Strava is the ultimate online motivation
It’s a chance to engage your competitive streak without putting on a number, to provide motivation to get out on the bike when you otherwise might stay on the sofa or to go that bit deeper on a climb to aim for a personal best on a segment or beat a mate’s time. What better way to settle a score? You can create your own segments on your favourite stretch of road and, even if you’re not going to contend for King of the Mountain honours, it will rank your times and personal records.
It’s a chance to measure your progress not only against yourself but other riders in your area. In an age where we crave instant gratification it provides – almost – just that. Get home from a ride, plug in your Garmin or check the Strava app, and you can see how your ride stacks up against previous efforts.
Strava Challenges can provide another source of motivation, whether that’s to beat your previous best in the Monthly Training Series, or to take part in one of the more specific challenges which crop up, like the current Specialized Spring Classics Challenge, which challenges riders to the tackle the cumulative distance (1,266km) of five of cycling’s Spring Classics, or the forthcoming Strava Climbing Challenge. Can you log 2,310m of climbing in five days?
But the added incentive provided by Strava isn’t always a good thing. It can turn an easy spin into a training ride and transform a club run into a race with a spot on a virtual leaderboard as the only prize. It can take significant discipline to ride steady and not attack every climb knowing that the world (well, your mates, at least) are watching
And so it’s equally important to not let Strava dictate your riding. Social group rides should remain just that and I sometimes ride without my Garmin computer so, as tempting as it is, not to become obsessed with data and segments. While, for me, Strava started as a means to rank on segments, it’s wealth of features means it’s become much more than that.