Strava is an app for sportsmen, focused on running, new and cycling: here's what it can do and why it's loved by champions.
Pink Jersey Egan Bernal's show of strength during the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia 2021 left several sports fans stunned. Power data indicates that in the final stages his muscles "delivered" over 704 watts (12.3 watts per kilogram of body weight), data that comes to us thanks to the fact that the Colombian cyclist class of '97 uploaded his "Stage and Jersey" ride to Strava.
The famous cycling app thus ended up hosting a lot of data that distinguished the ride of the young cyclist in force for the Ineos Grenadiers team. In the 1.47-kilometer stage finish segment, Bernal averaged 439 watts and 22.7 kilometers per hour, with peaks in the uphill stretch before the finish line where the Maglia Rosa exceeded 34 kilometers per hour. The remarkable performance of the Colombian brought to light by Strava have given a lot of visibility to the American application, and now in many people has ignited curiosity. So here we are, to see the main features of an app for cyclists in its own unique way.
What is Strava
Strava is a fitness platform created in 2009 in San Francisco that already in 2015, a few years after its launch, counted the beauty of 8 million subscribers. Athletes who sign up, mostly amateurs but also heavyweight professionals, as indeed the Egan Bernal stage story demonstrates, can track cycling, running, walking and swimming, not only in terms of distance via the GPS of supported smart devices, i.e. Android or iOS products, but also store a history of their sports activities in the cloud.
Strava, in short, can also be seen as a social platform of sports. A Facebook of sports activities. The similarity is not far-fetched: Strava allows you to publish your activities on your feed, which will then remain visible on the platform to anyone who wants, with the classic mechanisms borrowed from "traditional" social networks. All you have to do is sign up (it's free) and search for the person you're interested in, from a friend or an acquaintance to a celebrity such as Bernal or his colleagues Nibali and Froome, who are also members of Strava.
Why sign up for Strava at all? The first answer comes from the last lines of the previous paragraph: to motivate yourself. Keeping aside the various professionals - unapproachable in many ways by the majority of amateurs - being able to keep an eye on the activities of enthusiasts of the same level can motivate us not to give up in the face of difficulties, to always give our best and perhaps give us an impulse to improve continuously.
Taking an in-depth look at the activities carried out in a given period of time can certainly be useful, whether you use just your smartphone to track your performance, or you have a series of accessories such as a smartwatch or an activity tracker with GPS, a heart rate monitor or any other effort meter that can enrich your activity history.
Then there is the Beacon function that makes Strava interesting. By enabling it you can share your location in real time with friends and family, so you can be rescued more immediately if you need help. This possibility, as well as the next one and several others, is part of Strava subscription.
The other historical ace up Strava's sleeve is the possibility to take inspiration from the sportsmen who populate the social network to find new routes to cover on foot or by bike. Discovering new routes by drawing inspiration from other profiles is one of the undeniable advantages of Strava.
The other apps for cyclists
Strava is not the only app for cyclists: there are many others, some just as famous. For example, CycleMaps (iPhone only), a sort of Google Maps for cyclists that specializes in tracks.
Or Bike Computer (Android and iOS), which turns your smartphone into a bicycle computer and also allows you to synchronize data with Strava. Wahoo Fitness, on the other hand, can be used in conjunction with additional Bluetooth-connected sensors to collect detailed data about your cycling performance.
Those who are approaching cycling for the first time will find Endomondo, a motivational app dedicated to sports, interesting: it can handle 40 of them, including cycling.