ sensor is needed for the iPhone to pick up a heart rate monitor. If you have the iPhone 5, you would also need a Lightning to 30-pin adapter, making the sleek design of the phone much more cumbersome while riding.
For us, a surprisingly fun aspect of STRAVA is the social connectivity of the program. You are able to ‘follow’ other athletes, which shows their recent activities in your feed. Clicking an activity shows the same details you get for your ride, and even does a side-by-side comparison of things like average rides per week, weekly mileage, and all-time stats.
We found ourselves checking STRAVA on a regular basis just to see the activities of friends. On more than one occasion it was the deciding factor to get on the road when cold or rain would otherwise have kept us inside. The interface is extremely well done, making it easy to find what you are looking for.
STRAVA has the ability to create ‘segments’ in a ride. These are usually climbs or descents on regular routes that you want to track progress on over time. You can keep these private, or make them public for other riders to see. When public, any cyclist can see these segments.
STRAVA keeps a leaderboard of the fastest times, with the top rider earning the KOM (King of the Mountain) badge. You can compare your own efforts on this segment, and then compare to other riders in your area. STRAVA then keeps track of your Achievements by letting you know personal records or if you rank overall on a segment.
You are also able to link to your Instagram account, which will only post pictures you have taken during the time you were engaged in an activity. This way photos of your epic ride, not last night’s bar crawl, end up on your STRAVA account.
The optional Privacy Zone eliminates the origin of rides so that users are not able to see exactly where you live, just the general area.
STRAVA also lets you keep track of different bikes and components, which allows easy tracking of how many miles each bike or part has been used.
Although we do not recommend this behavior for obvious safety implications, you do have full functionality of the phone while recording with STRAVA, including taking photos (for your Instagram/STRAVA feed), making calls, and typing texts. We even took a speaker phone call at 20mph without interruption.
There is also an upgraded Premium account that opens up more features. This is $5.99/month or $59.99/year, and is charged through your Apple account.
The upgrade gives access to the Suffer Score, a number using heart rate, elevation, speed, and cadence to quantify how hard you have worked on an activity. It also enables Weekly Progress Goals, Leader-board Filters by age and weight, Power Zone Analysis, and exporting GPX files.
Finally, the STRAVA app is not necessary to keep track of rides on the website. If you currently own a GPS computer like the Editors’ Choice winning Garmin Edge 810, Garmin Edge 510, or 200, you can upload rides from those computers directly to STRAVA via the website, giving you all of the above features for each ride. STRAVA also keeps track of running activities and can upload from GPS devices like the Garmin 405, 610, 910xt, and more.
What Are the Current Strava Summit Pack Options?
At the time of writing, Strava offered both free and premium versions of their app. The free version provides you access to basic knowledge records for your workouts and helps you discover well-liked exercise routes close to you.
The app has 3 premium “Summit Packs” that ar out there for an additional monthly charge (more on it later). Each Pack includes a collection of themed features to improve your workout experience. Below we’ve highlighted the main features for each Pack.
=> Training Pack
Designed to help you upgrade your workouts and keep yourself motivated, this Pack enables you to set practical goals to achieve better results. It offers:
- Customized goals based on distance, time, and power
- Expert training plans
- Filtered leader-boards to let you track your stats based on your age and weight group
- Post-race analysis
- Real-time speed, distance, pace and location data
=> Safety Pack
Meant to keep you safe while you exercise outdoors, the Safety Pack shares your real-time location with followers and gives you the confidence to explore new places. It includes:
=> “Beacon” feature to share your current position with chosen safety contacts (not the complete Strata community)
=> Personal heat maps to show you popular routes in your region you can follow
=> Analysis Pack
You can dive deeper into the data from your recent performance with the Analysis Pack, which breaks down the data from GPS devices and your heart rate monitor to give you better tools you monitor your fitness improvements.
- Track your relative effort level across multiple sports
- Get a more in-depth analysis of your workouts with lap data and visual pace zones
- Get workout segment performance reports in real time
- Sync Strava with a heart rate monitor
- Connect to a power meter
- Better monitor your fitness trends over time
What Does Strava Cost?
At the time of writing, Strava offers each annual and month to month subscription choices for his or her Summit Packs. You can purchase every pack one by one or bundle the 3 along to save lots of extra money.
Paying month-to-month, each Summit Pack will cost you $2.99 per month, or $7.99 per month if you purchase all three ($95.88 per year).
If you choose to pay for a year in advance, your total breaks down to $2 per pack per month that is billed as a once-per-year payment of $59.99. Paying for just two Packs comes to $47.98 per year, and one Pack per year is $23.99.
Both monthly and annual subscriptions are auto-renewing, which means that you need to cancel before the anniversary of the date you subscribed if you don’t want to continue with the service.
The real-time monitoring of metrics isn’t as easy or considered as GPS-specific bike computers like the Garmin Edge 810 or Garmin 200, but STRAVA is a good alternative that provides similar results. The STRAVA web site adds an excellent social facet to coaching.
It is extraordinarily simple to use, giving in-depth analysis of recent rides and connecting you with friends and strangers alike. You can compare your efforts to yourself, as well as to athletes all around the world.
If you would like a tool to record rides from commutes to intense coaching rides and you already own a sensible phone, STRAVA is a superb alternative.