For more than a decade Strava users have been able to enjoy the competition of segments and leaderboards completely free, but that how now changed.
The social media platform has made sweeping changes in the hopes of becoming a profitable organisation, by encouraging more people to cough up and pay for membership.
But Strava’s decision to remove a number of free features, including leaderboards and segment analysis, is likely to split opinion in the cycling world.
To gauge the opinion of riders around the world, Cycling Weekly has asked readers from the UK and beyond to share their thoughts on the changes.
Craig Atherton, 61, Burnley
I’ve been using the free version of Strava for over five years and have looked at subscription plans, but have not seen anything I need that I can’t get elsewhere.
We have a Strava group where we look at segment times and this can be competitive & fun bearing in mind we are a social group and that is our focus.
I emailed Strava and said that professional riders, on closed roads in a peloton, would always smash any times we’d done and they should be in a separate section on Strava.
Strava replied saying they had no plans to make those changes.
So, there’s really no point for me paying to access segments when it’s not a level playing field anyway and my achievements can so easily be wiped out by the pros in a closed road event.
I enjoy Strava and always look through my stats after a ride, but if they want me to pay they need to become much more customer focussed and give me what I want rather than excuses and reasons why not.
Until they do they won’t be getting an upgrade from me.
James, 24, West Midlands
I am considering paying for Strava's new £4 a month subscription. I understand they are a business at the end of the day and have been running on a loss since they started up. The free version will still do the job for casual riders but I think we really took the free version for granted previously - there is no divine right stating that we should be able to compare segments for free!
What we were getting previously was actually incredible for a free service. I think it's absolutely fair enough that they have made these features paid-for. It obviously seems slightly annoying at first because we are losing out right now but in the long-term, £4 a month seems like a very fair price to pay for what is a really great service that has given us so much for free in the past. Time to give something back!
Matt Benger, 27, Edinburgh
I’ve been an existing Strava subscriber since 2015. I signed up because I liked the added features, and also how useful the app and website are. It was a small fee to pay to support a business and product I used extremely often.
Too many people have been taking advantage for too long, calling themselves loyal users, but definitely not loyal customers. No other company has had such a great free service for so long with no obligation to purchase. It’s the cost of a coffee or a pint a month for a product people use frequently.
Michael Vella, 68, Gibraltar
I am 68 years old and a pensioner and have been using free Strava for over twelve years. I enjoy comparing segment times and being over-65 enjoy being in the top two for most segments, which gives me extra initiative. However I can't afford to pay for it so bitterly disappointed.
Simon Taylor, 51, Wiltshire
I've been riding for about seven years or so and been using Strava pretty much all that time. I use the free version, never subscribed. I use the route planner to plot our club's group rides (I also use Ride With GPS because the turn-by-turn navigation works with Wahoo) and obviously I use it to check how I've done at the end of my rides. For me, and for many of the people I ride with regularly, checking how we did on different segments is a large part of the post-ride enjoyment.
Over the last two or three years Strava has felt directionless - the Summit stuff wasn't well thought-out, bugs have taken a long time to fix, features appear and disappear regularly and recently their servers have been running really slowly, taking hours to update and sync at times. This doesn't inspire me to pay for it!
The only thing I might pay for would be the leaderboards, but £50 a year seems like a lot for that - I can get friends who subscribe to tell me how badly I've done for free!
Gellert Vinnai, 40, Miskolc, Hungary
I've been using Strava for about five years and have been a subscriber for three years already. I received my first year subscription as a birthday gift from my brother, and since then I renew it for myself every year.
$60 might be peanuts for most riders on the western part of the world, but I also see some regions where it is a bit harder to finance. So I certainly see some keen cyclist signing off, which is bad because the power of Strava of course also comes from the huge user base and not only the features they provide. It won't be so satisfying to reach a top-10 if I know that a lot of competent riders are not on the list anymore.
We will see if a new player will be able to fill this gap, until then I'm still a Strava user
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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