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What is Strava and how to take advantage of it for your bike routes

What is Strava and how to take advantage of it for your bike routes

What is Strava? What is it for? If you have not yet connected to the favorite app of cyclists, here we will explain how it works and how you can benefit.

Basically, Strava is an application that allows you, through subscription, to register your physical activity. In this case, cycling. As a starting point, you can use it to save basic data of your training: route, length and duration. It has many more possibilities, which we will talk about later.

It allows you to compete with other cyclists in short sections within a tour, called segments, as well as measure your performance, both after the route and in real time.

But Strava is much more than that. The huge number of users makes it a marked social component platform. Here we present some of its main functions, with its most important characteristics. We will also give you some advice that allows you to squeeze the fashion app among bicycle fans to the maximum.

👉 Here you can join the Tuvalum Club in Strava.

How Strava works

There are two access levels. There is the option to open a free account and the option Premium, which requires the payment of a monthly subscription fee, with some discount in case of hiring it annually.

Let us first review what Strava offers in his free account, and then analyze some advantages of his payment formula.

Free functionalities

Here we show you some of which you can enjoy. Simply access Strava and create a free user account.

Home Strava
Strava's website's home page.


The record of activities (cyclists, in our case) is the reason for being from Strava. You can register a route through mobile application. It is a friendly interface, with a recording button at the bottom of the screen and a map of our location.

It is possible to cancel a previous route from Strava, but you need a payment subscription to use the route creation function.

The free subscription allows you to connect a sensor to the application (a pulsometer, for example). It also includes the Strava Beacon security function, which allows you to share your real -time location with a maximum of three designated contacts while pedaling, and provided you register your activity with the mobile application.

Once you have completed your activity, you can add videos and photos at any time. In the case of videos, the duration will be limited to 30 seconds.

2. Synchronization with other devices

GARMIN GPS by mountain bike
Image: Luckylife11 (Pixabay).

In addition to Strava's own activity record, you can link your Strava account to accounts associated with almost any other device, such as Garmin Connect or Wahoo Elemnt. That is, you can register a route in a cyclocomputer or in a smartwatch. Once finished, the external application will be climbed simultaneously, in addition to Strava.

Whether you use the Strava mobile application and if you use a Garmin or similar device, your activities will always be grouped in Strava, with records such as distance, unevenness, time moving and Track of the journey on the map. You can consult this information both in your app and through the web.

Once your route is downloaded, you can analyze your performance. If you have a pulsometer and/or a power meter, you can check the speed, along with other metrics such as temperature, heart rate, cadence and even power. And if you don't have a potentiometer, no problem; Strava will make an estimate.

Strava can also be connected with training applications Indoor such as Zwift or Wahoo X, allowing the registration of your activity in the roller or in a smart bike. In fact, Zwift includes Strava segments on its platform, of which we talk below.

3. Strava segments

The segments are, clearly, those that make a difference in Strava, generating passion and competitiveness among cyclists.

What are the segments? They are sections within a larger route that you can have to have to compare yourself with other runners. You can define a segment yourself. To do this, you must determine the following: a starting point, an arrival point and a sequence of intermediate locations

Unless you plan a segment in a strange place, you are likely to find a few previously defined by other cyclists throughout your route. The segments can have a few hundred meters or several kilometers. To create one, it is essential that you are part of some route that already records in your activities record. Let's say you can't create from nothing.

In order for you to create a segment, it is essential that you are part of some route that already records in your activities record.

You can highlight with a star the segments published by other athletes that are interesting. You can also explore segments and analyze them on a map.

A recommendation to create a segment is that you have at least 500 m long, since in shorter segments the GPS could give some error. Once you have it configured, you can make it public or private.

The segments allow you to compare your time with that of other cyclists and also with your own previous records. The best time award in a specific segment is a Kom (King of Mountain) or a Qom (Queen of Mountain). Surely it sounds to you.

On the other hand, the last thing you will want is to receive a Strava email informing you that someone has just beat your kom/qom. In the same message, they will invite you to go out there to try to recover it.

A free account will allow you to consult the 10 best male and female times in a segment. You can also meet the LEGEND LOCAL (LCL), which is the title that distinguishes the cyclist who has most times the segment in the last 90 days, regardless of speed or time. It is distinguished with an icon with a crown appearance of the laurel next to the segment.

Cycling woman

If a segment is potentially dangerous, you can indicate it so that other cyclists are alert. And if someone publishes an unrealistic time in a segment you could also mark the result as potentially suspicious. Picaresca in Strava is also present. On other occasions, the error may be due to a simple carelessness, such as forgetting to finish the recording of a section while traveling by car, for example.

In any case, the segments not only serve to compete against other users of the application. In fact, they are a great way to compete against yourself and check how your performance evolves.

4. Live Segments de Strava

If you can curiosity and do not want to wait until you get home to know your classification after having given everything in a segment, the function Live Segments It offers you a provisional classification in your cyclocomputer. It works for the most popular segments and also for those who have marked as favorites, but not for segments downhill, however light the slope.

When you approach a segment, you will receive an alert in your cyclocomputer and you will see your progress on a map. When you leave a segment, you will see the time you have achieved. As simple as that.

5. Privacy in Strava

In recent times, Strava has improved aspects related to privacy. You can leave everything open so everyone can consult your profile and activities. But there are also options to restrict the information you publish. You can make both your tours and your segments private.

An important privacy option is that, by default, hides the first and last 200 meters of any route. This allows you, for example, to publish a route near your home without anyone knowing the exact point in which you live.

In the past, thieves used the start and end points of the routes of some cyclists to steal in their homes during their absence. Strava's activities have even been used to locate secret military bases.

6. Strava's social dimension

Road cyclists with showers
Image: Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels

Strava has managed to position himself as the social network of cyclists. You can follow other athletes, including some professionals, give them access to follow you. It will even be the application itself that will suggest friends to follow.

You can see where they pedal, compare your statistics with yours, etc. There is also a search function to locate them. You can even congratulate them and/or comment on their tours.

Strava allows you to add photos, videos and comments to an activity. You can create Clubs or join the existing ones, with classification tables of the members of the same, including distance traveled and speed.

You can also create or join a challenge in Strava, which usually establishes a distance to travel in a certain period of time. When achieving it, you get a badge or distinction. There are many challenges in open to which you can join; Many times, sponsored by charities or marks related to cycling.

Strava Premium. Is it worth paying for a subscription?

Strava on a bicycle.
Image: Jay Miller (UNSPLASH).

Strava's free version can be sufficient for the needs of a user without great aspirations. But if you subscribe to the payment plan or Premium (Around 60 euros, if you hire a whole year), you will have many more functionalities. In this way, you will make Strava a more powerful training tool, with options that go far beyond the registration of tours.

Let's give some example.

1. Detail segments

You can analyze the evolution of your performance throughout a specific segment, comparing it with that of other runners in that same place. It will allow you to know what aspects you have been better or worse than them. You can also delimit factors such as sex, age range, or weight, to compare yourself with cyclists from your very category. Likewise, you could compare yourself with the cyclists you follow.

Another advantage is linked to the Live Segments function, where cyclists can see their progress as they travel the segment in relation to their best previous brand and with the leader of the same.

The subscription Premium A Strava also allows analyzing efforts over time in a specific segment. In this way, it is possible to determine trends in performance.

2. Route planner

One of Strava's most useful tools is the route planner, which allows you to create a tour to follow it. The application has a large number of users, so you can choose to follow routes based on Heat maps that show the most popular routes of your environment. In this way, you could find unknown routes.

The most remark and more intense routes indicate a greater transit of cyclists. You can also consult your own Heat map, which will reflect your most common routes.

Another available functionality is the option of determining the land on which you want to plan your route: paved roads, tracks, etc ... In this way, you can expand your horizons, adapting your routes for grave or mountain bike. It is also possible to influence altimetry: determining a starting point and arrival for a route, the system allows to show the profile that offers the minimum unevenness. And conversely.

Strava maps include points of interest. You can also follow a planned route through the app on your mobile or load it on your GPS or cyclocomputer device.

Many of the most used electronic devices have their corresponding platform for the creation of routes. But most of them require, previously, where to go. With Strava's payment version, anyone can create a route from scratch on the computer, while the mobile app has a tool that designs the route based on the preferences determined by the user (as a distance and/or accumulated slope) .

3. Objective setting

Strava Premium It allows you to plan objectives, based on the speed and/or time on which you intend to make a segment or route. These objectives can rely on any of the training plans offered by the app itself, which include a calendar for proper monitoring.

You will have plenty of information about your activities, which you can access through a practice of calendar view. The function Fitness & Freshness It will help you stay in shape with a monitoring of your training load and fatigue levels over time. Something that is very useful to identify if you are overnowered.

Finally, if you have a power meter, you can consult the evolution of your watts over time, so you can check how your physical shape evolves.

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