GPS cycling apps can be brilliant, they are diverse training aids which are far more than a stop watch. They help fuel the hunger and desire to ride faster, longer and push your cycling ability to the max.
Full of stats and performance charts mixed in with social networking and goals, Strava is one of the best GPS apps on the market and with the basic app features offered for free it’s not a surprise it’s a popular as it is. Most cyclists (and runners, yes it for them as well) will have heard and most likely use the Strava app on either their smart phone or GPS device. For those who don’t, this blog is aimed at convincing you to give it a try.
There are many GPS apps and products on the market, so it’s always best to see what suits you, however for this blog our attention is fixed on the white & orange themed delights of the Strava app.
You may be wondering, why is it called Strava? Well, simply enough it means "strive" in Swedish!
First step, will it work on your device? The answer is most likely a yes, Strava works for both Android devices and iPhones though sadly for windows phone users there is no app for you at the moment. Strava is also compatible with more than 50 other GPS devices which include makes such as Garmin, Tomtom, Suunto, Soleus and Timex - to see the current list head over to Strava’s website to check if your device is compatible.
Link up with friends
Linking up with friends is easy, and in a way very similar to twitter, you can follow people and they can follow you. If you go on the same rides together clever Strava detects this an incorporates this in the ride details. Clicking on your friend’s profile will show you their personal performance as well, quite useful if you’re wanting to compare stats.
What can it tell me?
With the standard free version of Strava, there is plenty to check out. It provides you with details such as the moving time, average speed, elevation gain, and max speed - with these stats also viewable in a graph to show your performance over the course of your ride. With all this data to hand, it really helps you to get off your backside and try and beat your previous performance. This is all tracked over the course of your year, so all of your hours on the move are recorded for you.
King of the Mountain
This feature is the main draw for a lot of people - it adds some competition to your rides. Simply put there are segments of a ride that are a competition, all Strava users who complete that segment will have their times added to a leader board and yup you’ve got it, the person with the fastest time is the reigning King of the Mountain. As soon as you have recorded your first time, the craving to beat it soon lodges itself firmly in your brain, you will soon be yearning to get on the bike and have an another attempt of being faster.
Don’t under estimate just how difficult it is to become the KOM, it is highly competitive and sadly once achieved it is unlikely you will be able to hold onto it for long, people like yourself want to go out and make their claim for your title. Once you have been bettered you will then get that dreaded alert message to inform you of your dethronement.
Sharing on Social Media
Want to inspire friends, brag about being awesome or generally share details of a ride or performance with friends? Then Strava has social sharing covered. It has a quick button to share on Facebook however the typical share icon will allow to broadcast your performance on all the other usual apps, quite handy if you have group chats on apps like WhatsApp.
Regardless of whether you want to communicate with friends and other people or just keep things quiet, Strava makes you competitive. You see a time, and you want to beat it. Whether you want to beat one of your own times, a challenge or a KOM, there is always something to aim for. New to cycling or a seasoned veteran, Strava can increase your enthusiasm to get back out and pedal your little legs off. We like thousands of other cyclist’s love using Strava and think you just might too.
Keep an eye on Gary "Flash" Blesson
An avid user of Strava is our very own Gary Blesson, and he regularly records and updates his rides in the UK and further afield. If you want to have a go beating his times, you can see where he has set a few records - he has a KOM that you can try to beat as well!
A little security tip
If you do decide to use the app, make sure to start your rides away from your house. Your profile details can include information about your bike, and sadly someone can see that you have a nice bike and where you start every ride from, so by putting two and two together they find the perfect place to potentially steal a nice bike from.
So - is Strava the best app out there? It has some great features, and the KOM is something we absolutely love. But the only way to find out for yourself is to give it a go!
Please note: The views shared are that of the author and are not neccesarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.
Photo from the Strava website.
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.